Disaster exercise puts emergency responders to the test

Pickens County disaster exercise at Dacusville Middle School (FOX Carolina / March 15, 2019)

Easley, SC (FOX Carolina) - It was a test of how emergency responders would spring into action. The disaster scenario involved a tornado touching down over a school and collapsing the roof, leaving injured students trapped inside. Pickens County Emergency Management and dozens of first responders from across the state trained for that situation Friday at Dacusville Middle School.

In the training exercise, the school’s roof had to be reinforced before gaining entry and there was also concern about a chemical smell coming from the janitor’s closet which required a HAZMAT response.

When conditions were deemed safe enough to proceed, rescue operations were fully underway and victims were carried out of the gym to b transported to the hospital.

Denise Kwiatek, Director of Pickens County Emergency Management says this training is important, “Because real world happens. We see it every single day. If we’re not prepared, how are we going to respond? These exercises help us do better.”

Since Emergency Management officials wanted to practice all aspects of a disaster, the training plan included emergency alerts to parents, a mock press conference and a reunification location down the road to join parents safely with their students. This was the first time a disaster exercise of this magnitude has happened ion the Upstate.

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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