Maury County Enhances Emergency Preparedness with All Hazards Incident Management Team Exercise

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 | 11:00am

Nashville, TN – In February 2024, Maury County participated in an All-Hazards Incident Management Team (AHIMT) exercise in collaboration with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the City of Columbia, and multiple statewide and local partners focusing on tornado response and recovery. This proactive initiative aimed to bolster the team and county’s preparedness and response capabilities ahead of the tornado season.

The exercise, conducted just weeks before the devastating tornadoes of May 8-9, 2024, provided Maury County leadership with critical insights and practical experience in managing severe weather incidents. Participants from numerous county and local departments, emergency services, and partner agencies engaged in a series of realistic scenarios designed to test and enhance their coordination, communication, incident management, and decision-making skills.

“Engaging in this comprehensive exercise was invaluable,” said Maury County Mayor Sheila Butt. “It allowed our team to identify strengths and areas for improvement in a controlled environment, ensuring we are better prepared to protect our community in the event of a real tornado.”

City of Columbia Mayor Chaz Molder also emphasized the importance of the exercise, stating, “The AHIMT exercise was an essential step in strengthening our city’s emergency response framework. It provided us with a clearer understanding of how to manage tornado-related emergencies and reinforced the necessity of coordinated efforts to protect our residents.”

During the exercise, participants navigated simulated emergency operations, including initial response efforts, damage assessment, resource allocation, debris management, volunteer coordination, public information dissemination, and inter-agency collaboration. This hands-on experience equipped Maury County officials with a deeper understanding of the protocols and procedures necessary to manage an effective disaster response.

“The timing of this exercise could not have been more critical,” remarked Maury County Emergency Management Director, Jeff Hardy. “The knowledge and experience gained directly influenced our real-world response efforts, enabling us to address the tornadoes that followed more efficiently and effectively.”

The collaboration with TEMA and the All-Hazards Incident Management Team program underscores Maury County’s commitment to enhancing its emergency management capabilities. The exercise is part of a broader strategy to integrate advanced training and preparedness measures to safeguard residents and infrastructure from natural disasters and emergencies.

“The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is dedicated to supporting local jurisdictions as they prepare and bolster their readiness and crisis management capabilities,” stated TEMA Director Patrick C. Sheehan. “Maury County’s and the City of Columbia’s proactive approach and participation in the AHIMT exercise demonstrates leadership commitment and a steadfast resolve to community resilience.”

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency recognizes the incredible value in the development of local and state partnerships, and the AHIMT exercise provides an opportunity to develop those relationships and capabilities. With local administrators, emergency management personnel, and state AHIMT members working together, the state can continue to strengthen our emergency readiness.