The Union Recorder

Local News

April 28, 2013

Local agencies trained well for disaster



Officials won't confirm, but locations like the county's high-tech E911 center or the courthouse basement are possible hubs.

“They don't like to tell the meeting place. That may be an afterthought. It changes according to where the event is,” Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord said.

County Manager Ralph McMullen said agency heads are familiar with who needs to be at the table during a crisis.

“As management, we are only called on because our department heads can't authorize certain expenditures, and I can. Therefore, there are times I would be called in,” McMullen said.

Swicord said knowing one’s job makes limiting the chaos much easier on the law enforcement end. 

“Everyone has to be on the same page. Politics has no play in that whatsoever,” Swicord said.

Georgia College Associate Director of Emergency Preparedness Justin Gaines said the university relies on county and city assistance during any event within the campus. Student and citizens’ safety reigns above all else.

“All and all, the first responders' goal is to save lives and protect people. By training together and being on the same page, we can know what the other is thinking,” Gaines said. “By us being a partner, what we are able to do is provide a better service to our citizens, which gives them a better quality of life.”

Practice makes perfect

Capt. Lynnette LaRocque of BCSO said a county All-Hazards Plan has been in place for 12 years. Other local agencies have similar plans as well.

LaRocque said everyone knows National Incident Management System or NIMS.

Tabletop and physical exercises with EMA partners included a response to an active shooter in school situation and a chemical spill at the end of last year.

“We will be doing another one this year,” LaRocque said. “We coordinate them with all the agencies.”

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