MOBILE, Ala. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Mobile District teamed up with Joint Force Headquarters-Alabama to share emergency management response procedures Dec. 2 at the district headquarters in Mobile, Ala. The emergency management mission for both agencies routinely overlap and it is vital to work together to maximize readiness and ensure interoperability during a crisis.
“It is critical for the (Army) Corps of Engineers to have relationship with state agencies,” said USACE Mobile District Commander Col. James DeLapp, “and the National Guard is largely responsible for state emergencies, so we will continue to work to build that relationship in the future.”
Hubert “Bo” Ansley, chief of emergency management for USACE Mobile, echoed similar sentiments and explained why it is so important for USACE to maintain a working relationship with the National Guard.
“Our old saying is make a friend, before you need a friend,” said Ansley. “A lot of times you may come across (the National Guard) in a contingency environment, and by training together they can get a good idea of what we are doing and we get an idea of what they are doing as well.”
The National Guardsmen/women in attendance for the training were equally excited about the opportunity to conduct combined training to take back lessons learned and look for areas to reduce the time it takes to respond to an emergency situation.
“We do this annually,” explained Col. Alan Craig Cranford, from the National Guard Joint Force Headquarters-Alabama. “The whole point of trying to get out and work with partners such as the (Army) Corps of Engineers is to have a quicker response in the time of a natural disaster to protect the citizens of Alabama.”
To ensure the training hit home with their audience, USACE Mobile tailored their brief to potential crisis situations that could occur in the state of Alabama.
“We focused primarily on the vulnerabilities that the state of Alabama might have and we also went over the different types of civil authorities (and capabilities) that we have for the whole life-cycle of emergency management,” said Ansley. The training included areas such as tornados floods, hurricanes, ice storms, and the new Madrid earthquake scenario and the types of impacts we may have from that.”
“I think it was good getting an overview because some of us are new that were not here last year,” said Cranford, but it was also good to get some of the specifics such as the model that was shown. It would certainly be a good tool for us in a national disaster.”