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First responders train together

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October 4, 2007

Cairo--It's no coincidence these first responders have joined together to study up on emergency management.  "The president, through homeland security, have put out a directive that all cities that want federal assistance must be NIMS compliant," explains Interim Cairo Fire Chief, Roderick Jolivette.

NIMS, or the National Incident Management System was developed so responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines can work together better to respond to natural disasters and emergencies, including acts of terrorism.  "Your best work in an emergency is done before the emergency. And if you're not prepared, you're not going to be able to respond," says city manager William Whitson.  

Thursday the group worked through scenarios of possible incidents they may have to handle: everything from haz-mat situations to dignitaries visiting.  "You have to have organization, so you have to have organizational charts, as well as picking an incident commander. We're looking at span of control issues so we don't want to have one supervisor doing too many tasks," Jolivette says.

Departments also looked at plans they have in place now, and ways they can improve them. "But our main thing is to learn how to prepare for incidents so we can take care of our citizens," says Jolivette. 

Whitson adds, "We're looking at ways to set aside resources to prepare for that rainy day, and I think the citizens are well served by those types of proactive measures." 

The NIMS training will carry on beyond these walls, and past this week. "This will be something that we'll continue next year and then continue to stay at that level beyond that point," says Whitson.  They're committed to making sure all of their employees are up to snuff when it comes to emergency preparedness.

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