BEAR CREEK - Since every second counts in an emergency situation, first responders and officials from at least three counties are coming together for a special meeting on Tuesday, May 3, to share information and resources so no time will be wasted if another major disaster or mass casualty incident occurs.
The meeting, planned for 6 p.m., will hopefully fill the Bobby Bishop Community Center to capacity, according to organizers.
Ironically, the meeting will be just a few days past the 11th anniversary of the April 27, 2011, catastrophic tornadoes that devastated Hackleburg in Marion County, Phil Campbell in Franklin County and Haleyville in Winston and Marion counties. Although these three counties shared numerous resources and first responders in the aftermath of that disaster, there can always be lessons learned to help make response to the next incident more efficient, officials said.
And, all emergency responders will agree, it is not if, but when the next disaster will strike.
Bear Creek Mayor Rob Taylor recently attended a meeting in Hamilton, where the Marion County Emergency Management director met with local fire departments and other responders, law enforcement and elected officials to compile a master list of the best and fastest communication possible, when another disaster strikes.
Taylor is bringing that idea back to Bear Creek for the May 3 meeting, and is reaching out across Marion, Franklin and Winston counties, seeking attendance from mayors, first responders, county commissioners, EMA directors and other officials who are all key in time of disaster.
“A lot of it is meeting the folks you will need to contact in the event we have a major disaster or major emergency,” Taylor said.
Taylor is expanding this concept in Bear Creek to include not just elected officials, law enforcement, first responders and EMA, but also churches, schools, businesses and civic organizations.
“What we need is a database telling how many people we are looking at in each location,” Taylor added. “What kind of operation are we going to have, in the event we do have another major disaster.”
The mayor said area industries should be giving employee numbers to their respective towns so, in case a major industry had to be evacuated, the town would know how many employees would be affected and to account for any missing.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.