Source: NorthFulton.com

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Forsyth County Sheriff’s CTOC team, 24 agencies trains at Stone Mountain

by Aldo Nahed

May 23, 2013

Members of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Command and Tactical Operations Center (CTOC) during a task exercise to prepare for a disaster.
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Being ready for an emergency situation requires being able to plan and prepare for the unimaginable.

For the third year, Forsyth County Sheriff's Office participated in a statewide disaster preparedness training.

The training, a three-day event beginning May 13, is put together by Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security and brought 24 federal, state and local agencies to Stone Mountain Park, said Sheriff's Office Lt. Jody Chapman.

The training used to be a daylong event held at Six Flags Over Georgia facility, but it has since grown.

This year, agencies set up their command centers at Stone Mountain and performed exercises that simulated man-made and natural disasters.

"It's not really scenarios," Chapman said. "These are tasks-driven exercises."

Chapman said tasks included communications training and coordination with other agencies.

Forsyth County and six members of its Command and Tactical Operations Center (CTOC) along with a Forsyth County 911 center employee were paired with DeKalb County, Canton's Fire Department and National Guard for its communication tasks. There were six teams, which spread throughout Stone Mountain.

Other counties involved in the training included Cherokee, Lumpkin and Cobb. Fire, sheriff and emergency management agencies participated.

"We did a lot of what we call, 'radio patching,'" Chapman said. "It's a really good chance to bring all these different agencies together."

Other tasks simulated air-to-ground communications in case of natural disasters and hostage situations during an emergency event.

"That's a real-life thing, you never know if someone could do something like that," Chapman said. "It's important that agencies attend these types of things because we meet other agencies face-to-face and it exposes needs and maybe radio reprogramming with other agencies.

"It's a well spent time and we come back with a list of things we need to do."