More than a dozen men and women are learning how to get a better handle of a disaster situation in a week long course being taught at the MSU Extension Service in Biloxi.
The class is made up of emergency mangers, first responders, Mississippi Highway Patrol, MS State Board of Animal Health, Department of Marine Resources and other law enforcement agencies from throughout the coast and state. The Regional Delivery of the Emergency Management Institute, which is a component of FEMA is providing the course, which offers position specific training for a situation unit leader.
Many of the attendees have more than two decades of experience in dealing with emergency situations. According to Clarke County Emergency Management Director Eddie Ivy, "It helps us as emergency responders and emergency managers to have a better handle on the events in the instance they occur in our jurisdictions."
Ivy said the course focuses on how to provide a visual of the status of a situation that is happening.
"Whether it's a hurricane, a tornado, earthquake, even just a severe thunderstorm that occurs, that's causing power outages. So the command and control people at the emergency operations centers can have a good understanding and a good working knowledge of how much of their community is actually involved," he added.
Ivy said the course also allows first responders the opportunity to better communicate the situation to the public.
"How to keep a good handle on the situation that is occurring. The event, whether its an actual emergency situation or a planned event such as a Mardi Gras parade. How to better maintain control of the activities, and the response and the resources that are out there," Ivy said.
During a large disaster event, there's a good chance many of the attendees will work with each other outside of the class to provide assistance.
"By training together we have a better operating picture and a better understanding of how we're doing it. We're doing it the same way and that leads to a better service for the citizens of the state."