Emergency Drill Prepares S.D. First Responders for the Worst

Emergency Drill Prepares S.D. First Responders for the Worst

News Jul 17, 2017

July 16—BATH—A tornado strikes.

Someone is trapped underground.

Anhydrous ammonia starts leaking, as does fuel.

Luckily, all of these events were simulations at an emergency drill Saturday at the Wheat Growers facility in Bath, a chance for several agencies and departments to test procedures for things they don't usually do and test the working relationships among them.

On hand were Brown County Emergency Management, Brown County Sheriff's Office, Groton Fire and Rescue, Columbia Fire Department, Aberdeen Rural Fire Department, Aberdeen Fire and Rescue, South Dakota Highway Patrol, Wheat Growers and Sanford Health.

The scenario started with a hypothetical 9-1-1 call reporting a possible tornado east of Aberdeen at 8:30 a.m. At 8:45 a.m., a tornado warning went out for Brown County. By 8:55, a Brown County deputy confirmed a tornado heading for the Wheat Growers facility.

Shortly after 9 a.m., several calls from Wheat Growers confirmed that the facility was hit, and emergency crews headed into action.

Of course, on Saturday, all of the emergency vehicles were at Wheat Growers by 8:30 a.m., in anticipation of the exercise.

One of the biggest differences between the drill and a real-life tornado is the small affected area.

"We're able to target this one area for this training," said Brian Koens, Brown County Sheriff's deputy. "It would be a countywide deal."

Continue Reading

But, not only did the exercise give crews practice containing spills or rescuing people from unusual places, it got them working together.

Communication is always one of the biggest challenges, said Cody Bonn, who is in charge of the tactical rescue team at Wheat Growers.

"I think it was pretty chaotic in the beginning... I think it leveled out a lot quicker than a lot of our past trainings," Koens said.

During the drill, all teams ran on the same channel, which made things a little confusing, said Tom Tietz, Groton Fire Department chief. During a real event, each task would be assigned its own radio channel.

It's not just communicating with each other, but communicating with the public, Koens said. During a drill, there aren't Facebook messages or warnings put out.

If there's actually bad weather or a large-scale incident, the public should "be plugging into their radios and paying attention and maybe be checking their social media and what not to make sure that they're getting the information to keep them safe," Koens said. "But then also to review where their source is where they got that information from."

Like a real severe weather event, the emergency situations came one right after another. As one crew was working to contain an simulated anhydrous leak and get those acting as victims to Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center, another was rescuing an injured man from underground, pulling him up on a gurney.

If there would have been a real call during the drill, the crews needed would have left to take care of the emergency outside of the Wheat Growers facility, said Greg Smith, director of communications for Wheat Growers. If enough people needed to leave, the drill would have ended.

Not only did the drill provide a chance for crews to practice, it helps build camaraderie between the different agencies, because they do work together often, Koens said.

"Exercises like this, in a whole, make these people better to respond for the real thing," said Scott Meints, Brown County emergency manager. "We do these for these folks to one, practice, and two, make sure that their procedures and equipment is ready to handle these types of issues and emergencies."

American News, Aberdeen, S.D.

EMS personnel, their colleagues in healthcare and public safety, and the public are encouraged to provide input on the proposals outlined in the Straw Man document regarding the future of EMS.
The StethoSafe is a patent pending case that greatly extends the life of a stethoscope by quickly and easily protecting the head of a stethoscope.
First responders from around the country gathered to participate in a water rescue training program despite some of the instructors being deployed to hurricanes Harvey and Irma rescue efforts.
The First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant will provide training and other resources to assist paramedics, law enforcement and health workers to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
The Department of Health granted $300,000 to the San Bernardino to purchase a mobile Class B fire simulator to replace the decade-old one.
About 70,000 people were still without power due to Irma before Maria made contact with the island, and experts are predicting 175mph wind gusts and flash flooding during the worst of the storm.
The quake ironically struck on the anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City.
Since 1975, Crestline has firmly established itself as a trusted industry leader and innovative manufacturer of high quality products in the Specialty Vehicle industry.
Dominica was hit by 155mph winds, causing flooding and structural damage, and is expected to grow stronger before hitting the Virgin Islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma.

A bus driver with a record of drunk driving crashed into another bus after speeding through an intersection in Queens, New York City, resulting in 3 deaths and multiple seriously injured patients. 

The new devices replace aging ones, allowing paramedics to provide better patient care and communicate more efficiently with the hospital.
With a nationwide rise in active shooter and MCI scenarios, Broward County is bolstering the protection of its firefighter-paramedics.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an additional $144.1 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction in support of President Trump’s commitment to combat the opioid crisis.
The guidelines were created as a resource to be used or adapted for use on a state, regional or local level to enhance patient care.
NIOSH and NHTSA offer a new fact sheet based on recent research.