State reviews emergency response plan

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says the state is reviewing its emergency terrorism response plan because the Bush administration has put the entire country on high alert status.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) Although he says it’s unlikely that Vermont will be the site of any acts of terrorism, Governor Jim Douglas is taking steps to make sure the state is prepared for this possibility. Douglas says he activated the state’s emergency response team after the federal Department of Homeland Security elevated its warning system to high alert status in the last week.

The state’s anti-terrorism task force consists of law enforcement officials, emergency management personnel and the Vermont National Guard. Douglas says he wants the state to be prepared in case terrorists strike here:

(Douglas) “I convened a team of state and federal law enforcement officers, legislative leadership to make sure they understand we have a plan in place for responding to any threats against Vermont. So this is a serious situation. We live in a dangerous world and we can’t take these threats lightly.”

(Kinzel) Douglas says the state needs to be prepared for a number of very different scenarios:

(Douglas) “We live very close to a large international city that has been the site of terrorist cells just 60 miles north of our border. Perhaps the next wave of terrorism might not be as dramatic as flying airplanes into large buildings. But something in the heartland of America, who knows what it might be? It might be a bioterrorism attack of some kind. We talked about the small pox vaccinations at an earlier press conference. It could be an impairment of a water supply, something less violent than we’ve seen before. So I think we have to understand that there are lots of possibilities for which we need to be prepared.”

(Kinzel) The state also has a separate plan to increase security at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power plant if emergency response officials feel that step is needed.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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