The EMA joined with local fire departments, municipalities and other supporting agencies for a full-scale hazard mitigation exercise used to evaluate local Hazmat skills during an actual event.
Emergency Management specialist LeighAnn Butler said the drill “went very well.”
“All participating agencies preformed their duties as they would in a real event,” Butler said. “As in any exercise, capabilities are tested and shortfalls will occur, but everyone participating handled everything very professionally. We had great participation in this exercise, but we look forward to even more participation in next year's exercise.”
The drill simulated multiple hazardous materials releases, which required implementation of local response plans. Simulations included a car accident on Alabama 21 in Winterboro and an accident at the OMYA plant in Sylacauga.
The exercise, which is performed annually, was designed to give participating agencies an opportunity to practice their roles, capabilities and communication between multiple jurisdictions, Butler said.
EMA Director Deborah Gaither said the exercise helped them identify and work through areas that may need improvement.
“We want to work more on some of our policies and procedures, along with some of our internal communications issues,” Gaither said. “We will keep practicing and participating with all departments that agree to so that we can better serve our citizens.”
Gaither said the EMA continues to encourage citizens to be prepared to take care of themselves and their family for up to 72 hours in the event of an emergency.
“We appreciate everything that ‘Team Talladega County’ did today to better themselves or to refresh their capabilities,” Gaither said.
Agencies participating in Tuesday’s exercise were: OMYA, Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama Department of Transportation, Childersburg Fire Department, Citizens Baptist Medical Center, Coosa Valley Medical Center, Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Services, Red Cross, Sylacauga Fire Department, Sylacauga Police Department, Talladega County Department of Human Resources, Talladega County Road Department, Talladega Fire Department, Talladega Police Department, Talladega County Sheriff’s Department, Winterboro Volunteer Fire Department, Lay Lake Volunteer Fire Department and volunteers from across Talladega County.
The exercise was paid for through the Hazard Materials Emergency Preparedness Grant Program and overseen by Lee Helms Associates.
Contact Emily Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.