Training to keep Kentucky safe

More than a thousand emergency responders are in Lexington this week for a Homeland Security conference and Kentucky State Fire School.

It takes more than soldiers with guns to keep America secure.

Fire Department personnel play a huge role in homeland security and that fact is not lost on those charged with maintaining a safe environment in Kentucky.

"We've gotten so we take 'em for granted, just like we take the military for granted at times, people who put themselves in harms way all the time. You're talking about emergency medical personnel, hazardous material units. We don't forget 'em," said Thomas L. Preston, Director of Kentucky's Department of Homeland Security.

Meth labs have become a big homeland security problem in Kentucky. That's what these responders are being trained to deal with.

Weather disasters also come under the agency's huge umbrella.

"Weather does come into it when first responders have to deal with ice storms, have to deal with tornadoes, have to deal with acts of nature. We've seen so much of this in the last 14 months," Preston said.

But what is priority one for Kentucky's Director of Homeland Security?

"Our first mission is counter terrorism, and to make sure that as part of the national grid that Kentucky is not a soft state for terrorist cells, transnational terrorists or even domestic terrorists," Preston said.

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