Perdido getting Dollar General
Published 8:58 pm Monday, March 30, 2009
By By MaryClaire Foster
For the first time ever on a federally recognized Indian reservation, a homeland security exercise took place on Thursday at the Poarch Band of Creek Indians; Pow Wow grounds.
The exercise is intended to test both the reaction and interaction of first responders in the event of a terrorist attack or disaster.
The exercise itself is not unique; similar ones are carried out once yearly in all areas of the state by the Alabama Army National Guard, and weekly by the Center for National Response throughout the country. What made this event unique was not only it being the first time ever to take place on sovereign land, but, also, because of the different protocol in place on sovereign land.
Alabama Director of Homeland Security Jim Walker said he believes the state has partnered well with the Tribe and Thursday’s exercise was part of building that relationship to benefit all citizens of the state.
Planning for the exercise, code named “Dragon Slayer” began in July of last year. Ron Jones, exercise planner for the Center for National Response, developed a script for the event that centered on the premise of a chemical attack implemented by a crop duster dropping an unknown substance on the reservation during the Thanksgiving Pow Wow.
Jones added that the opportunity allows for important face time for the different agencies.
April Sells, Tribal Emergency Management Director for the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, said the exercise would prove to be beneficial to both the Poarch community as well as other tribes.
Lt. Col. Cindy Bachus, Public Information Officer with the Alabama Army National Guard, said that the event went well and helped to better connect the multiple agencies involved.
The Poarch Creek fire and police departments, health department, local hospitals and ambulance services joined with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Indian Health Service, Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Emergency Management Agency and other state agencies and participated in the exercise.