At 9:15 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, emergency signals began sending out on a simulated chemical spill at Logan Aluminum. This was an exercise only, one held to better prepare emergency services to handle possible disastrous events if they ever transpire.
The mock drill involved the Logan Aluminum Fire Department, Logan County Emergency Management, Russellville City and Rural Fire Departments, Lewisburg Fire Department, Logan County Emergency Communications Center (ECC), Logan County EMS and Logan Memorial Hospital.
“The drill went really well,” said Terry Cole of Emergency Management. “We have had several of these drills over the years and they help us prepare for the real thing.”
Simulating a real event is necessary to polish disaster plans. Working through the process of what an event will entail and what resources you need can better prepare you if an actually event really occurs.
These types of drills allow responders to try to work together in scenarios that are as close to the real thing as possible. The drills allow the responders to find and iron out the problems that can occur as multiple agencies try to coordinate responses to big events. They allow for physically going over what will happen when a disaster hits. In this way, there will be less of a surprise, and more importantly, those involved will know what to do. Drills also allow for there to be new ideas and make more effective plans if they are needed, as well as making sure that all emergency equipment actually works and is ready.
When the call came into the ECC of the simulated chemical spill at Logan Aluminum, all agencies were notified and responded accordingly. Nine mock patients were involved, some with exhaustion and some with chemical burns. Those at Logan Aluminum immediately began setting up an incident command center where patients were evaluated and decontaminated preparing for transport to Logan Memorial Hospital.
Logan County has a group of business people and emergency service professionals that make up the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). This group is constantly working on emergency plans for the county and learning what works best for those who live here.
“We always plan for the worse case scenario during these drills,” said Russellville Rural/Logan Aluminum Fire Chief Cheryl Allen. “These drills help emergency services all work together for one common goal. After the drill is over, we all get together and discuss what could have been done better and what should we implement in the future.”
Allen and Cole both commended those involved in the drill.
“Logan Memorial Hospital did a great job,” said Cole. “Joyce Noe- who serves on the LEPC- is very knowledgeable on what needed to be done at the hospital.”
Noe is the Director on Infectious Control, Employee Health, Environmental Services and Emergency Management for Logan Memorial Hospital.
“The drill went very well,” said Noe. “Logan Memorial participates in these drills because it helps to prepare us, as well as creates strong relationships between emergency response teams in our county.”
Noe said the drills help to improve everything from response time to knowing what can be improved upon.
“As a hospital, we want to be prepared. We want to assure those in our community that we are doing the best we can. By participating in these emergency drills, we can make sure we are ready in case the community needs us.”
To contact Chris Cooper, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 270-726-8394.