HATTIESBURG, MISS. - A disaster can happen at any moment in our society, and today members of the National Guard and Mississippi emergency management agency came together for a disaster exercise.
Beginning on Feb. 12, the National Guard, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security and other local emergency agencies began PATRIOT South 2018, a three day disaster readiness exercise.
“You never know, and you can’t plan emergencies,” Special Response Team Commander Dale Bell said. “So, be ready. Plan to be ready.”
During the exercise, members of the armed forces reenacted a hostile situation, trying to figure out the proper way to handle the scenario.
“In a natural disaster or a man-made disaster, response here in the United States is that we always work for civilians,” Deputy Director of Patriot South Exercise Sarah Ashley Nickloes said. “And we have to understand how we all work together, how the puzzle fits together, and how we can become one synergistic force so that we can really help our people here in the United States.”
One of the purposes of the exercise is to observe preparation levels of the National Guard’s emergency response management.
“So many times people don’t realize that the National Guard has two main purposes,” Nickloes said. “Not only do we fight overseas in what we call our contingency mission, but we also have a primary responsibility of responding to the homeland in case of a natural disaster.”
The program encourages relationships and cooperation between the National Guard and other crisis management departments.