Should a disaster on any scale occur in Pickerington or across Ohio in the future, area residents can be comforted with the knowledge two of the city's public safety dispatchers are certified to deal with it.
Pickerington Police staff members Brianne Dreisbach and Melissa Dawes-Bailey were among the first dispatchers in Ohio to be trained and fully certified as members of the Telecommunications Emergency Response Team, otherwise known as TERT.
They received the training the 2013 Ohio APCO & NENA Public Safety Conference in Sandusky, Ohio, in April.
Both dispatchers are now trained to be deployed to assist communications centers during disasters throughout the state.
Communication Supervisor Carolyn Sharp said TERT is administered on a "state-by-state basis" but Ohio is still in the process of implementing the program.
"Ohio is not 'deployment' ready," Sharp said.
"So that telecommunicators will be ready to respond as soon as the program is fully implemented, those from across the state must be trained and certified," she said.
She said the two dispatchers were informed by their instructor at the conference that they were among literally a handful of dispatchers in the state to first become certified as TERT team members.
Dreisbach and Dawes-Bailey will now be able to respond to any agencies "needing assistance during natural disasters and other extraordinary circumstances," Sharp said.
She said the two also participated in other important training classes at the conference, including coursework in dispatching, Amber Alert updates, human trafficking and "Survival Mindset" training.
"It's very worthwhile, Sharp said. "We try to send someone every other year.
"Our department always prides itself on training," she said.
Sharp said she expects the additional training will come in handy this summer, usually the busiest time of year for the Pickerington Police Department.
"Typically in the summer we have more calls, especially related to homes," Sharp said.
"The older kids are out of school, there are more evening calls and more special events.
"All these things create a lot more activity," Sharp said.