In the event of a local emergency this week, Tahlequah should be well-covered.

More than 130 emergency services personnel will be in town for the annual Northeast Area Emergency Management Training Workshop, July 11-13 at the Armory Municipal Center

Topics ranging from the 2005-’06 wildfires that scorched the state, to pandemic planning, will be covered, said Tahlequah-Cherokee County EM Director Gary Dotson, who added that this is the third year the local EM office will host the event.

“It was supposed to be in Grove three years ago, but something happened, and they had to change the schedule and have it here,” he said. “They liked it so much it’s been here every year since.”

Dotson said the workshop is not just for emergency management workers, but for all emergency services personnel. One hundred thirty-five people had registered by Monday morning. Several are coming from out of town.

Many local emergency service workers usually take part in the workshop.

“Some will just come for one of the classes, and others will be here for all three days,” Dotson said. “It’s all what they want to do.”

Mayor Ken Purdy will welcome the emergency service workers this afternoon, and work starts shortly afterward.

Albert Ashwood, state EM director, will be in Tahlequah for the workshop. The area coordinator, Steve Palladino, will also be part of the program.

“We’re glad to have all of our speakers here for the workshop, but we’re especially pleased to have our state director and regional coordinator here with us,” said Dotson.

The session calls for Steve Piltz of the National Weather Service to speak about the NWS’ new products. Diane Terry, state EM training coordinator, will close the first day’s session.

Mark Goehler, from the Oklahoma Forestry Service, starts the second day of the workshop, with a session on the 2005-’06 wildfires. Paula Cain will speak on pandemic planning and operations.

The final day includes some instruction on the use of global positioning systems. Dotson said that will also be the exercise portion of the workshop.

“Training’s always a part of these workshops,” Dotson said. “We get a lot of good information and we get some work done.”

No actual emergencies have occurred while the workshop was being held here.

“We’d have lots of help if something does happen,” Dotson said.


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