A training covering several possible emergency situations has state-level emergency management and state agency personnel feeling confident in their abilities to face a disaster.
More than 50 of Nebraska's emergency responders attended a training and exercise session Jan. 8-11 at the newly opened State Emergency Operations Center in Lincoln.
The training gives the staff an opportunity to see how prepared they are to handle a couple of different emergency scenarios.
"This course will allow us to see how well we can operate in this environment before we experience an actual event," said Al Berndt, assistant director of Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
The course brings together personnel who would staff the State EOC during an incident. The goal of this training is to provide realistic events that test the agency's existing plans.
"This class provided us a chance to review our emergency operations plans against a realistic, plausible scenario," said Berndt. "During the course, we were able to identify where everything worked according to our plan and a couple of places that we need to improve. Overall, it showed that we have a great team and work very well together."
The emergency events covered in this training included a natural disaster event, a major motor vehicle accident on Interstate-80, an agricultural event and a freight train fire. These plausible events tested the state's ability to organize and direct emergency response assets and to have them sent to where they were needed the most.
"When many agencies or departments respond to a realistic scenario, it is important to understand the challenge before you and then assign appropriate resources, both personnel and materials, to handle it," said Dave Reisen, training and exercise unit supervisor, Nebraska Emergency Management Agency.
"Because of this training, we not only will know the people we're likely to work with when an event happens, but we'll also better understand our roles and how best to communicate our needs."