Local leaders participate in disaster preparedness workshop

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason (right) and Tazewell County EMA Director Dawn Cook (left) spoke Tuesday at the workshop hosted at Illinois Wesleyan University. (Neil Doyle/WJBC)


By Neil Doyle

BLOOMINGTON – Just over six years ago a tornado rolled through central Illinois and damaged the city of Washington. To learn from that experience, several elected leaders and officials from the Twin-Cities participated in a disaster preparedness and response workshop.

Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason was at the time the city manager of Washington when the tornado hit in November 2013. Gleason and Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency Director Dawn Cook spoke about the disaster response and recovery efforts in the wake of the storm.

Some key points were building a communications team, working with different agencies to restore the area and establishing a local 501(c)(3) for donations.

“If you look in this room there are some very influential and high profile individuals so it’s critical these people have a level of understanding of what is going to occur when any type of disaster happens,” said Gleason.

IEMA Deputy Director Scott Swinford

Illinois Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Scott Swinford attended the event.

“IEMA constantly works with local emergency managers, so today is a special opportunity because these local leaders and officials get to learn the challenges emergency managers face,” Swinford said.

The workshop included FEMA’s class on incident management for senior officials and a tornado tabletop exercise.

Neil Doyle can be reached at neil.doyle@cumulus.com




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