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City officials training for emergencies

Jill Lufrano

Carson City will be represented by 70 city, state and community officials at a federal emergency management training center in Maryland learning how to respond to earthquakes, floods or terrorism events.

“We thought we’d take advantage and get everybody trained up in case anything should happen,” said City Manager Linda Ritter of the training which will be paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens will be in charge of the city while Ritter and several department managers and other staff will be away. Also participating will be Supervisors Robin Williamson and Pete Livermore.

The class will teach those most likely to be involved in a mass emergency incident in the city – like fire, police, city leaders and key state employees -how to operate an emergency operations center. During the week, the crew will take part in two real-life exercises.

“This course is specifically designed for Carson City,” said federal training specialist Pete Vogel in Emmetsburg, Md.

Vogel and others with the Emergency Management Institute visited Carson in November to research places and resources to use in the class, he said. Carson was chosen as one of 12 cities to be invited to the program this year.

“We did some research on the city so it can be very realistic,” Vogel said. “They’ll be able to take a good realistic look at the way they’re set up in terms of their plans, procedures, resources and be able to go home and make Carson City a safer place for the people who live there.”

The course will include special instruction on terrorism and weapons of mass destruction requested by Carson officials.

The federal agency will pay for Carson participants to travel and take the class, but the city will pay $20 a day each for meals.

City emergency management staff applied two years ago for the grant, said Fire Chief and Emergency Manager Lou Buckley. The city also invited two news reporters from a Reno television station to participate.

“What we’re trying to do here is to train and actually exercise people after training in dealing with operations and mitigation of disasters that occur in Carson City,” Buckley said. “Our effort is to develop those people and develop a team atmosphere to conduct emergency operations.”

Contact Jill Lufrano at jlufrano@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.