Norwalk will send about 50 senior and middle managers to a week-long disaster-training exercise next year at the Texas A&M Extension Service training center in College Station, Texas.
Norwalk was selected to participate in the training by Metro-North Railroad and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to partner in a week-long Disaster Incident Management Training Program. The exercise is designed to offer participants insight and practical experience into managing emergencies, as well as honing skills to respond to large-scale weapons of mass destruction, terrorism and other hazards.
The Norwalk managers will join those from Metro-North, the MTA, state agencies and regional agencies for the training, which is funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant awarded to the New York/New Jersey Port Authority.
The program will be developed with TEEX trainers during November, which will include a visit to Norwalk to make the disaster scenario Norwalk-specific The training will take place in Texas in the spring, although the dates have not been set.
Denis McCarthy, Norwalk's fire chief and emergency management director, said in a statement: "We welcome the opportunity to work with Metro-North and Connecticut Department of Transportation to improve our local emergency management team and to be better prepared to respond to transportation emergencies."
McCarthy noted that Norwalk hosted a full-scale exercise in 2006 with more than 300 participants from local, state and federal agencies. "These emergencies are very complex and challenging to manage. It is only though these complex events that we are able test, practice and improve our capabilities," he said.
Mayor Richard Moccia commented that "to be selected by Metro-North and MTA out of all the communities they serve is a testament to the work that has been done in Norwalk to develop our very comprehensive emergency management team. While the hurricanes and winter storms have provided real-world experience in response and recovery, the TEEX training allows our team to be stretched by training exercises for emergencies that we need to continually prepare for."
The Police Department, according to Chief Tom Kulhawik, "works daily with our counterparts at MTA and MNRR, but this training adds a degree of complexity in incident management that we need to be better prepared for major transportation and terrorist events"