Iowans who’d like to feel more confident about terrorism preparedness can now get training in emergency response from the people who train first responders. Michel Bose is clinical coordinator for the Iowa Western Community College E-M-S training program. She says this’ll be open to all laypersons: the housewife — or domestic engineer, as some prefer to say nowadays — or anyone off the street is welcome to come. The U.S. Department of Justice is funding the training, which is free to anyone who wants to sign up. It’s not that planners think there might be airliners crashing into landmarks in Iowa, Bose explains, but the first part of the class will help alert people to what might constitute a terrorist situation. It’s not all al-Qaeda, she says; there are other groups that’ll be mentioned in the first class, letting people know just what terrorism is. She mentions vandalism, abortion-clinic bombing or illegal actions by animal-rights groups as examples of possible terrorist acts people may have to deal with. Other schools are offering or considering similar programs, and Bose says folks may not know how likely they are to be a target of terrorism, like the area Iowa Western serves in Pottawattamie County. There are railroads there, two major interstate highways, a nuclear power plant north of Omaha just across the Missouri River, and SAC Air Force Base south of Omaha in Bellevue, Nebraska. Bose says they’re presenting it in three sessions. Session one is called Terrorism in Perspective, Session Two is titled Pro-Active Preparedness for Terrorism Prevention, and the final part of the class is planning for workplace emergencies. It’s not a C-P-R class, but more about knowing how to work together.Having an Incident Commander is an important part of any response, she says, one person to go to for reporting things, because knowing who to contact and who does various jobs can make things go more smoothly. Organizing the response is part of the training — incident command, who to report your information to, where first-aid supplies are kept and even doing fire drills.
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