Cache County officials to practice emergency management skills

On Sept. 22, Cache County officials will practice their emergency management skills while coping with a simulated 6.0 scale earthquake occurring 1,000 feet below Cache Valley.

CACHE COUNTY – Seismology experts agree that Cache Valley is overdue for an earthquake.

That event will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 22, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Simulated, of course.

That hypothetical disaster will be a 6.0 scale earthquake occurring 1,000 feet below Cache Valley, according to Will Lusk, the county’s emergency management director.

That simulated seismic event will be the focus of a countywide three-hour Emergency Training Exercise during a four-day Integrated Emergency Management Course being conducted here by officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from Sept. 20 to 23.

In late August, Lusk reminded members of the Cache County Council that September is National Preparedness Month and advised them of a of a “great opportunity” for county officials to bush up on the skills that they would need to exercise in a crisis situation.

Nobody wants to look like a clown, especially when disaster strikes,” Lusk emphasized. “So that doesn’t happen, we need to take time out of our busy schedules and exercise our emergency roles.”

The upcoming Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC) will be conducted by instructors flying in from FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute in Emmitsberg, MD.

That training will be delivered in the Emergency Operations Center in the County Sheriff’s Complex, where local officials would actually gather in a real-life emergency.

The FEMA website says that the IEMC is an exercise-based training activity for emergency managers and local officials to learn their responsibilities in a simulated crisis situation.

The goal of that instruction is the development of coordination, leadership and communication skilled require to mount a community-wide effort to responded to a natural disaster.

The methodology used in IEMC instruction combines classroom lectures, discussions, small-group planning sessions and exercise-based training to expose participants to new ideas and increase their awareness of the coordination needed between agencies and organizations.

Lusk said that he hopes that county council members, administrative officials and department heads would participate in both the FEMA training and the disaster exercise.

“In those sessions,” he explained, “we will have opportunities to both learn our roles (in an emergency) and exercise those skills.“

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