By Louis Sigalos, Robert Kenny, Todd Mitchell, Paul Coburn, and Doug Miller, Public Safety Outreach Team.
With an outreach and education mission, traveling via the long lonesome highway, covering two states in three days, five intrepid travelers set forth from the comfort of their offices on May 11, 2010. And now members of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) and the Enforcement Bureau have met with public safety officials in two more states that could be vulnerable during the upcoming hurricane season. We were also joined by a National Communications System (NCS) staff member. A similar outreach tour with our federal partners of the Gulf States in 2009 included stops in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and meetings with more than 350 public safety officials to hear their stories. Now, we have added the Atlantic Coast States of South Carolina and North Carolina.
In South Carolina, we learned that the biggest concerns are hurricanes, nuclear plant disasters, hazmat spills, AND earthquakes. In fact, that morning of May 12, residents in Charleston, SC experienced an earthquake that registered 2.8 on the Richter scale. The state sits on a fault line, and unfortunately projections do call for a much larger earthquake to occur in that region at some point according to scientists. We were also invited by South Carolina officials to participate in a major planning exercise being conducted in June and we learned that South Carolina has implemented a program called SC HEART that enlists hospital workers/HAM operators to provide back-up communications during emergencies.
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