Emergency Management now a Type 3 FEMA response team

BY STAFF REPORTS
05/18/2017 08:15 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation Emergency Management Manager Jeremie Fisher, center, gets training with his response team regarding the use of the tribe’s new Mobile Command Center earlier this year. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — According to a Cherokee Nation press release, the tribe’s Emergency Management team is now equipped with the expertise and vehicles to respond to a Type 3-level Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster.

Only about 120 entities nationally have attained the Type 3 all-hazard incident management team status, and the CN is among the first tribe to attain it, Emergency Management Manager Jeremie Fisher said.

As defined by FEMA, a Type 3 team can respond within hours to a natural disaster, a public health emergency, a large-scale crash or another crisis within tribal boundaries.

The status also allows the team to remain active and on scene for several days to help coordinate with other agencies to respond to disasters.

“We are one of the first tribal Type 3 All-Hazard Incident Management Teams in the nation,” Fisher said. “Because we have combined our resources from within the Cherokee Nation, we can coordinate on-scene operations after natural disasters like a tornado or flood, or during other emergencies. Our team includes trained personnel from different departments and agencies who have a variety of expertise.”

According to the release, Fisher came to work for the CN from the Oklahoma State Department of Health where he worked as an emergency preparedness and response planner in charge of pandemic outbreak planning, preparedness training and public health response. The tribe’s Emergency Management team also consists of public health, land surveillance, data officials and marshals.

“The Cherokee Nation is a tribe on the forefront of disaster response by having the leadership, training, manpower and equipment in place for emergencies,” Marshal Shannon Buhl said. “We can better serve and protect our Cherokee people during a crisis by having this response team on the ground with an area to operate out of if the need should arise.”

The Emergency Management department uses a new 36-foot mobile command center, which was purchased from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant in the past year.

It is equipped with satellite communications and Wi-Fi. It can be used for drone aerial surveillance, office space to run operations and space to coordinate logistics with other agencies such as Red Cross.

The Mobile Command Center was first used in March when an EF-1 tornado touched down in Greasy in Adair County and destroyed ball fields and a community activity center and did damage to some tribal citizens’ homes. It served as a hub for volunteers to help with clean up, meet with the Red Cross and survey the area.

The U.S. Fire Administration, which officials say currently tracks more than 120 teams total across the country, including the CN, manages FEMA’s Type 3 program. The federal program offers training assistance and a mentorship program for teams seeking Type 3 status.

For more information about Emergency Management or to download emergency preparedness tips, visit http://www.cherokee.org/Our-Government/Emergency-Management or call 918-453-5000.

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