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Teams Train to Support Disaster Response in Southwest Missouri

NEOSHO, MO.--- Regional Incident Support teams join forces to discuss future procedures in preparation for rapid response for natural disasters.
NEOSHO, MO.--- Regional Incident Support teams join forces to discuss future procedures in preparation for rapid response for natural disasters.

"We try to establish best practices, learn from past incidences and outline that in standard operating guidelines, you know all that that comes together, just basic administration," says Ryan Nicholls, Team Leader of the SWM Incident Support Team.

Nicholls says these retreats are used to train and share with each other about past experiences.

"We learn from other teams, also from Hurricane Sandy and Oklahoma, and we try to learn from what they have and we try to see a lot of the equipment and training and qualifications that they have that we haven't met yet," said Nicholls.

Deputy Team Leader Mike White says they have resources that allow them to be self sufficient for 72 hours.

"We have command post, we have equipment trailers, we bring in our food that we can supply or once we get on site we may have our logistic folks find a place for us, but basically everything we have is to be elf sufficient," says White.

He says in a natural disaster most communication is unavailable, so one of their main pieces of equipment is a communications vehicle.

"We can bring in communications by phone, internet, we've got video that we can use for a video conference between maybe our command post and that state emergency operations center," said White.

To use all the equipment efficiently, it takes extensive training. Some members can go weeks, months, and sometimes years without being deployed, so they lose their skills. Both team leaders say retreats like this one bring back that confidence and a readiness to assist.

"We're going to test them, we're going to drive them through scenarios, they feel better qualified, they feel more trained and it really kind of brings a motivation and an excitement ready to go help when the call comes," adds Nicholls.

It was the first retreat for the Southwest Missouri Incident Support Team, but leaders anticipate more to come.



(story contributed by KODE/KSN Joplin, MO)
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