How local law enforcement agencies handle emergency situations - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

How local law enforcement agencies handle emergency situations

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(07/20/12) - Friday's shooting in Colorado is sparking discussion about how law enforcement agencies handle emergency situations in Mid-Michigan.

Local emergency crews say training and taking a proactive approach are the only ways to prepare for disasters.

Tom McIntyre, the Saginaw County 911 executive director, says his office received 390,000 calls last year.

His crews are prepared to handle major emergencies such as shootings and deadly car accidents by having a strong communication system with other law enforcement agencies.

The Saginaw County 911 Center upgraded to the state radio system three years ago. That system makes it much easier to communicate with agencies such as the police or sheriff's departments during disasters.

"We were able to put people all on the common channels so they could all talk in the different groups, even though they came from medical, police. We have multiple channels, but when you have to put everybody together when there's an incident, whether it's in on municipality or another shooting, robberies. Anything else that goes along, it's nice that they have the communication because obviously communication is important," McIntyre said.

The director of operations at the Mobile Medical Response Center in Saginaw says training is the only way to prepare for emergencies like what took place in Colorado.

John Kustuch says every year, his team is responsible for participating in at least five drills. Those drills prepare his crews for real life circumstances; especially the ones that turn out to be deadly.

This year, MMR responders trained at Saginaw Valley State University, and they partnered with local hospitals. This helps them know exactly what to do during a casualty.

"Drills prepare us for what happens in real life. When we prepare for things like Triage, when you've practiced categorizing and moving patients in an coordinated manner, when we practice the incident command structure, that makes us stronger and better when real things happen in real life," Kustuch said.

MMR crews also partner with other agencies in the area.

McIntyre says when there is an emergency, the public can help by giving as much information as possible to dispatchers when they call 911.

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