The Union Recorder

Local News

April 28, 2013

Local agencies trained well for disaster



A mock December 2012 exercise put Georgia College and other local emergency responders through real life scenario training, testing how Oconee Regional Medical Center would handle a mass casualty event. 

The tornado response exercise provided practice on evacuating patients from the affected area, as well as bringing new ones for treatment.

Real life training increases networking opportunities for first responders and agency heads. These conversations prove invaluable during an actual event.

“We try to keep our firefighters and law enforcement officers trained. We have a pretty good public safety community. I feel really good about it,” Sheriff Massee said. “Our people aren't afraid to be initial responders. I've always been proud of them when something does happen in the community.”

LaRocque cited a Feb. 11 high school bomb threat as an instance where training and new technology came through. To prevent detonation in case of a real explosive device, officers switched radio frequencies off the primary channel but were still able to communicate effectively.

Ongoing updates and readiness set the city and county apart. LaRocque said emergency prep is extremely important considering the different types of mechanisms used for attacks.

“We need to know where our evacuation is based on the threat. I realize we live in a smaller community, and we aren't as big of a target,” LaRocque said. “If this could happen somewhere else, it can happen here.”

McMullen expressed confidence with local EMA's capabilities.

“I feel with Troy's and our fire department's training, Baldwin County is probably second to none when it comes to emergency preparedness and well-trained first responders,” the county manager said.

Technologically fueled response

If these events played out for real, Georgia College would use its various siren, text, phone and campus pop up emergency notification systems to direct human traffic to safety. The alerts effectively warned those nearby during the campus bomb threat early last November. 

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