Grants, NM -- The Pueblo of Acoma has been selected to participate in a FEMA program to improve the community's emergency response procedures. Fire, law enforcement, and medical service responders will spend four-to-six months working with emergency management officials, local industry, and volunteers to review and revise procedures and to train responders.
Hundreds of accidental spills involving chemical or petroleum products occur annually on our roadways, waterways, and railways. How well is the Pueblo of Acoma prepared to handle such a disaster? Are the emergency teams at the Pueblo of Acoma and surround jurisdictions of the Pueblo of Laguna and Cibola County prepared and trained to respond to these hazardous incidents? The Comprehensive Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Capability Assessment Program (CHER-CAP) will help the community answer these questions.
"There is no doubt that the Pueblo of Acoma has an effective plan now. However, with constant changes in hazards, a community needs to examine its plans and procedures regularly. This program is an opportunity to unite elements of the response community in this effort," commented Gary Jones, Acting FEMA Regional Director.
FEMA Region VI selected the Pueblo of Acoma for this grant because of their interest in constantly improving their response to hazardous materials, according to Wayne Rickard, HAZMAT Program Manager. "Hazardous materials may require quick response from numerous tribal, local and state agencies and departments. Drawing on past incidents, we can learn from these experiences and be better prepared to respond."
"We are proud to be selected by FEMA Region VI, as the first Tribal Nation to conduct a CHER-CAP. This is a historic event for our community. Never before have we brought all these outside jurisdictions in to work with us in an exercise. This program provides expertise to help develop plans, procedures, and training plus an exercise to test our emergency response. Everything is tailored to our own community needs," stated Stanley Paytiamo, Acoma EPA Specialist.