Pelham mayor attends emergency management training program

Mayor Don Murphy is ready if a disaster hits the city.

And he is confident the city is ready, as well.

Murphy recently attended the National League of Cities Emergency Management Training Program in Mobile, where the mayor joined other city leaders from around the Southeast to identify hazards unique to the community, analyze the community’s emergency management structure and learn where to find available resources to support the community before, during and after an emergency or crisis.

“You need to be trained in case a crisis hits, rather than look like a deer in headlights,” Murphy said.

The NLC Emergency Management Training Program provides in-depth emergency management training to local officials in the wake of recent disasters, such as Hurricanes Rita and Katrina and the Minneapolis bridge collapse. Each seminar addresses the four missions of emergency management: prevention, protection, response and recovery.

Murphy said the program also helped identify disasters that could happen in each community.

In Pelham, some of the most likely disasters that the city should be prepared for range from hazardous spills on the railroads, the interstate and the storage tanks off Exit 242 to tornados and hurricanes.

“We have to be alert of things that can happen,” Murphy said.

In the event a disaster does happen, Murphy said it would be his duty to communicate with the public, while also coordinating with city departments in the post-effort.

Murphy said the city’s police, fire and public works departments are more than capable of handling a crisis.

“What a mayor doesn’t need to do is get in the way,” Murphy said.

The mayor also said he participated in role-playing scenarios to help prepare for when a disaster really does hit home.

The NLC program will offer several more seminars in 2010, focusing on metropolitan, rural and collaborative leadership.

The program supports the Department of Homeland Security’s National Preparedness Goals of expanded regional collaboration, strengthened information sharing and interoperability communications.