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We appreciate our emergency personnel

To the casual passerby, the scene that unfolded off Hwy. 51 Tuesday was probably panic-inducing. A wrecked car, bodies lying everywhere, first responders hurrying about. It looked like chaos.

A Lifeflight helicopter carrying a patient crashed on its way to the landing pad at King’s Daughters Medical Center. A car speeding by the scene to get a look at the accident also crashed, ejecting the occupants and coming to rest on its side. At least that was what first responders were told had happened.

But it was actually a training session meant to better equip first responders. The simulated emergency was a drill set up by Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey to assess responses by various city and county agencies.

Students from the Mississippi School of the Arts were the crash victims, and they played the parts realistically. One had a metal tube protruding from a bloody arm. Another was declared dead and covered with a sheet.

Brookhaven police officers, Lincoln County sheriff’s deputies, fire departments and other agencies participated in the training.

Police Chief Kenneth Collins watched his officers respond, blocking traffic, roping off the scene and helping keep victims calm until medical personnel could assess their injuries.

“It shows that the departments can work together,” he said about the training. “It takes teamwork. That’s what we’re going to have to depend on.”

Collins is right. This disaster training was a great way for agencies to work on collaboration while also honing their skills as first responders. We are thankful that Galey and the first responder community saw the value in this exercise and brought everyone together to make it happen. Brookhaven and Lincoln County are safer because of their hard work.