City employees undergo disaster preparedness training
PHOTO: City employees David Novelli, Corey Minor Smith, and Robert Torres participate in a day-long training session.
Adequate preparation is key to preventing potential large-scale emergencies from quickly getting out of hand. Over the past 18 months, the City of Canton has been undertaking a massive effort to train all city employees in the basics of disaster preparedness and emergency response should a major incident occur. This system – the Canton Incident Management System (or CIMS) – is modeled after a national program instituted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In 2003, Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5) called for the establishment of a single, comprehensive National Incident Management System (NIMS). Unveiled by the Department of Homeland Security in the following year, NIMS applies to all federal, state, local, tribal, private sector and non-governmental personnel with a direct role in emergency management and response. The federal government strongly encourages that all government employees have a minimum amount of incident management training to assist first responders and crisis managers during major emergencies, including political and government leaders.
The City of Canton has been working hard to guarantee that city employees will be able to respond in times of crisis and work efficiently to minimize the disaster’s impact on city residents. In partnership with the Fire, Health, and Human Resources departments, the Office of Compliance successfully coordinated training for more than 100 employees in 2009 alone.
While disasters are rarely predictable, the City must be ready for to implement a response plan at a moment’s notice. By coordinating these training programs and reinforcing employees’ knowledge through continuing education efforts, the Office of Compliance wants to guarantee residents are not left to fend for themselves during a crisis situation. For information about the National Incident Management System, visit www.fema.gov/emergency/nims.