Whenever there is severe weather in the Erie region, many residents see first responders jumping into action.
What you don’t see is the West Erie County Emergency Management Agency working behind the scenes gathering information and coordinating help. “We’re just trying to make sure everybody has the resources and the needs that they need to be able to work the live events as they need to,“ said Ramona Junkins, Planning Section Chief at West County EMA.
On Wednesday, West County EMA held an emergency response training exercise that ran through real-life scenarios that could happen during severe weather.
Ramona Junkins has been with West County EMA for five years. She says this training session helps sharpen her skills. “To know what to do when it actually does happen, there’s so many keys that go into place, knowing when to do, what to do,” said Junkins.
During this training, attendees also got to know what it’s like when communications systems are down and have ways to get information out.
The public information officer for West County EMA says the Next Generation Public Safety Radio System will be a game changer for communicating for emergency response teams. “It’ll really help the overall emergency services, everything from fire, EMT as well as emergency management for communications. It’s a much-needed system,“ said Bill Felege, Public Information Officer at West County EMA.
The Next Gen Radio System is a 26.5 million dollar project and will go live as soon as all users are trained on the equipment.
West County EMA tries to have training sessions like this one twice a year.