Responders learn how to deal with major hazards

1/30/2008 12:00 AM

Two public safety and security instructors from the Texas Engineering Extension Service are currently training local emergency planners and responders on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from any major hazard and mass casualty events.

Monroe Manley and John Sisario started Monday their three-day Threat and Risk Assessment Course sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Grants and Training at the Pacific Islands Club.

About 18 personnel from the Department of Public Safety, Court Marshals, Commonwealth Ports Authority, and other law enforcement agencies participated in the training.

In an interview with Saipan Tribune, Manley said he and Sisario are teaching participants the fiveassessment type process on how to identify their vulnerabilities and what the consequences of an allhazard incident on the island would accomplish.

“We would look at what our capabilities are, what we desire to have and what we currently have and then identify what our needs are,” Manley said.

He said the entire process is called risk assessment and needs assessment to help the islands be better prepared to respond to and recover from all-hazard incidents, calamities or major accidents.

“We teach all these guys how to work together as a team in responding to and recovering from these type of incidents,” Manley said.

The instructor said local responders are really good at reacting to things that are normal for certain duration and for certain intensity.

“They can respond to those things and handle them very well. But what happens if an incident occurs outside of that normality? Have we planned for that? Do we have the resources to respond to it? And if not, have we identified what our plan needs to be?” he said.

Manley cited that gasoline is probably the most major commodity on the island. “What would happen if your storage for your gasoline is in bad shape?” he asked.

Under the Threat and Risk Assessment Course, Manley said, they are teaching local participants how to prevent major bad things from happening.

“It does not have to be terrorists' acts. It could be an accident. Somebody accidentally blows up one of those [fuel storage] by accident, then you will be without fuel for quite a while. And your power plants depend on fuel,” he said.

Manley said they are teaching the process, but the local jurisdiction has to come up with its own risk assessment. “We teach them how to do that and they have to do that,” he added.

Yesterday, the instructors conducted field exercise by visiting sites and learning how to do the actual vulnerability assessment.

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