Drill Thursday Will Test Emergency Responders

By: Jessica Dealy Email
By: Jessica Dealy Email

A disaster drill planned for Thursday in Lauderdale County is intended to be as realistic as possible. Officials wanted to alert the public that it's happening so they won't be alarmed by what they may see as the drill is carried out.

After two weekends filled with killer storms, emergency management agencies met Tuesday to discuss an elaborate exercise, a mock hurricane and several tornadoes that will hit schools and severely injure students participating in LEMA's disaster drill.

Allied health students from Northeast, Clarkdale, and Meridian High will participate and complete a year's worth of medical studies. Half of the students in the classes will act as victims, half as heroes.

"These students will be able to help if anything ever happens at the school or even at home," said allied health instructor Wendie Alsobrooks. "They will be prepared."

After the schools are notified as to when to begin the drills, the students will prepare the chosen victims for a fast departure to the hospital. Ambulances will arrive on scene, as will the American Red Cross. Even an Air Care helicopter will be deployed.

"We will be activated by Medcom, and it's a timely response for traumatic situations. Basically we can get there a lot faster, land in places ambulances can't get to," said Davin Mancini, Air Care pilot.

Once the mock victims arrive at either Rush, Anderson, or Riley hospitals, medical staff will then go through the motions of dealing with tornado trauma victims.

"We want to test as many elements as we can, because it has been a long time since we had to do this," said David Sharp, Lauderdale Emergency Management Agency director.

NAS Meridian and LEMA perform a disaster drill this elaborate once every four years.

Given that two weekends of severe storms have rattled Mississippians, LEMA and law enforcement officials want to remind locals listening to police scanners that the dispatches they hear Thursday will only be part of a test.


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