When an emergency situation strikes, it’s important for local agencies to be ready to act. That was the reason behind the joint mock exercise held Monday, June 10, in the township of Pelican on Cty. P. Agencies including the Marathon-Oneida County Bomb Squad, Oneida County paramedics, officers from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office and fire rescue responders from the township of Pelican partnered to perform a full scale mock emergency situation involving the handling and gross removal of hazardous materials.
“The primary purpose of this large-scale scenario is for agencies to take their plans off the shelf and test them,” said Dawn Robinson, Oneida County Emergency Management program assistant. “It allows all the agencies to test their standard operating procedures, response capabilities, effective communication and helps to identify if anything can be done differently or improved upon.”
Oneida County Emergency Management’s role in the scenario is to help agencies collaborate with one another so that in the event of an actual emergency situation, all parties involved would have an understanding of the necessary steps and precautions.
“It’s crucial for us to exercise the plans so that we may identify where shortfalls may occur,” Robinson said. “You never know when something is going to happen, so the importance of preparing for events is critical.” She added that Oneida County Emergency Management coordinates and performs various scenarios throughout the year. “We act as the resource hub for the county, so we feel great responsibility to perform exercises frequently in order to improve our response.”
The particular simulation staged Monday dealt with hazardous chemicals being identified in an indoor dwelling. Emergency personnel performed a decontamination episode on an individual who was removed from the home in preparation to admit him to a medical facility.
“We selected the scenario of an unknown chemical response to ensure that first responders and law enforcement could properly assess the situation while maintaining the health of our own personnel,” said Lieutenant Nick Strupp of the Pelican Fire Department. He added that scenarios vary from time to time so that all departments, from local to statewide, are prepared to act when an emergency occurs.