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Editorial: Training will pay off when disaster strikes

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opinion Rosemount, 55024

Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Any Boy Scout worth his merit badges will tell you about the importance of being prepared. So will emergency responders in Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Alabama.

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Communities in those states and a few others have been reminded of destruction a severe storm can cause. They were also reminded that such storms rarely pay attention to municipal boundaries. When disaster strikes, helping the people who are affected becomes everyone’s job.

That’s why training exercises like the one undertaken last week by emergency responders from Farmington, Rosemount and Lakeville are so important. They reinforce the things that need to happen when the unthinkable takes place. They also improve the chances that, when the time comes, departments that typically focus on their own communities are prepared to work together.

None of these departments works completely in isolation, obviously. Police departments from all three cities work together on large-scale enforcement efforts, among other things. Fire departments have mutual aid agreements that call for them to support each other when they need help.

This is something different, though. Disasters like those experienced recently in the South don’t happen often in Minnesota, but when they do they create whole new categories of challenges. It’s important that emergency workers keep fresh their skills in dealing with them.

Being prepared is important, and last week’s training efforts were a big part of that.

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