Though the Tri-Cities may be less populated than the Boston metro area, the principles for responding in an emergency are the same.
"We would systematically do pretty much the equivalent of what they are doing in Boston, except on a smaller scale," says Bristol, Tenn. Chief of Police Blaine Wade
Wade says the Bristol PD is ready for a lock down should the need arise. "The first thing you would want to do is get the community squared away and locked down," says Wade. "We have contingency plans in place for those types of events. [But] you hope you don't have to do something that large of scale."
Those contingency plans include cooperation with nearby communities, plus state and federal agencies. Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport all have mutual aid agreements, a promise to help out in a crisis. "The biggest thing when your working with this is getting all the agencies together in one area to coordinate, to discuss what the plan of action is," says Sullivan County EMA Director Jim Bean.
They would gather in emergency operations centers that can be up and running in a matter of minutes. From there, the public would be notified of the situation and actions plans would begin.
Twitter, Facebook and local media are key parts of getting the word out, but Sullivan County can also use older methods. "We still are going to rely on reverse 911 and the old-fashioned phone call. And as they are doing up north, going door to door," says Bean.
Command teams must also address other issues as a crisis continues. There is no guarantee of a quick resolution.
Johnson City Police administrative Major Garry Younger tells News 5 they have to take care of the boots on the ground. "[As it continues] you get into logistics. I've got this staff on hand, we're going through these perimeters. The longer it goes, you've got to get rest. I've got to feed you, so you have to have the personnel and the staff for that turn over, to keep the machine going," says Younger.
A machine with the sole purpose of ending a crisis as quickly as possible.