RealNews

First responders see scarcity of experts

Local and national homeland security exercises have shown that people will be one of the most critical and scarcest resources for first responders, particularly in the technical and command areas, during an actual incident, officials told Congress this week. Almost a year after the TopOff 2 exercise in Washington state and Illinois, and less than a year before the next national-level exercise kicks off in New Jersey and Connecticut, state, local and federal officials are still working on implementing new systems and policies that were lacking in the multihazard exercise. TopOff is short for Top Officials, and although nearly 400 smaller, more focused exercises have been conducted nationwide, the TopOff exercises are designed to address a far larger scale, said Corey Gruber, associate director of the Homeland Security Department’s newly-renamed Office of State and Local Coordination and Preparedness, who oversees the TopOff exercises. Full Story

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