By Meghan Van Aken
Officials, first responders and emergency personnel from Greene County and the City of Springfield came together as a team to participate in a four-day exercise-based training course during the week of July 16-19.
The Integrated Emergency ManagementBranch of the Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsburg, Md., conducted the weeklong course, which was designed to give the participants an opportunity to respond to a damaging tornado in their community.
Springfield -Greene County’s dedication to an efficient response to emergencies was evident in the turnout for the course. Participants were eager learn more about their role during an incident and apply those tasks to a coordinated emergency response effort in a simulated environment.
“Since Springfield was a key responder to the Joplin tornado, I didn’t expect our team to learn much from this exercise . . . but I was wrong. This program gave our group the confidence that we can endure a large-scale community disaster, when it occurs – it’s about creating a more resilient community,” said Greg Burris, Springfield city manager.
As a simulated tornado caused devastating destruction through the center of their community, Springfield-Greene County worked to solve issues, order resources and maintain a strong common operational picture within the Emergency Operations Center, the Joint Information Center and the Policy Group seamlessly, as one cohesive unit.
The Joint Information Center kept citizens in the community up-to-date in a timely fashion using press releases and social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook to post information regarding shelter openings, power outages and road closures.
“Because of the training, we are inspired to go home and share the message of preparedness with our community,” said Timothy Smith, Greene County administrator.
The Planning Section of the Springfield-Greene County Emergency Operation Center uses T-Cards to track resources during a simulated response to a tornado. Photo Meghan Van Aken, FEMA.