Training exercise tests Heartland mobile communication equipment
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - When disaster strikes, first responders take on enormous tasks including restoring lines of communication.
Multiple agencies from southeast Missouri and beyond recently spent a weekend in Cape Girardeau for a training exercise to test mobile communication equipment.
“Communications is essential in any emergency, disaster or any event like that,” Brad Dillow, battalion chief with the Cape Girardeau Fire Department, said.
Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes. They’re disasters that could hit the Heartland with little warning.
Dillow said those disasters could wipe out our communication systems.
“Let’s face it,” he said, “we are a technology-based society now. We use it every day in our lives. We use our cellphones, 24/7 practically, and so when those things go down and people can’t use it... people don’t know what to do.”
That’s why Dillow and other first responders from multiple agencies in Missouri recently staged a mock disaster at the Cape Girardeau Sportsplex to learn what to do if a worst-case scenario becomes reality.
“This is what this is based on,” he explained. “An earthquake has hit the area and we are trying to get communications up through radios, satphones and cell systems and all kinds of different media.”
“If there is a large-scale disaster or emergency that is impacting our local dispatch center or public safety agencies, it’s important that we have a back-up and redundancy of resources,” he continued.
Andrew Bohnert is the Emergency Management director in Stoddard County.
He said the training exercise also gives crews a chance to get to know other first responders they may encounter in the field.
“I really love seeing all the first responders come together for an event like this. It shows that we work together well. If disaster or emergency strikes, we are all ready to respond together and have some great teamwork and cooperation amongst each other.”
And while this emergency is staged, first responders know well that they could face a true disaster at any moment; and they say they’ll be ready.
“One of these days, the potential is there that that could happen. And when that happens, things like this are going to be used because our infrastructure is going to fail us. And we’ve got to get communications back up to get assets and requests into the area to help the people in this area,” Dillow said.
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