East Texas has a pretty good track record when it comes to handling a regional emergency. The Columbia disaster and hurricanes Katrina and Rita are good examples. But performance can always be improved. For the next two days county commissioners to fire fighters will undergo intermediate National Incident Management System Training, known now as 'NIMS'.
The trainer is Bob Koenig, the state's incident management director for the Texas Forest Service. Koenig explained, " This training is designed to just really hone their skills that they've already practiced to bring multiple disciplines together so that in the face of disaster they know where those resources are."
For the emergency workers taking incident management training much of the information comes with their job. But it won't be wasted time. The regional organization is designed to improve your protection during a time of need. "Appleby Volunteer Fire Department took it serious right up front," said the department's chief, Tim Hooper. And the major reason why is NIMS training is a requirement before receiving any of the money that buys fire trucks and other needed equipment which protects you and your property. Hooper said, " We knew right then we didn't want to get in the situation where we didn't qualify for any of that grant money because we relied on that pretty heavily over the last 5 years. "