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Mock disaster drill held in county Wednesday

When disaster strikes, we look first to our emergency response personnel – from fire and rescue to police and medical.

Those personnel groups found out Wednesday just how prepared each would be to respond to a local disaster after participating in mock disaster drills throughout the day.

Susan Carpenter, county emergency management agency director, said the event is designed to give first responders a chance to “find out what works; how it works and what needs to be corrected.”

During the day, agencies participated in a tabletop exercise, which visited scenarios from chemical spills and traffic accidents to hostage and terrorist situations. Groups discussed strategies and procedures to handle the situations.

That afternoon, both Andalusia Regional Hospital and Opp’s Mizell Memorial Hospital participated in nearly simultaneous emergency response training exercises where nursing students from LBW Community College volunteered to act as “victims” for the day’s exercise. Their scenario: A tanker filled with chemicals caused a horrific traffic accident.

“When things are happening in an emergency, it’s imperative that our agencies – be it law enforcement, rescue, hospital personnel or whomever – know what to do,” Carpenter said. “That’s what these type drills are designed to do.”

Carpenter said all who participated were pleased with the day’s results.

Lynn Scroggins, an LBWCC nursing student, served as a patient suffering from injuries in a mock disaster. Here, medical personnel ‘rush her’ through a chemical contamination unit as part of the day’s disaster drill. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News