Practice, practice, practice – Sidney Daily News
JACKSON CENTER – A full-scale disaster simulation exercise was conducted by area first responders on the Airstream property in Jackson Center on Friday, October 1. The exercise was sponsored by the Shelby County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) / Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
“Better first responder coordination, increased communication and support to emergency operations” was the goal or “expected outcome” of the exercise, according to the Shelby County EMA / LEPC.
Jackson Center village officials, police and firefighters; the Shelby and Miami County HAZMATs, which are made up of members from several local fire departments; officials from the Sidney / Shelby County Emergency Operations Center (EOC); and Shelby County Amateur Radio Emergency Services participated in the exercise in the Airstream Passenger Coach Factory employee parking lot on Friday afternoon.
“It’s a semblance, but we’re trying to make things better to make it easier in the real world,” Mark Burdiss, event controller / coordinator at Burdiss Inc., told attendees gathered at the start. of exercise Friday.
The purpose of the disaster simulation was to provide participants with the opportunity to assess their capabilities, as well as the plans, policies and procedures of an emergency during the simulated situation. According to a press release from Shelby County LEPC, the exercise focused on decision making, coordination and integration with other organizations during a motor vehicle accident, which resulted in a discharge of hazardous materials.
In the false emergency scenario, a van collided with a semi-tank carrying anhydrous ammonia, a common agricultural chemical. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer.
At the scene, the impact of the collision caused a slow release of the chemical from a tear in the tanker. A smoke machine was installed next to the truck to release steam to simulate a gas leak. In addition to the mock chemical release, the wreckage produced a mass casualty scene with several simulated casualties needing to be decontaminated, assigned to the degree of emergency, and treated before being moved off the scene. Jackson Center Schools donated the van and Wilderuth Farms loaned the semi-trailer used for the afternoon exercise.
“Today is a great day for training because that’s where we learn,” said Tom Glass, Botkins Police Chief / Deputy Fire Chief. “We train like it’s real. We try to train as real as possible, but unfortunately we use today (by pointing a semi-trailer instead of a tanker on the spot) because a tanker is on the ground today. But training is very important for law enforcement.
All participants were fit and prepared for their role in the emergency simulation. The first and second responders put the actions into practice in real time, meaning that even though all participants were on site, police in central Jackson first responded, then called the fire department and HAZMAT to the scene. . The exercise was conducted on the basis of the actual time it would take for the aide to respond. They also used a separate channel dedicated to radio calls to get additional needed help.
“Practice, practice, practice,” Burdiss said, telling participants to be sure to follow up on radio calls with the message which is just practice.
Jackson Center police officers Nick Honeycutt and Zach Stillings said in this simulated situation they blocked a 1 mile setting and escorted pedestrians to prevent the chemical leak from causing further harm to others. They also worked to educate the public of the danger and debunk rumors on social media about the incident.
“This is one of those rare scenarios where multiple organizations respond,” said Jeff Simons, Shelby County HAZMAT / Sidney Firefighter, between directing people on what to do as they assemble. the “decontamination area”.
After first responders exited the scene containing hazardous materials, they were decontaminated or sprayed to remove all chemicals from their suits.
In the middle of the day, the exercise was interrupted by at least one real emergency in Anna to which several participants responded. Then, at the end of the training day, those who remained gathered to discuss their thoughts on operations and make suggestions for improvement for a possible future emergency.
A mock emergency exercise, Burdiss explained, is required by Ohio law to be performed each year in one of three forms, a full-scale exercise, like the one conducted on Friday; a functional exercise, where actors perform scenes in a hall of the EOC; or a table-talk exercise, in which players sit around a table and discuss through a scenario.
Friday’s exercise was scheduled since 2019 and was scheduled for spring 2020, but had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sidney firefighters rescue people from a toxic leak during an Airstream disaster training exercise at Jackson Center on Friday, October 1.
Sidney firefighters drag the injured to safety during an Airstream disaster training exercise at Jackson Center on Friday, October 1.
Two Hazmat workers walk away after stopping a leak in an oil tanker during an Airstream disaster training exercise at Jackson Center on Friday, October 1.
A Hazmat worker is decontaminated after stopping a leak in an oil tanker during an Airstream disaster training exercise in Jackson Center on Friday, October 1.
Two Hazmat workers attempt to stop an oil tanker leak during an Airstream disaster training exercise in Jackson Center on Friday, October 1.
Contact the writer at 937-538-4823.