Nearly 70 emergency responders from Livingston County, N.Y., and surrounding jurisdictions spent the week of May 21 strengthening their emergency management capabilities and exercising their skills in Mount Morris, N.Y.
The Integrated Emergency Management Branch of the Emergency Management Institute conducted the training. A team of instructors provided learning opportunities to local emergency responders to improve their ability to communicate and coordinate between the County’s Emergency Operations Center and an incident management team working in the field.
Training scenarios were based on future planned events to include the Geneseo Rotary Summer Festival and the Empire State Games. Students were tasked with responding to an unplanned event involving severe weather and widespread flooding.
The County’s dedication to an efficient response to emergencies is evident in the turnout for the four-day course. Participants were eager to apply existing and new knowledge to their current response plans, and they efficiently handled the challenges presented by their instructors.
“We scheduled this course to help our teams connect and learn how to work together and coordinate emergency operations,” said Kevin Niedermaier, director, Livingston County Emergency Management Services. “We need to plan and prepare for those worst-case scenarios. By working together and training together, we can provide the best protection for our citizens.”
When multiple agencies or departments respond to a realistic scenario, one of the most important outcomes is understanding the challenge and assigning roles and resources -- both personnel and materials. Niedermaier said the next time there is a need, they not only will know who to call, but they also will have a framework that will help them to understand the best way to respond with teams and resources.
“Different scenarios can present different procedural challenges,” said James C. Merrick, Livingston County Board chairman. “The decisions made by the policy makers greatly affect how responders do their job. We learned as a group just how important those initial decisions can be in the long run.”
Numerous agencies were represented at the four-day training session held at the Livingston County EOC. In addition to members of the Board of Supervisors and the American Red Cross, county staff from the Health, Fire, Emergency Management, Planning, and Sheriff’s departments as well as the Water and Sewer Authority, and the Office for the Aging participated. The State of New York Office of Emergency Management participated as well. They provided additional material and support that was essential in the successful completion of this course.