In the wake of the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombing, the President of the United States signed Executive Order PDD-39 which directed all public safety agencies to work cooperative in times of domestic terrorism. The order also called for the FBI to serve as the lead law enforcement agency in these cases and for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to serve as the lead agency for the consequence management side of the incident. FEMA has issued directives to have the state and local Emergency Management Agencies provide the immediate response in these events with FEMA support.
While many people ask, “Terrorism, in Lima?” The answer unfortunately has to be “it could happen here”. The Allen County EMA has been aggressive in this area sending as many first responders as possible to special training in the area of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), that is chemical, ordnance, biological, and radiological weapons.
Allen County has taken the lead in the northwest Ohio region as far as the number of trained personnel available to respond to a WMD incident in our area. That training is continuing and increasing as the Allen County EMA strives to ensure that as many law enforcement, fire, and medical personnel as possible receive the highest level of training necessary.
Currently a special task force is operating in Allen County consisting of law enforcement, fire, health, medical, hospital, elected leaders and emergency management to develop a comprehensive Terrorism/WMD Response Plan. Local officials are working together on an ongoing basis with their state and federal counterparts to make the Allen County plan a model for other communities to follow in their domestic preparedness plans.