Disaster Teams Huddle

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The regional response teams from Gulfport in the south to Tupelo in the north part of Mississippi and all points in between were in Meridian to learn from each other.

"With the regional response team concept, you take all these little departments, bring them together and give them the additional resources from the surrounding areas so they can respond to a larger event and respond properly and have the proper training," said Tom McAllister of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. "These meetings are designed to bring these people together, get everybody to play on the same sheet of music and everybody, basically, get to know everybody, get to know what the resources are and bring the resources together into one good solid team."

McAllister said these teams will be trained to respond to many different disasters.

Bunky Partridge, who directs the rapid response program in this region, said these meetings could result in increased use of the Meridian training facility.

"We have talked with the Office of Domestic Preparedness bringing training in here that we can bring all 10 teams to this area to train here. What's so unique about our facility is that we can offer them multiple discipline. We can do fire and police and public works and EMS right here at this facility," said training facility director Bunky Partridge.

Each of the 10 Homeland Security regions in Mississippi have received grants of $250,000 for their respective operations.