Preparedness drill puts area emergency responders to test

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Emergency response agencies and Enterprise Attendance Centerofficials tested their readiness during a drill Tuesday at theschool on Highway 583.

The drill simulated a fire in the school’s chemistry lab andofficials’ supervision of students during an emergency situation.The yearly exercise has been expanded each year to include morescenario aspects, said Randy Jordan, president of the Hog ChainVolunteer Fire Department, one of the agencies involved.

“All in all, we’ve had a good training,” Jordan said as hewatched firefighters and other emergency personnel go through themotions Tuesday.

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The motions include quick evacuation of students, search andrescue of any missing students, treatment of their injuries andproper extinguishing of the simulated fire. Jordan said departmentleaders would be meeting later for a more thorough evaluation ofthe drill.

Jordan complimented Enterprise officials on a four-minutestudent evacuation. Although he was unaware of the change untilTuesday morning, Jordan said having students assemble on theplayground behind the school was a good alternative to having themcross a road to gather on the football field.

Enterprise Principal Shannon Eubanks said there are many goodreasons for holding drills.

“It shows us what we do well and things we can improve on,” theprincipal said.

In addition to the efficient evacuation, Eubanks cited schoolofficials’ ability to quickly identify five missing students, whowere factored into the drill scenario. Four were “injured” in thelab mishap, while a fifth was away from her class on anotheractivity.

“I’m very thankful we did a good job with that,” Eubanks said ofthe student-related aspects of the drill.

Ken Stroud, King’s Daughters Medical Center Emergency MedicalServices Director, watched as his paramedics and first responderstreated the simulated injuries.

“It’s shaping up to be a real good learning experience …,”Stroud said. “It’ll make us better at what we do.”

In addition to Hog Chain, the Ruth, East Lincoln and BogueChitto volunteer fire departments and first respondersparticipated. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department deputies werealso on hand.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galeymonitored activities.

“It went well,” said Galey, who also mentioned the upcomingreview meeting.

In discussing Tuesday’s activity, Galey indicated anincident-command structure was established but could have beenbetter identified and announced. He said the drill was good in thatit allowed others to see emergencies from an incident-commandviewpoint.

Galey cited emergency officials’ proper consultation of achemical manual to determine how to best treat victims and put onthe fire.

“The purpose of doing these things is to see what goes good andareas we can learn,” Galey said.

Jordan said he is planning a drill for Bogue Chitto AttendanceCenter.

“I’m in hopes all school do this,” Jordan said. “They needit.”