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Local emergency workers stage mock terrorism disaster

By By Lynette Wilson / staff writer
July 10, 2002
Medical technicians, law officers, elected officials and firefighters from Lauderdale County and eight other counties will stage a mock bioterrorism disaster today to assess their emergency readiness.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will sponsor the session the third in a series of 11 similar statewide simulations at Mississippi State University-Meridian Campus.
The session will assess the counties' capabilities of responding to a major disaster. It also will establish a regional Incident Command System to coordinate disaster relief.
MEMA spokeswoman Amy Carruth said that the Incident Command System will designate one central command in the event of an emergency.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove signed an executive order that created the standard for a Mississippi Incident Command System.
Carruth said MEMA hopes the exercise helps to establish face-to-face interaction between local, state and federal agencies and to identify equipment and training needs in each county.
She also said MEMA hopes to gauge the medical capabilities of each county, ensuring that all are prepared for any disaster they could face.
Carruth said MEMA picked bioterrorism because it's easier to stage on paper than something like a hurricane.
The next step will come after the last mock disaster on Dec. 11.
Then, MEMA will evaluate the comments and feedback from the exercises, divide the state into three regions and conduct another disaster exercise using volunteers to test equipment.