On April 22, 2017, Region Two of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency located in the northeast corner of Mississippi held a functional exercise. The Director of Alcorn County Emergency Management, Ricky Gibens, was the exercise coordinator. The exercise command post was placed at the Roscoe Turner Airport in Corinth, Mississippi. The exercise was designed to integrate civilian and military assets that provide medical extraction and critical care transports. An important aspect of the exercise was interoperable communications between the numerous entities that participated. Civilian public safety personnel, volunteers and military personnel interacted. EOD awareness training was provided for all attendees as well.

Region Two consists of 16 counties: Alcorn, Benton, Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Itawamba, Lafayette, Lee, Marshall, Monroe, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union and Webster. A variety of cities within the Region Two counties participated as well as McNairy County Tennessee which borders Alcorn County. A key participant in the exercise was the Mississippi National Guard, Detachment 1, Company C, 1st Battalion, 114th Aviation Security & Support Battalion. The detachment’s mission is to provide medical extraction, critical care transports, search and rescue (SAR). Their mission support platform is the EuroCopter LUH-72A helicopter.

Two primary radio frequencies were utilized for the exercise, the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) and Mississippi State Fire. Even with two primary frequencies, there were numerous secondary frequencies in play. Fortunately, Alcorn County Emergency Management purchased the first generation of AIS’ CORE in 2009. The county uses the CORE for special events and critical incidents. CORE has been deployed several times over the years. Their CORE is housed within the county emergency management center.

CORE is a state-of-the-art in interoperability system that connects radio, cellular, satellite, hardline, and Wi-Fi communications. CORE is a complete solution combining hardware, software, mobile applications, and customer-tailored workflows. CORE integrates with existing radios, cellular phones, and emergency management communications systems including: command and control, incident management, video management, PSIM, and more.

Exercising interoperable communications during the exercise was a success. Even though the first-generation CORE had not been updated to the most current technology, it still functioned flawlessly. CORE enabled exercise participants to communicate across platforms which will be invaluable should Region Two face a critical incident.

Testimonial:  Alcorn County Website Reference