Central Indiana health and safety leaders say they need more consistent funding for emergency preparedness.
Indiana hospitals and police and fire agencies coordinate their emergency response operations and drills through a public-private partnership dubbed the “MESH” coalition. MESH CEO Chad Priest says the coalition gets some funding, but it’s inconsistent.
“The problem is if you’re trying to build long-term sustainable programs, it’s almost impossible with variations in funding,” Priest testified Tuesday at a congressional field hearing in Carmel. “So, for example, in central Indiana, we’ve seen our program go up, go down, disappear and come back.”
Reps. Susan Brooks and Jackie Walorski as well as Senator Joe Donnelly attended the hearing. Brooks says even though most drills and planning focus on terrorist threats, Indiana has shown the same preparation and coordination during other kinds of disasters.
“From the Henryville tornadoes to the Richmond Hill bombing to what happened at the State Fair, we have had a number of incidents in Indiana, and we have watched not only the professionals who are trained but the volunteers and the neighbors and the people who come out help save lives as well,” says Brooks, who chairs the House Emergency Preparedness Subcommittee.