Carroll County’s in Good Hands Due to TCIP Training
(L to R) Village of Thomson Police Officer Beth Balk and West Carroll Superintendent Craig Mathers discuss what steps to take in the event of a bomb threat in one of the schools at the Feb. 28 TCIP meeting.
(PA photo/Lynnette Forth)
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
Would Emergency Responders from Carroll County know what to do in the event of multiple emergency disasters? The answer is yes, thanks to a great training exercise held on February 28th at the Naaman Diehl Auditorium.
Approximately 60 personnel from the county, including Police, Fire, EMS, School officials, Public works officials, American Red Cross, Mayors, Carroll County Health Department, Carroll County 911 Dispatchers, and others, attended a Tactical Interoperable Communication Plan (TCIP) Exercise, sponsored by the Carroll County Emergency Service and Disaster Agency.
Greg Miller, ESDA director for Carroll County stated, “This plan is intended to document what interoperable communication resources are available within the designated area, which controls each resource, and what rules of use exist for the activation and deactivation of each resource. We are going to attempt to communicate without phones, radios, and so on.” The drill is directed primarily towards public service personnel.
Ron McDermott of Johnson, Depp, and Quisenberry announced that the process of facilitating a training of this magnitude has been in the planning stages since September. “This scenario will help us find our strengths and weaknesses. Your being here shows you care and will do things to the best of your ability. This will help your county go up the ladder in making it better.”
Greg Miller (L) ESDA coordinator for Carroll County discusses planning during the TCIP drill.
The scenario chosen for the evening contained many events. A weather alert was in place with freezing rain and snow, which could lead to downed power lines and telephone communications. A bomb threat was received at a West Carroll School, which led to discussion on school policies by WC Superintendent Craig Mathers and Principal Bob Lamb. Thomson Police Officer Beth Balk was present, to provide specific police procedures for such an event. Carroll County Sheriff’s Department was well represented with Police and 911 dispatchers on hand to provide their expertise.
Other emergency situations involved numerous accidents due to the weather, and also a fire in Lake Carroll. Involved members were instructed to complete log sheets, showing specific times, date, and what exactly happened.
“This exercise was developed to display the counties strengths and weaknesses,” said Miller. “What plans each department has in place, how dispatchers would handle having such a high volume of calls, Fire and EMS personnel knowing they wouldn’t be able to get normal resources, and calling for additional help.”
McDermott concluded that there were a few weaknesses found in the practice drill, with more to surely be found in the completed report, but much strength were also identified. McDermott was pleased with the plans that the school district has in place, and the level of knowledge displayed by all departments. By the end of March a final report of the training will be submitted to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency for review. If the plan is found successful by IEMA, Carroll County may be awarded grant money to be used for further training.