Disaster Drill

By: Rayne McKenzie
By: Rayne McKenzie

Thursday, fire and emergency officials from around the state were in Dothan for a disaster drill. The exercise focused on extreme emergencies where mutual aide assistance would be necessary.

When an emergency occurs like a Category 5 hurricane or a terrorist attack counties rely on one another to provide added assistance.

Thursday’s drill was designed to make sure all agencies know how to work with one another and to make sure all equipment is ready in case disaster strikes.

Disasters can happen when a community least expects it, and fire officials in Alabama are determined to be prepared for when the situation arises. Various fire departments from Alabama are in Houston County participating in a simulated disaster drill.

Senior Planner of Innovative Emergency Management said, "The benefit of the exercise is to better prepare the community for a disaster in the Southeast Alabama region."

A major problem during any disaster is communication. With the help of a federal grant, Houston County has received a disaster unit that allows the department to communicate more effectively.

Alabama Emergency Management Agency Official Fred Springall said, “We do lots of drills to make sure agencies can talk. They're on different frequencies."

Thursday's exercise used computer software to simulate a disaster. Officials say the hands on experience better prepares departments to handle real life disasters.

All the departments participating in the exercise are part of Region Two in Alabama. That means they are part of Houston County’s Mutual Aide Agreement, therefore, if a disaster strikes here, and uses all resources available, those departments who are part of the Mutual Aide Agreement will step in to help.

The disaster drill continues throughout Friday afternoon when state officials will review how well the different departments handled the exercise and offer suggestions for how to improve.


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