The South Central Healthcare Coalition hosted an exercise that gathered emergency management officials, public information officers, law enforcement, area hospitals, and other officials to practice the steps they’d take following an emergency.

Coordinator Eric Weller said they’ve hosted some basic training sessions on the topic in the past but, “This really is the next level in really putting the pen to the paper and putting news releases together, working with other news media outlets like Radio Mankato, and really figuring out who is going to be that spokesperson and, more importantly, what are they going to say?”

Because natural disasters and infrastructure emergencies often impact multiple agencies and organizations, Weller said a regional approach to the workshop makes sense. “How do we work together so we have a coordinated and collaborated response,” he explained.

Weller said there are many scenarios in which this training may be put to use, “Whether it was the tornadoes that went through last week, the flooding from earlier this year, snowstorms in the winter, a public health outbreak – whether its measles or TB – there’s always events going on and we have to have information to give to the public and share within our organizations.”

The training included a basic review of the process, creating a routine for getting the necessary information out to the organizations that should have it, improving strategies for working with area media outlets, and also the use of social media in such situations.