SPARC Uses Training to Assist Storm Victims

Mar 2, 2017

Only days removed from attending a training course, members of a southern Illinois coalition put some of their knowledge to work to assist storm victims.
Representatives of the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition - or SPARC - took part in the Healthcare Coalition Response Leadership course last week at FEMA's Center for Domestic Preparedness in Alabama.

SPARC President Mike Maddox of Memorial Hospital in Carbondale says his group shared information during Tuesday night's severe weather to help identify resources.

"Myself and another person doing a lot of data collection and information collection trying to share that up to the regional and state authorities as well as among our coalition members, the EMA's, the health departments, and the hospitals, to try to make sure people kind of had an awareness of what was going on."

Maddox says local authorities did a great job that night of identifying resources, so there wasn't a need to find additional supplies elsewhere.

He says emergency responders learn from each disaster situation and they will be even better prepared for the next one.

Maddox says the concept of disaster response coalitions isn't new at the regional level, but is relatively new at the federal level. He says some of his executive committee members believe the training advanced their capabilities by at least a year.
"Had we not had a course like this, we would have probably still gotten there, but it would be quite some time. It's kind of like learning something on your own, being self-taught, versus having a subject matter expert, or a professor, or somebody be able to give you the information to really help you learn and grow from it."

SPARC covers the 24 southernmost counties in Illinois.