Agencies Band Together For Counter Terrorism Training - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/11/03

Agencies Band Together For Counter Terrorism Training

The men and women who came to the conference know their agencies can't handle a terrorist attack alone. They will count on each other to help, especially those who come from smaller communities across South Mississippi.

"We wouldn't hesitate to call and what this program does is put us in touch with other agencies, department heads that we can call in case of they're needed," Wiggins Police Chief Reid Lowe says.

"We can't handle a situation like this by ourselves. We have to work together with other agencies be it state, local federal," Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown says.

The various emergency officials have trained for crisis situations like hurricanes or a plane crash. But the possibility of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons is a whole new problem. If such an attack were to occur they need to know who would respond and how.

"Who's exactly gonna do what, who's gonna take care of this. It's gonna involve evidence collection, transportation and treating the victims if there are any and things to watch for for the local officers and firefighters that they respond to, what seems to be normal incidents that may have a larger ramification," says Moss Point Fire Chief Earl Etheridge.

The public safety workers say they will take the lessons learned here to try to make their own neighborhoods safer.

"To go back, to get our agencies to sit down at the table face to face and talk over where are we at, what do we need to do and what we need to do to get there," Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Bobby Strahan says.

With each other's help, the agencies say they'll be able to do whatever it takes to prevent a terrorist strike.

By:Marcia Hill

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