There are people at work in the community who are paid to think the unthinkable so that others don't have to.
A training exercise for local public safety and first responder agencies conducted earlier this month envisaged a bomb threat at Delta-Montrose Technical College.
The "table top" session brought responding agencies together for an informal discussion to focus on coordination and decision making in the event of an emergency.
The exercise was conducted by the county's emergency manager, Rob Fiedler. Periodically, he stages training exercises like the one held last week, and also occasional "live simulation" drills that involve actual response to the scene of a staged incident.
Scenarios can involve a wide array of situations from hazardous materials spills to traffic accidents involving a school bus to airplane crashes, an event that happened in real time on Highway 50 in North Delta earlier this year.
Participating in the training exercise were a dozen public safety workers from the Delta County Sheriff's Office, Delta County Memorial Hospital, Delta Dispatch, Delta Police Department, Delta Volunteer Fire Department, Delta County Ambulance District, and technical college staff. Sitting in as observers were two county commissioners and the county administrator.
The training scenario began as a college custodian finds a note taped to the wall of a men's room. "There is a bomb in this building. It will detonate by 10 a.m. causing mass destruction at Delta-Montrose Technical College."
The note is reported to college officials, public safety agencies are notified, and the building is evacuated. Medical facilities in the region are put on standby alert.
The college building and grounds are searched as officials try to determine whether the threat is credible.
Some time passes. "The fire department and sheriff have departed, but campus police and local reporters remain on campus finishing their interviews," the script read. Then, "Suddenly, a buried explosive detonates in the flower bed in front of the school. It is a relatively small explosion, but the noise is considerable. No one is injured, and the damage is relatively minor."
The exercise then focused on how agencies would regroup and respond to the actual explosion.
The discussion was extended to include various responses and protocols that would come into play in the event there had been multiple injuries and even fatalities.
It was a scenario that no one wants to ever have to deal with, let alone think about. But public safety personnel have to communicate in the event of an emergency, and they have to know what other agencies will be doing.
That is what the exercise was intended to accomplish, and it did just that, Fiedler said afterward.blog comments powered by Disqus