If you’ve been following our Facebook feed, you know some of the activities which took place at the Benton County, MO Emergency Management office in the last month! If not, stay tuned for the summary!
During the first weekend of May, your deputy director, Sam Henley, attended and passed the ICS 400 course offered through SEMA. This is the second in a series of courses designed to train emergency management personnel in the Incident Command System. ICS 300 and ICS 400 are in-seat training courses which go into much more detail than the Independent Study Courses offered through FEMA. The 300 and 400 put many different emergency personnel (fire, law enforcement, medical, hazmat, emergency management, etc.) in one room and give them a full-blown scenario to tackle. The scenario gives the participants a chance to communicate and work through potential problems before a large-scale emergency happens. The scenario is moved along on a timeline and at each time break a new inject, or problem is introduced to complicate the issue and force the participants to work together to resolve it before they can move on to the recovery phase.
After that, Sam met with Christy Barber, one of Benton County’s newest Community Emergency Response Team members, to begin the process of preparing for the next BC MO CERT training class coming up in September 2018. Christy is a retired Office Manager having worked in Medical Speciality Practices. She is also a Board Member and Secretary for Deer Creek Fire Protection District. Christy and Sam discussed some additions to the training program which will be seen in September. They will be meeting several more times over the next few months, along with the CERT coordinator, Marie Payne-Bowman, and assistant CERT coordinator, Martha Foster, in preparation for the upcoming class. On June 13, 2018, Marie, Martha, and Sam will be hosting a BC MO CERT meeting and tabletop training exercise at the Warsaw Lincoln Ambulance Barn for existing CERT members, as well as anyone who may be interested in signing up for the September class.
Mark and Sam, along with new Emergency Management Volunteer Roger Wiltz, attended the Region A Healthcare meeting in Bates County this month and were invited to visit the Bates County EMA. While they were there, Sam and Roger checked out their amateur radio room and discussed the setup with Dennis Jacobs while Mark spoke with Ron Nissen about the EMA setup.
Mark and Sam also attended the quarterly meeting of the Local Emergency Planning Committee. During this meeting, funding for many different pieces of emergency equipment was discussed, the next active shooter exercise planning phase began, and the group heard information pertaining to other hazmat matters.
Both Mark and Sam attended the Benton County Healthcare Coalition meeting this month, where a tabletop training exercise was hosted by the Benton County Health Department. This tabletop broached the subject of responding to the needs of the healthcare community after a tornado event. Linda Viebrock, administrator of the Benton County Health Department, and Mark have been working together for a year to make sure the healthcare community is taken care of in case of a large-scale emergency and this partnership will continue! Mark also has plans to coordinate with Linda to reach out to the other healthcare facilities in Benton County to assist them with their emergency planning questions.
On May 17, 2018, work began on the amateur radio room located in the 911 center in Warsaw. Sam serves as the Emergency Coordinator for the Benton County, MO Amateur Radio Emergency Service and was aided by her Assistant EC, Roger Wiltz, and Jason Wood, an amateur radio operator from Eldon who works on the radios for 911 dispatch, in overhauling and organizing the radio room. It now has three workstations, each set up with a unique job. Further work is on the agenda to increase the capabilities of the radio room and to protect it from things like lightning damage and other radio detriments. The BC ARES group serves as the last back up for communications in Benton County when all other forms have been lost, are too jammed, or are otherwise unusable in emergency situations.
Beginning on May 23, 2018, Mark and Sam tackled the enormous job of overhauling and revising the Local Emergency Operations Plan for Benton County. By June 1, 2018, the revised Basic Plan was sent out to everyone involved in emergency response and recovery. This included, but was not limited to, fire chiefs, the sheriff, the police chiefs, commissioners, county clerk, 911 management, health care admins, etc. Once the Basic Plan is approved or further revised, it will be posted here on the BC MO EM website for the public to view and download as a pdf. The full plan is hundreds of pages and will take weeks to revise, but once it is, it will be posted for public viewing, also. The idea of Emergency Management is to make sure everyone knows who is responsible for what and this includes giving you, our residents, a clear picture of our plan for Benton County!
The BC MO EM is picking up speed and purpose and we can’t wait to include you all in our plans and preparations!