This is a test. For three hours Saturday Washington County Emergency Management Agency will conduct a readiness test with local emergency responders. This is only a test.
Emergency Management Coordinator Marissa Reisen has announced beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, a full scale emergency drill will be conducted at the Kirkwood Washington Regional Center. She hopes to get as many emergency agencies in the county to participate as is possible. The drill is expected to last about three hours. The general public is discouraged from attempting to view the drill, as it will involve emergency responders training. Media will be allowed to view the drill from a safe distance. Reisen said sealing off the drill is a safeguard so civilians wouldn’t be injured or get in the way, especially if there is an incident requiring personnel to leave the drill.
“We’re going to have a mock scenario of an incident that could potentially happen,” Reisen explained. “I’m not going to say what it is because I’m not telling anyone yet. We go through the motions as if it were really happening. After it is over we sit down and discuss how it went, what we learned, what additional training we might need, and just how we can get better.”
She explained the drill would include fire department, ambulance and law enforcement from throughout the county, along with Washington County Hospital and Clinics. She said volunteers wearing makeup to look as if they have been seriously injured would be part of the scenario.
In a news release Reisen said a robust planning, training and exercise cycle are necessary in order to be prepared for the variety of disasters that could impact the communities in Eastern Iowa.
Full scale drills are done about every two years, Reisen said, but a variety of drilling in individual emergency response groups is done several times throughout a year.
In the event a real emergency should take place while the drill is being held, Reisen stressed the drill would be stopped and the responders would attend to the residents and visitors to Washington County.
“The safety of the people of Washington County and the emergency responders who serve them is the number one priority for this drill,” she said.