OLYMPIA - A large contingent of Thurston County residents will be in Maryland next week to receive special training sponsored and paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The week long training will be conducted at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland and will involve more than 70 officials from nearly all cities and towns in the county as well as county government. In addition, many other agencies that would be involved in a major emergency or disaster will be attending including personnel from the State Patrol, Thurston 9-1-1 Communications, State Department of General Administration, area school districts and colleges, local Fire Departments, the Red Cross and other organizations. -30-
The FEMA course is a unique opportunity to assess and improve the community's disaster response capabilities. The training and disaster exercises are customized for Thurston County, and will give local agencies the opportunity to work together to respond to and recover from a catastrophic community-wide disaster scenario. The Thurston County course will focus on earthquake response and recovery.
The course will feature educational sessions followed by intensive exercise work to test coordination, cooperation and communication during an emergency. The idea is to build both awareness and skills needed to develop and implement policies, plans and procedures to protect life and property in the event of a disaster or emergency.
FEMA officials will use the training and exercise to analyze local emergency plans and to help clarify roles and responsibilities, improve teams and coordination and improve response/recovery capabilities. A report and recommendations will be delivered to the county after the training has been reviewed.
Officials from Thurston County received similar training from FEMA in 2001.