February 27, 2019Leavenworth Marshal Jim Uland is serving as chair of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security District 10 Planning Council, having been nominated and elected by his peers on the 12-county board.
Uland, who also has served as the school resource officer at Crawford County High School since September, is in his third year on the DPC, having been appointed by the Crawford County Board of Commissioners.
"Primarily, the role of chairman is just guiding the discussion," he said, noting the DPC just recently switched from meeting monthly to meeting quarterly at the Lynnville Volunteer Fire Department.
District 10 also includes Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh and Warrick counties, with each county having three representatives. Besides the board of commissioners' appointment, each counties' Emergency Management Agency director and a representative from its largest town or city is included.
"So, for us, it's Milltown, that's our largest town, and (Milltown Police Chief) Ray Saylor is our representative," Uland said.
However, instead of 36 members, the DPC features 37. Whereas the DPC used to include only police, fire, EMA and emergency medical services representatives, it now has a health care coalition member.
"For any disaster, whatever its root, you end up with people who need medical attention," Uland said. "You have first responders that get there first, you have ambulances that evacuate, but they always end up at the hospital, right? So, it was kind of silly to do all this planning and not involve the hospital because they have to be prepared for the influx of patients."
As chairman, Uland works with the members, including speaking individually with the 12 EMA directors, including Crawford County's Don Burnham, to get a sense of what they would like the DPC to discuss.
"For example, we've decided that in May we're going to have a communications exercise," he said.
The meeting that month will be extended by an hour, and each member will be asked to bring their radio assets so a state communications specialist can guide them through how to use their radios to talk regionally and state-wide.
"The outcome of that would be that each county, like through the EMA director, we should come back here and we should do an exercise like that within our county to make sure Leavenworth Fire and English Fire and the ambulance service, they all know how to do that with the radio systems, how to work when they're out of their home district," Uland said.
Besides training, the DPC, through the Department of Homeland Security, is tasked with keeping tabs on the equipment each county has so that, in the event of an emergency, whether it be natural like a flood or tornado or man-made such as a hazardous materials spill or school shooting, resources can be easily sent to where they are needed, Uland said.
"It could be anything that requires a large number of resources quickly," he said.
While state officials, including from DHS, attend DPC meetings throughout Indiana, in part to share information about new programs, Uland, as chairman, is responsible for providing an updated equipment inventory and minutes from the meetings.
"So that they're kept up to date on the issues that we're having as a district and then they can take it up the chain where they work and try to get us resources, training, funding, whatever it is we're looking for," he said.
In addition to equipment and training, the DPC is tasked with holding exercises so that it can determine its readiness for an emergency.
Exercises are typically held on the state and regional levels. For instance, trainings involving three districts — usually those adjacent to one another — are routinely held at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville.
"Last year, it was (Districts) 8, 9 and 10," Uland said. "We'll get together and, as three districts, we'll go and spend a week up there. They'll have a scenario for us, like a train derailed and hydrogen gas was released. … It could be a plane crash or an earthquake, but the state Homeland Security folks will oversee that exercise."
In addition, counties, through their Local Emergency Planning Council, will run through tabletop exercises, where the planning for a disaster takes place, Uland said. He added that tabletop exercises also are incorporated at the DPC level.
"It's a building process. You lead up to actually deploying all your resources at once, which is what we do at Muscatatuck," he said.
Following the large-scale exercises, participants are debriefed as part of an after-action review to learn what worked and what didn't, Uland said.
"It's really an exercise to see if all the assets, the equipment that we have when we deployed, does it work and if the people know how to work it," he said.
Uland's term as chairman runs through the remainder of 2019.