State, local agencies receive FEMA training

State, local agencies receive FEMA training
State and local agencies receive FEMA training (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The City of Tyler is one of eleven cities nationwide to receive a grant from FEMA that includes natural disaster training.

State and local agencies gathered Tuesday for an integrated emergency management course provided by FEMA. Tyler Assistant Fire Chief Michael Frost says participants are learning how to better communicate information to the public when a disaster hits.  

"What they're bringing in is how to run an emergency operation center in case of a major disaster," Frost says. "The disaster that we're going to have today or the table top exercise is an F4 tornado hitting the heart of Tyler."

Frost is one of 80 participants. He says the hands-on training helps prepare local first responders. 

"[This is] very necessary, if you watch last year Canton got hit by the tornado; Tyler's been in the center of near misses and it's something that keeps me up at night and a lot of emergency responders," he says. "We realize sooner or later something is going to happen here." 

Frost says information about first aid assistance and shelter locations are important during natural disasters. He's learning if it's best to communicate that information through social media or news outlets. The training will also evaluate their resources and how to respond to a tornado that creates severe damage.

"It's how to take an incident that may happen here in Tyler that could wind up being small but what we're going to do is practice this. An F4 tornado in the middle of Tyler could actually be declared a presidential disaster."

Frost says though first responders train for incidents like this throughout the year. The training from FEMA allows each agency to learn how other officials deal with natural disasters.

State and local officials will train with the Federal Emergency Management Agency through Thursday.  

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