DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Emergency responders from around the state will have two opportunities to learn firsthand how officials from Minneapolis handled a horrific bridge collapse there on Aug. 1, 2007, Piscataquis County commissioners learned Tuesday.
Rocco Forte, director of emergency preparedness in the Minnesota city, will speak next month in Belfast and Dover-Foxcroft.
His hosts will be the Waldo and Piscataquis counties’ emergency management agencies as well as the Dover-Foxcroft Police Department.
Sessions are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, at Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft.
Tom Iverson Jr., Piscataquis County EMA director, told the commissioners that Forte will speak on the bridge collapse, the emergency preparedness, the value of planning, shortcomings in response capabilities, equipment and training needs, and communications.
The sessions are geared for hospital workers, police, firefighters, EMA officials and emergency medical services agencies.
Iverson also reported that his office had received a $40,000 grant to employ a part-time county planner who will work to update the county’s mitigation plan and will work with town officials on local plans.
The grant, which was approved by commissioners Tuesday, will pay the salary and benefits. The position will be eliminated when the money is gone.
Tom Capraro of the local EMA office advised the commissioners that a $300,000 Department of Homeland Security grant awarded to the county to upgrade radio equipment has been set aside pending an independent review of the county’s needs.
The money will be used for new consoles, new dispatching equipment and repeaters, among other items identified in the review.