On August 2 Douglas Fire Department Chief Mario Novoa attended the Arizona/Sonora emergency preparedness task force meeting in Agua Prieta, Sonora.
The two workgroups addressed public health and environmental issues in their respective areas.
The workgroups are made up of an assortment of federal, state, and local officials from the U.S. and Mexico, non-government organizations, and the private sector.
They meet to coordinate activities and support the efforts of local task forces; identify and prioritize regional environmental issues; recommend border-wide issues for the policy forum and border-wide workgroups and work with Border 2020 entities to address these issues.
Each regional work-group has one state and one federal co-chair from each country.
These four groups also receive support from the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) through Border Infrastructure Projects.
The Aug. 2 meeting included representatives from Arizona Department of Emergency Management, Cochise County Emergency Management, Santa Cruz County Emergency Management, San Luis Rio Colorado, Rio Rico, Douglas, Agua Prieta, Cananea, Santa Ana, Nacozari, Hermosillo and Nogales Sonora.
The Douglas fire department has been very active in assisting Agua Prieta in obtaining training and equipment for their public safety agencies and surrounding areas.
This equipment and training will help alleviate emergency situations in Mexico before they become an issue for the United States and vice versa.
Both agencies are able to assist each other and have assisted each other with equipment, manpower and consulting.
A perfect example of the partnership that has developed with these two cities was the train derailment in Naco several weeks ago where several cars carrying sulphuric acid flipped over.
“It’s all about partnerships and knowing each other from preparedness meetings and training's and not at an emergency scene,” Novoa said. “This way emergency incidents are able to be handled in the most efficient, and consistent manner possible.”
The next meeting will be held in October in Rocky Point.