Ukrainians learn about emergency centers
Just a couple of weeks removed from a visit to Corydon by two women from Yemen wanting to learn about American schools, a contingency of delegates from the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine came to town last Wednesday to visit the office of Harrison County Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Reas, the Harrison County Justice Center and Harrison County Hospital.
The Ukrainian visitors were brought here by the United States Agency for International Development, which is the sponsor and funder of the Community Connections Program. The World Affairs Council of Kentucky/Southern Indiana is the training organization selected to design and conduct the specified Community Connections Program, Matthew J. Madden, program manager of the World Affairs Council, said.
‘I thought the visit went really well,’ Reas said. ‘It was really interesting, and they asked a lot of questions about things we don’t even think about or take for granted. The group seemed to enjoy it.’
The Ukrainians, who were staying in America for 22 days, wanted to learn about emergency management techniques and strategies in a rural environment. The delegation of nine men and one woman all serve in various emergency personnel capacities in their country, ranging from canine search and rescue, forest firefighting, mountain rescues and civil defense.
Their first stop was at Reas’ office, where the EMA director explained his duties and how local police, fire and EMS personnel work together in emergency situations using hand-held radios, even when the radios are only designed to use either VHF, UHF or the 800 megahertz system.
Reas talked to the group about the recent search and rescue situation involving a man who drowned in a cistern while trying to rescue one of his dogs. He explained how responders used a grid system to try to locate the man and showed how satellite GPS capabilities can help pinpoint someone’s location if they use their cellular telephone.
One of the delegates asked about the role of women on the fire departments and whether they are allowed to work alongside men. A couple of eyebrows were raised when they were told, through an interpreter, that women do everything that their male counterparts do, whether it’s rendering aid as a first responder, fighting fires or rolling hoses.
When questioned about response time for ambulance service, Harrison County EMS Director Gary Kleeman told the group the time ranges from as little as five minutes in downtown Corydon, to 11 minutes in some areas, and even 30 minutes in the more rural, outlying areas.
Members of the group also inquired about funding for emergency departments and were surprised to learn about the amount of financial support provided to the county by the Horseshoe Southern Indiana casino, which is capped at $23 million a year.
‘We would like for them to adopt us,’ one of the men said.
The group was then transported to the justice center, where Harrison County Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick and Chief Joyce Deatrick took them on a tour of the jail and where Reas showed the dispatch center.
Dispatchers Rhonda McCrary and Beth Scott demonstrated how the E-911 system can pinpoint a caller’s location ‘ in this case, it was Reas, calling from inside the center ‘ to expedite the request for assistance. They also explained their other job duties while also taking phone calls.
The Ukrainians then were taken on a tour of Harrison County Hospital before returning to Louisville. They were to visit Appalachia on Thursday and Friday, Madden said.