20 years after 9/11, region remains steadfast in cooperative efforts to be better prepared

The region works together through exercises to prepare.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, forever changed how communities prepare for and work to prevent intentional terrorist attacks and other emergencies. In response to the tragedy, local agencies committed to working together through the Regional Homeland Security Coordinating Committee to strengthen relationships and make investments.

Through the committee, the Kansas City region engages a broad coalition of partners who work collaboratively to improve our preparedness efforts. These partners include professionals from law enforcement, fire and EMS, public health, hospitals, emergency management, elected leaders, private partners and community organizations through the Community Disaster Resiliency Network, and volunteers. Coalition partners continually learn about changing threats and adapt as necessary by sharing plans, training personnel and conducting exercises together. This cooperation allows our region to enhance capabilities far beyond what a single organization or local government could do alone.

Here are a few examples of the work that’s happened across the region since 2001:

  • Improved communications: The radio communication capability across the region has been significantly improved over the past 20 years, which puts agencies in a stronger position to respond.
  • Enhanced partnerships: The region’s emergency operations centers and dispatch centers are now better connected, allowing them to support one another more effectively.
  • Information sharing: The region has increased its level of interagency communications, analysis and information sharing. This helps us anticipate and counter terrorism, natural disasters and other threats.
  • Specialized response teams: Since 2001, the region has put in place specialized response teams, which include hazmat teams, technical rescue teams, explosive ordinance response teams, enhanced tactical teams and a regional mass fatality team, to respond to threats anywhere in the region. The teams train and exercise together so they are more seamlessly able to support one another.
  • Improved pre-hospital care communications: The Kansas City region has made investments to enhance communication and coordination between paramedics and health care facilities to ensure timely and appropriate pre-hospital care.
  • Enhanced public engagement: Coalition partners continue to engage the public about threat risks and opportunities to help protect themselves, their neighbors and their communities. Most local jurisdictions have implemented mass notification systems to help residents stay informed. Visit PrepareMetroKC.org for more information.

Many communities across the region will be commemorating Sept. 11. Visit PrepareMetroKC.org for a list of local events. Or check your city or county website to learn more.