By Mayor Tammy
At one time living here in Meridian it was easy to feel separated from the rest of the world and the events which “others” were experiencing. While that may have once been true, we are now the 3rd largest City in Idaho and our emergency responders know they must be prepared to respond to events. This awareness and training to being prepared helps to keep our community safe and gives us just one more thing to celebrate in Meridian.
Our Emergency Management team, representing seven departments, has been working in collaboration with the Idaho National Guard 101st Civil Support Team (CST) to put our emergency planning to the test. The 101st CST is designed and staffed to respond to emergencies anywhere in the state of Idaho within hours. The Team is composed of Air Force and Army personnel who are equipped with a robust suite of chemical, biological, and radiological detection equipment. The role of the 101st CST is not for them to “take charge” of an incident, but rather they always work with a local Incident Commander to accomplish their goals and provide the needed information to protect lives and property. This is a great resource to our community and our state to address emergency situations should the need arise.
As part of our training, Meridian City Hall served as the location for a large scale drill in March involving Meridian area emergency responders and the 101st CST. Additional participants in the drill included City of Meridian officials and City Hall staff, Central Health District, St. Luke's Health System, Ada County Paramedics, Ada County Emergency Management, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the USARNORTH/CSRG-W Bravo Division. Each participant had objectives which were designed to test the plans, procedures, and systems in place under the control, simulation, and evaluation of the exercise.
Working with the 101st, an exercise was designed to test current building policies and our City and State Emergency Responders. This large scale drill had our Police and Fire emergency responders in real life scenarios; the results will improve our response plans to the benefit of our community.
Here is a description of the event in the words of the 101st CST:
“The exercise began with a suspicious package releasing a simulated toxin. City Hall was evacuated and the Meridian Fire Department responded to assist the victim and to assess the scene. Upon further investigation the Fire Department established Incident Command and called to request more assets to assist them at the scene. As a result of these events the 101st CST was deployed to work for the Incident Commander.
Once on scene the CST learned that a package had sprayed liquid on a worker at the City Hall. The liquid was simulating a dangerous toxin that would make a person very ill and require hospitalization. Under the direction of the Incident Commander the CST made entry into the building and used a variety of equipment to determine the nature of the hazard and advised medical authorities how best to treat the person that was sprayed.”
I am proud to say this exercise was a success and a testament to the high level of readiness of our first responders and all the first responders that support our community.
This was the final of three training exercises that were held this spring between the Meridian Police, Fire Department, and the 101st CST. What this means for our community is the confirmation that if a need arises, your first responders – the Meridian Police and Fire Departments – are more than capable of meeting your needs.
If you would like to share your experience with our first responders, send me an email at email@example.com and together we can celebrate Meridian.