Lt. Kent Lukach talks to city and county employees Thursday during a class on awareness of mass destruction. Lukach demonstrated how a number of weapons could be used. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo
A gunshot pierced the silence in the James W. Warren Citizens Center Thursday, echoing off the walls and causing many of those sitting in the auditorium to jump in surprise.
City and county employees have been getting lessons in awareness of weapons of mass destruction recently, in an effort to prepare them should a terrorist incident ever happen here.
The classes are designed to teach employees to think outside the box, said Susan Spake, director of Emergency Management.
She hopes the classes will lead employees to be more observant when going about their daily routines and jobs.
That can mean paramedics paying extra attention when responding to ordinary sick calls or sanitation workers taking careful note of anything unusual they pick up, she said.
â€œA lot of people who do these crimes, they empty their trash like everybody else,â€ Spake said.
Lt. Kent Lukach with the Lincolnton Police Department and 1st Sgt. Doug Norwood with the Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office headed up the training.
Lukach said the goal of the program is to increase the knowledge of people who may be confronted with the challenge created if a terrorist incident involved the use of nuclear, biological, explosive or chemical weapons.
â€œYou never think it can or will happen here in our city, but it could,â€ Lukach said. â€œThat is why we are going to be ready and prepared. We are training all of the city employees, from the city of Lincolntonâ€™s meter readers to the city manager.â€
This is the first time the training has been offered in Lincoln County, Spake said.
â€œThis is the first time we had training that we felt was needed across the board,â€ she said.
Lukach said goals of the class included:
Â· Recognizing signs of a nuclear, biological or chemical poisoning.
Â· Understanding and recognizing types of dissemination devices so as to be better equipped to handle a threat-situation.
Â· Knowing what actions to take in response to a terrorist incident involving weapons of mass destruction.
Involving so many employees in the training is a way for Lincoln County to ensure the safety of residents.
â€œYou just donâ€™t know at what level a terrorist may hit, and everyone will be affected,â€ Lukach said.by Alice Smith