Charlotte-Mecklenburg ALERT Team
, which stands for
Advanced Local Emergency Response Team
, is a unique 90-member multi-agency terrorism response team of which the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department plays a key role.
- The team is particularly focused on responding to incidents involving acts of terrorism such as chemical, biological or nuclear weapons -- known as weapons of mass destruction.
- As the nation's second largest financial center and the only city in the world with two nuclear plants within close proximity to the downtown center, Charlotte is at increasing risk for a potential nuclear, biological or chemical attack.
- The team's objective is to enhance and support existing emergency resources and to rapidly and appropriately treat patients injured in an attack and to help ensure that the community's infrastructure is kept as safe and functional as possible during a disaster. This goal is accomplished through collaboration, cross training and the purchase of specialized equipment required for training and during a deployment.
- ALERT's 90 members have been selected from the Charlotte- Mecklenburg Police Department, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Fire Department, Mecklenburg EMS Agency, Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office, and Carolinas Medical Center. Each member is highly skilled in his or her own field and cross-trained to assist other team members in their roles.
- Training sessions are held regularly. For security reasons, details of the training exercises will not be releases, but the ALERT team has practiced the specifics of dealing with the law enforcement, hazardous materials and medical mass casualty aspects of both chemical and bio-terrorism. These training sessions have improved operating efficiencies of the team and its member agencies, and have shown that the team can respond quickly in an emergency.
- The team receives its funding from Mecklenburg County, and the Departments of Defense, Justice and health and Human Services.
- Development of the ALERT team began in the spring of 1998, and today the team is operational and prepared to respond to any mass casualty incident.
- The ALERT team is rather unique because its design relies on collaboration between law enforcement, public safety, pre-hospital medicine and the health care community.
- Team policy and vision are guided by a Policy Group with representation from the highest levels to each participating agency. Several committees also exist to handle the team's routine operations. This approach and broader perspective ensures the most appropriate use of resources and enhances the team concept.
- It is hoped that the ALERT team will serve as a model for other communities seeking to enhance existing resources and develop new capabilities to respond to the potential of terrorist attacks.
- The ALERT team and the region's two hospital systems have participated in a countywide assessment of hospital capabilities. Included in that assessment were such issues as pharmacy, staffing and equipment. The outcome of that assessment is that we are prepared to respond.
- For reasons of security, specific response plans or capabilities cannot be discussed