Drill keeps town, first responders alert

Published 8:07 am Tuesday, August 3, 2010

By Eason Franklin
The Lowndes Signal

The Lowndes County first responders tested themselves today to learn about the techniques used to respond to emergencies.

A training drill in Hayneville today kept the community on their toes as a mock fire spread from the Family Nutrition Center to the County Commission office, according to EMA Director Walter Hill.

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First responders from Care Ambulance service and the Hayneville and Mosses Volunteer Fire Departments (VFD) took action after the drill tripped a smoke system in the basement of the Family Nutrition Center, which led to an evacuation of the Family Nutrition Center and County Commission office.

“The drill went wonderful,” said Hill. “The drill threw people for a loop as the situation elevated over about a 45 minute period.”

Emergency workers were fully outfitted in their gear and response times were rapid and fantastic allowing Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell to control crowd response and direct traffic accordingly, according to Hill.

After the drill, the first responders held a debriefing to talk about the few “shortcomings” of what took place during the training exercise.

“We would like to see the training situations more dramatized by our emergency workers,” said Hill. “I would like to be assured everyone is maximizing every resource available in an actual event.”

First responders received a rating of 96.7 out of 100 during evaluations several years ago.

“The exercise was dramatized well enough to have local citizens believe the town’s water was toxic and inconsumable,” said Hill.

More drills will be held throughout the remainder of the year to hone the skills of Lowndes County’s first responders to make sure actual emergencies are executed with precision, according to Hill.

The town of Hayneville will have about four more full-scale drills to perform before getting ready for the new year.