Plans for Lawrence Co. disaster training facility move forward - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Plans for Lawrence Co. disaster training facility move forward

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) -

The Walnut Ridge Airport Commission voted Monday night to continue moving forward with disaster training facility.

The facility will provide its students with real-life scenarios focused on disaster situations.

The plans for the project call for two campuses, one at the Walnut Ridge Airport and the other located in Imboden.

Dr. Deborah Persell with the Regional Center for Disaster Preparedness Education said each location will provide different types of situations.

“The one that we're talking about here at the airport will be very well developed and all these technical zones,” Persell said. “The one in Imboden will be more field kinds of exercises, wilderness, more search and rescue in an environment that's not within confined spaces.”

She said early plans for the airport location show situations including earthquakes, flooding and farm accidents.

Persell said she was very excited with the commission’s decision and humbled to hear so much support from officials in Lawrence County.

She said they will now have to wait until the land lease agreements are signed and then she will begin to find funding for the project.

Persell was unsure how much the project would cost and said she would not have a specific number until plans are completely drawn up.

In her presentation to the commission, Persell explained that groups currently have to travel outside of the state to take part in disaster scenarios.

With these training zones, they will be able to stay in Arkansas.

Walnut Ridge Fire Chief Frank Owens explained at the meeting that this facility would attract many students into the county, which could also attract more business into the area.

Arkansas State University released a statement Monday concerning the disaster training facility.

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