Mock disaster ‘went like clockwork’


The Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and Local Emergency Planning Committee held a full-scale emergency response exercise at the Highland County Fairgrounds Thursday morning to test the readiness and coordination of local emergency response agencies.

The simulated scenario involved the collision of two medical helicopters that caused shrapnel to impact a third helicopter and a nearby portable anhydrous ammonia nurse tank being transported by a farmer. In addition to the chemical release, the incident simulated multiple injuries of helicopter occupants and people nearby. The responders practiced triaging, treating and transporting the simulated patients.

The exercise included multiple local fire departments and law enforcement personnel as well as hazardous materials trained personnel, the EMA, and representatives from the Southern State Community College Nursing Program, Highland District Hospital, Adena Greenfield Medical Center, Highland Health Providers, CareFlight and Med Flight.

“I think it went very well,” said president of Preparedness Solutions Marc Burdiss, who coordinated the exercise. “It was very complex with a lot of moving parts, so even just setting it up required a lot of buy-in and a lot of participation from a lot of different groups.”

He said the group considered the event more of a training than an exercise. “This community does rally together, and we find that a lot in our more rural communities because everyone understands that their role is vital whereas in the bigger cities like Dayton sometimes they are so piecemealed and so stove-piped in their own little view that they don’t show up to play as well as in these counties,” said Burdiss.

“You can tell there has been a lot of training, and there’s been a lot of preparatory work to get us to this point where it went like clockwork,” he added.

Burdiss said the people in Highland County should be proud of their local first responders.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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