County responds well to ‘school attack’ simulation
David Barkemeyer
Milam County Judge

Recently, Cameron Police Chief Randy Dixon led us in a practice emergency response exercise to check Milam County’s readiness to respond in case of an unexpected emergency here in our community.

We engage in a practice drill like this periodically to keep us on our toes so to speak, should the unexpected happen here, such as what we have witnessed recently in other places like West or in Moore, Oklahoma.

The situation that was posed was a gunman attacking in one of our elementary schools here in Cameron.

Law enforcement officers from our city police departments, the sheriff’s department, DPS, and constables, our county volunteer fire departments; health department representatives and EMS, local officials including city managers and mayors along with myself and the county commis- sioners, volunteer organizations like Red Cross and the amateur radio operators emergency services, our regional Department of Emergency Management representative, a Central Texas Council of Governments planner and representatives from all of our school districts were present at this half day drill held at Bea’s Kitchen.

Over 50 representatives from these and various other organizations were present.

After Chief Dixon presented the simulated situation to us, each subgroup then discussed how they would handle their part of the emergency, and presented their response to the group.

I want you the citizens of Milam County to know that the amount of planning and aforethought that has been done by these groups is truly impressive.

The schools’ preparedness is particularly commendable. They have well thought-out plans in place on how to handle various emergencies should the unexpected happen.

The sheriff’s department has coordinated with them in advance on how they will respond as well should something like this take place.

The school has a system for contacting parents, plans for pickup points for children, and on and on.

What you should feel good about is that much planning and forethought has gone into dealing with the unexpected in this county.

Fire departments understand their role which is primarily controlling traffic and helping secure the site, health department personnel know what to do, we have a county Emergency Operations Center that will be set up to direct overall activities and communication, and deal with the media.

Each group has thought through their role in various emergency situations.

Susan Reinders is the County Emergency Management coordinator and the county judge is the Emergency Management director.

Each time we go through one of these practice exercises we get a little better prepared should we ever have to deal with an actual emergency.

I want to thank all those officials and volunteers that participated in the practice drill and that accept the responsibility of being prepared to act should the unexpected happen here in Milam County.

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2013-06-06 digital edition

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