Rural first responders participating in an event security training course at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset got a surprise visit this morning from U.S. Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05).
Rogers, in Somerset on a short break from Congress, stopped by The Center on Monday to welcome rural first responders and event security planners to a two-day management-level training course on event security.
The instructor-led course, presented by Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium (RDPC) and The Center, helps participants recognize and plan adequate strategies and security measures to prevent or mitigate security incidents related to planned public events.
Rogers used the opportunity to stress the need for such training and preparedness, particularly in rural areas of the country.
“I’m reminded just in the last few weeks of the two terrorists arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky … close to home,” Rogers said. “No one expected them to be there, (which is) really a rural part of the country if you consider the larger cities. So we have got to be on the lookout.”
Rogers, serving Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District since 1981, has long advocated for training programs like this one for the nation’s rural first responders, who are on the frontlines of protecting their home communities. He was tapped in 2003 to lead the newly established subcommittee on Homeland Security, where he fought repeatedly to see that first responders received the resources needed to ensure the nation’s security.
The event security course, “MGT 335: Event Planning for Public Safety Professionals,” is part of a series of training U.S. Department of Homeland Security-certified courses offered by RDPC and its strategic and academic partners across the nation to provide much-needed resources for small and rural first responders to protect and keep their communities safe.
Retired firefighter Mike Fitzpatrick of Frankfort said he took the course to learn how to respond more efficiently to incidents involving the public. Fitzpatrick, who works with a management team that responds to manmade disasters, also helped with the cleanup efforts following the massive BP oil spill last spring and summer.
“I’ve already learned things today that would have improved our response in the Gulf Coast,” Fitzpatrick said.
This is the first of two in-house training courses to be presented this week by RDPC and The Center. A public awareness-level course on media response is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., at The Center. The media course will equip first responders with the skills and knowledge to quickly adapt to the role of a public information officer, if and when needed, to communicate with the public through the media.
All courses are presented tuition-free to participants.
As a strategic partner in the RDPC, The Center is responsible for the design, development and continued support of the RDPC web presence, online training registration, reservation and evaluation reporting capabilities, learning management systems, and marketing of course offerings. The Center has become a trusted partner to the RDPC and its academic partners by providing an opportunity to inject cutting-edge technology into the RDPC training delivery and development process.