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October 24, 2006

Mock disaster exercise hits Richmond

Today will be “a crazy day in the community,” according to Carl Richards, director of Madison County Emergency Management Agency.

“There’s going to be an accident at the depot that will cause (nerve) agent to be released,” Richards said. “Will there be a fire or an explosion? We don’t know.”

The county’s annual emergency response exercise will be conducted today and will call for the collaboration of several local agencies including the county’s Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP), the Blue Grass Chemical Activity Emergency Operations Center, Madison County Emergency Management Agency as well as the Kentucky Emergency Operations Center in Frankfort.

All agencies will be notified within the first five minutes of the simulated disaster.

The sirens will be followed by instructions to tune in to the local radio stations for further instructions.

Local fire and police forces will simulate emergency first response actions, providing traffic guidance and decontamination facilities.

Other participating entities will include the Berea, Richmond and Madison County fire departments, Pattie A. Clay Regional Medical Center and St. Joe Berea Hospital.

Local government officials participating include Madison Judge-Executive Kent Clark and Deputy Judge-Executive Linda Ginter, Berea Mayor Steve Connelly and a representative from the Richmond City Commission.

Several Madison County schools, including Clark-Moores and Foley middle schools and Waco, Kingston, Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, Mayfield, White Hall, Shannon Johnson, Silver Creek and Kirksville elementary schools, will be participating in the event.

ABC Daycare and Richmond Health and Rehabilitation also will be a part of Wednesday’s exercise.

Eastern Kentucky University nursing students and several professors will be acting as patients who display symptoms of nerve agent contamination.

“They make very good patients because they really understand the symptoms,” Richards said.

Many of the “patients” will be treated at the county’s hospitals, but will be taken through the decontamination process before being sent for mock treatment.

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