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A-State signs leases for disaster training sites in Walnut Ridge, Imboden

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Johnathan Reaves, KASU News

Arkansas State University has signed leases with the cities of Walnut Ridge and Imboden for the place of facilities that would house disaster preparedness training. 

The leases are for 50 years.  Both locations would support the latest training in response for students, as well as first responders and other emergency managers from across the nation.  Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp.

“I don’t think we have a grasp of the total impact this will mean for the area,” says Snapp.  “You are looking at construction crews staying in the area, and then attendees that will attend the trainings that will be staying with us and shopping and eating in our area.  This kind of training will bring people from all over the central United States.”

Imboden Mayor Chris Jones tells KASU news this program will offer the kind of training that most emergency managers and first responders have to travel across the country to receive.

“There are numerous entities in parts of the state that have to travel to get the kind of training that will be offered here,” says Jones.  “We are excited about what will happen when these facilities are up and running.”

Water rescues, natural disasters, and high voltage training for utilities will be offered.  The facilities will be constructed when grant money and other funds are available for construction.  

Professor of disaster management and emergency preparedness at Arkansas State University is Dr. Deborah Persell.  She says she envisions the program to provide training and education to all populations of the state.

“I envision this being something that could provide training and education to at-risk populations.  I could see this being something that would be multi-disciplinary, and getting everyone involved in disaster preparedness.”

Both facilities are expected to serve between 50 and 200 people a week.  Students, first responders and emergency responders from across the nation are expected to participate in the training.