Local Responders Are Ready in an Emergency

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

It was six years ago today that the nation was united in shock and sorrow by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

On this anniversary, people from across the nation gathered to remember.

But six-years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, emergency responders everywhere are making sure they're ready if something like that happens again.

Local emergency teams say they don't expect a disaster of that magnitude to happen here, but if it did, they're more than ready.

Since that deviating day six years ago, local emergency teams are doing everything they can to increase training to become more efficient.

"The biggest change I've seen is it's more of a close nit family--the responders are," explained Emergency Management Director Ronnie Pearson.

Local responders say communication between every agency is key in an emergency.

"Part of the problem on September 11 was that the different responders couldn't communicate with each other," Captain Bill Payton said, with the Kentucky State Police.

"Our communication has improved quite a bit," Chief Greg Johnson added, with the Bowling Green Fire Dept.

But the only way to keep the communication going is through plenty of training.

"Probably almost 100 percent of the people have gone through some national training for disaster and emergencies," Johnson assured.

The Bowling Green Fire Dept. practices using their trucks several times a week.

They've even participated in national efforts to train citizens on homeland security.

"We have contingency plans in place to respond to an event in each of the eight counties that we cover. We've also identified critical infrastructures that might possibly be targeted," Payton said.

"We've been able to host and prepare one of the regional hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction teams," Pearson continued.

In 2002, Emergency Management received about $1.5-million to put towards local homeland security.

"We've expanded our realm of detection devices with anything from nerve agents to specific chemicals," Pearson said.

He said there is no doubt that South-Central Kentuckians should rest assure because the area is more prepared and safer than it was six years ago.

"I believe we have some of the best responders in the nation in Bowling Green and Warren County and that's something to be said that we are able to respond. I hope we don't ever have to, but we are ready," Pearson said.

Emergency Management of Bowling Green and Warren County only has three employees but they work directly with all local first responders and state agencies.

They are the organization that makes sure all responders are all on the same page during an emergency.

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