Public safety people from the four-state region of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming will congregate at Thee Garage in Baker, Monday, April 24.
Posted April 5, 2013
By Lisa Kilsdonk
Public safety people from the four-state region of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming will congregate at Thee Garage in Baker, Monday, April 24. Fallon County’s DES/911 coordinator Chuck Lee started hosting the now annual event in 2008, after discerning a need for emergency coordinators from nearby states to meet and exchange ideas. In the past years, approximately 60-70 people associated with DES, Geo-spatial Information System (GIS), law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services (EMS), and dispatch/911 have gathered in Baker with a goal of better serving their communities.
One of the newer advances already in place in other parts of the country is the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) that can send out warnings (think tornado or Amber Alert) to all cell phones, radio, TV, and highway information signs. “You could be visiting Houston and get a message or call on your cell phone warning you of a tornado in the area, even if you aren’t from there,” Lee explained.
A representative from the National Weather Service will address the group regarding the upcoming fire season. Fires are one of the most frequent calls for mutual aid among these agencies.
A firefighter from Dickinson, ND will also present some of the impacts recent oil activities have had. Housing, crime, economic changes, infrastructure, and best practices are a few of the oil-related topics the group will discuss.
Dan Hawkins from the Department of Homeland Security will update the attendees on the National Broadband Initiative.
Several other topics are on the meeting docket including the possibility of conducting a full scale or functional training exercise requiring several of the groups to work together. “Trainings like these are expensive, but extremely valuable,” said Lee. “They help us figure out things, like how would we handle a bus wreck with 50 people on board or some other natural disaster.”
“I invite public safety people from every county that borders our local 911/dispatch area, plus first responders. I’d love to have them come down and have lunch on me,” said Lee with a smile as he headed out his office door to a meeting.
Door prizes, T-shirts, lunch along with morning and afternoon snacks will be provided to make the Wednesday meeting about the serious topic of public safety just a bit more fun.