Public transportation providers in the Treasure Valley and southeastern Idaho will be better prepared to identify and respond to terrorist threats or natural disasters as a result of extensive training arranged by the Idaho Transportation Department's Division of Public Transportation.
Communique USA, Inc., a Colorado-based organization specializing in emergency preparedness, will conduct two-day training sessions next week for public transportation providers and assist in the development of safety and security plans. Administrative-level sessions are planned Monday and Tuesday (Aug. 29, 30) in Nampa and Thursday, Friday (Sept. 1, 2) in Pocatello.
Training is designed to help each of the providers meet a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) initiative to have a Safety and Emergency Preparedness Plan (SEPP) by the end of 2006.
Topics include threat and vulnerability assessments, organizational capability assessments, interagency coordination, training and exercise planning, and resource identification.
The sessions are part of a statewide effort to prepare transportation providers to recognize potential threats and develop plans for responding to emergencies. The training addresses more than terrorist attacks, explains Larry Falkner, administrator of ITDs Division of Public Transportation. It also helps providers respond to natural disasters such as floods and fires, community emergencies and operational safety issues.
"Our intent is to have transportation providers throughout the state well prepared to address disasters or emergencies through advance planning, Falkner says. "We are very concerned about the security of our public transportation system and the safety of Idahoans who take advantage of the system."
Communique USA launched the statewide series in July with sessions in St. Maries and Twin Falls.
Responses to the sessions have been favorable, and many attendees requested additional training and technical assistance, says Gary Gleason of Communique.
The recent terrorist bombing of the metro system in London, followed by the Department of Homeland Security warning of possible terrorist attacks on U.S. transit systems this summer, highlight the importance of training and technical assistance in establishing safety and security plans.
Communique consultants also will work with public transportation providers to develop customized plans to meet the FTA initiative.