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franklin county times

Sunday, Nov. 4, 2001

By Staff
A little piece of home
To the Editor:
Recently members of the 186th ARW were activated. We are deployed to a country far away from our families and friends.
Each day when we report, one of the first things we do is pull up The Meridian Star Web site and catch up with the latest news from home. So far we have missed the grand opening of Super Wal-Mart and Halloween, and probably will miss Thanksgiving and possibly Christmas.
We all believe that this is where we need to be if we are going to see our children and grandchildren grow without the threat of being the victims of terrorism.
Remember us in your prayers and soon we will be back among you enjoying our fair city.
SMS Robert F. Brand
Meridian
MFD: Specialized training needed to fight terrorism
To the Editor:
If ever there was a doubt in anyone's mind about the magnitude of risk confronting firefighters and emergency medical technicians in their every day service, it was erased on Sept. 11.
Never in our history has a single incident taken so heavy a toll  343 emergency responders killed and 147 more injured. It could not have been foreseen.
The men and women of the fire service, 1.1 million nationwide, are the only people in every community in the United States who are trained, equipped, and sworn to respond immediately to crises and remain engaged until the situation is abated.
For the last several months, the Meridian Fire Department has worked to assess the threat potential
locally and develop plans to deal with situations like terrorist attacks. Every community in America has been re-evaluating its vulnerabilities and assessing its readiness to respond.
I don't think anyone in the country, certainly no one in our department, ever anticipated attacks of the magnitude that would use civilian airliners as missiles, topple two of the world's tallest buildings, strike at the very nerve center of our national defense, and kill more that 6,000 people and injure 8,500 more.
But we now know that very significant events can occur any where at any time. That means that we must be prepared. Fortunately, the Meridian Fire Department has a strong training program and is well equipped to respond effectively to most foreseeable disasters.
To be prepared as best we can for new kinds of threats, members of the Meridian Fire Department are going to require additional special training. The department also is going to need additional staffing and equipment to protect fire department personnel and the community if an act of terrorism occurs here.
Congress is considering legislation to provide additional federal funds to state, municipalities, fire departments and rescue organizations, so they can purchase or upgrade apparatus, equipment, tools and training, and increase staffing to be more effective in responding to threats of terrorism.
With strong support from our representatives in Washington, the Meridian Fire Department and all residents of Meridian will be better able to manage the consequences of terrorism should it strike here. It will be very helpful if the citizens of Meridian would express their support by contacting our representatives at their address and phone numbers below.
Congressman Chip Pickering
427 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5031
Senator Trent Lott
487 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-6253
Senator Thad Cochran
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
(202) 224-5054

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