Area leaders to participate in emergency response training

More than 70 local leaders in government, law enforcement, utilities and emergency response will be in Emmitsburg, Md., next week for disaster training with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The sessions will culminate in a real-time disaster simulation in which the people who would be responding to disasters in Southern Nevada have a chance to practice their roles.

"You just jump right in with how you respond in that situation," said David Riggleman, communications director for the city of Las Vegas.

Las Vegas is sending the largest contingent: 42 employees as well as the new mayor, Carolyn Goodman. Federal funds will pay for the travel, training, lodging and meals.

Other participants are Clark County, Henderson, North Las Vegas, the Metropolitan Police Department, the local Red Cross, University Medical Center, the Southern Nevada Health District, NVEnergy, Southwest Gas, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the local offices of the FBI and the National Weather Service, and Nellis Air Force Base.

FEMA's 60-year-old Emergency Management Institute offers preparedness training in several areas. Recent participants include SeaTac International Airport in Washington state, San Diego County and Bismarck, N.D.

The sessions and simulations present emergencies that a community would face. Southern Nevada officials, Riggleman said, will be responding to a "disaster" that is unfolding in the Las Vegas area.