Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

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New mayor takes part in training for managing emergencies

If a bomb exploded near the Hoover Dam or a major earthquake sent buildings crumbling to the ground, Las Vegas officials have a plan.

Government and business leaders from southern Nevada spent last week holed up on a college campus in Maryland running over various disaster scenarios, taking notes on how to improve their emergency management response.

Seventy-two people representing groups like the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, Metro Police, Nevada Energy, Boyd gaming and more spent five days living in dorm rooms while participating in an intensive training session hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We were in classrooms and lecture halls with a lot of people with great knowledge of disaster preparation teaching us … with interactive classes," Mayor Carolyn Goodman said at her press conference Thursday morning.

The training included a mock-terrorist attack that involved bombs going off at the Hoover Dam, the Strip and downtown Las Vegas. The attendees were broken up into groups and worked on field-preparedness, emergency communications and recovery after the disaster.

Other, more likely, natural disasters like major floods or earthquakes were also covered throughout the week.

The focus was on practicing a coordinated response amongst all the different agencies from firefighters and police to hospitals and utility companies, Goodman said.

Although Las Vegas already has an emergency management plan in place, the training did bring up new ideas to help refine the plan, emergency management officer Carolyn Levering said.

One change will be setting up central locations to house multiple agencies involved in responding to the crisis to improve communication and coordination, Levering said.

"Overall, as a result of this experience our responders are people who are … better prepared assist and react in our community to any type of emergency," she said.

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