One of the many things that public safety and really all government agencies in Polk County (and Florida for that matter) do fairly well is work together during emergencies. The collaboration and cooperation during hurricanes, wildfires, floods, or other disasters is a source of pride for us.
Having said that, I participated in today's 2009 Polk County Municipal Liaison meeting hosted by the Polk County Emergency Management Division. Pete McNally and his staff from PCEMD and Jim Bell from the County's Public Safety Department gave presentations on disaster mitigation and preparation efforts currently underway.
It is always good to renew business relationships with peers across the county at these meetings. These get togethers provide us with the opportunity to once again see folks we worked closely with during the storms of 2004 and more recent events.
Government today uses an approach of all-hazards planning and preparation rather than just hurricane planning because public safety and other departments need to be ready to respond to any type of emergency. This change in our approach is the result of lessons learned from past hurricanes and the extensive ICS and NIMS training that followed the attacks of 9-11. We now have an integrated system of federal, state, county, and municipal agencies that are ready to work together regardless of the emergency through a coordinated and well defined incident management system.
It is, of course, our hope that we are never called upon to use this training, but we stand ready nonetheless.
- Asst Chief Bill LePere