Officials get Homeland security training

SLEEPY EYE – Brown County elected and appointed officials attended a Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) Incident Command System overview Monday night at Sleepy Eye Medical Center.

Created by the Brown County Emergency Planning Department, the overview included county commissioners, department heads, city councilors and administrators, emergency managers and first responders, among others.

“I congratulate Brown County for taking the time to do this. They understand how the system works,” said HSEM Deputy Director Joe Kelly, a retired Minnesota National Guard Brigadier General and Olivia native.

As a National Guard member, Kelly said some of his biggest challenges included battling the 1997 floods in the Moorhead and East Grand Forks areas. “We brought in big airport runway blowers to clear snow off roads,” he said. “I remember sleeping on a cot in my cubicle while fighting the flooding Minnesota River in and around Montevideo. We sandbagged, checked dikes, patrolled and rescued people off flooded farms.”

The National Response Framework (NRF) emphasizes partnerships. Local government is the first response, with help from the private sector, individuals and households and non-governmental organizations. State government provides support. The federal government is the last resort, according to the training program.

Examples of incidents managed using the Incident Command System include structural and wild fires, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, human and animal disease outbreaks, search and rescue missions, hazardous materials incidents, criminal acts and crime scene investigations, terrorist incidents including the use of weapons of mass destruction, national special security events like presidential visits and the Super Bowl and other planned events like parades and demonstrations.

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