Tropical Storm Nate’s rain to shower Lincoln County

Published 11:26 pm Friday, October 6, 2017

First responders in Brookhaven and Lincoln County will be put to the test Tuesday morning during a simulated helicopter crash behind K&B Seafood on Hwy. 51.

The “crash” will take place about 10 a.m. in the wooded area behind the restaurant, which is about the length of two football fields away from the helicopter pad at King’s Daughters Medical Center.

“Lots of agencies will be involved,” said Clifford Galey, emergency management director for Lincoln County.

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Motorists and shoppers can expect to see a flurry of activity in the area near Hwy. 51 and Hwy. 550, with emergency vehicles with lights and sirens and law officers and medical personnel in emergency mode.

Galey said besides his office, others participating include Brookhaven Police Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Brookhaven Fire Department and medical personnel from KDMC and other health care agencies. Mississippi Highway Patrol will not be participating in this drill, however, Galey said that in emergency situations, troopers are available to assist other law enforcement officers.

“We’re doing this as a plan to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Galey said.

Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said that since the crash will be in the city limits, his department will be there to assist Brookhaven Police Department. BPD will be the lead agency.

“Whatever they need help with, we’ll assist,” he said.

Rushing said emergency drills like this provide deputies with training opportunities.

“It gives you an idea what areas you’re good in and what areas you need more work in,” he said.

Cpl. Jonathan Alford with BPD said the drill will provide valuable experience for his department.

“It gives us a practice run at a scenario we don’t usually have the opportunity to work and allows us to gauge how we’re going to react in the situation,” he said.

They’ll treat the emergency as if it’s real. Injuries and casualties are a possibility that they must prepare for, he said.

“Mistakes will be made,” Alford said. “But it gives you an opportunity to gauge how you’re going to react in the situation. It gives you a chance to see how your men and women in all the agencies come together and operate as a team.”

Galey, who is also the county fire coordinator, held a similar training exercise in March at Enterprise Attendance Center. In that scenario, a search and rescue team of firefighters responded to a burning building on the school campus and were tasked with finding a missing teacher and two students as others began battling an imaginary blaze. The mock fire drill provided valuable training to the three volunteer departments who serve the Enterprise Attendance Center — Ruth, East Lincoln and Hog Chain.

Galey said he’d like to see schools have an active shooter drill, probably during the summer when students would not be present. He’d also like to prepare for a tornado destruction drill.