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Hazmat drill set; volunteer ‘victims’ sought

The Lamar County emergency planning committee is gearing up for this year’s hazardous materials drill, set for 3 p.m. June 26 at the high school. No students will be involved since the schools will be on summer break but anyone who would like to get moulaged up as a volunteer victim can call the fire department at 770-358-5112. Details from the May 22 tabletop exercise to finalize the drill, held at the new fire headquarters on Highway 36 West, include an active shooter with an incendiary device, allowing for law enforcement, fire department and emergency medical services to work together on combined training that meets the hazmat drill grant requirements. ’In the past law enforcement has had very little to do with the hazmat drills other than setting up the perimeter,’ said LEPC member Mark Crandlemire. In this one, the first officers on the scene would take the ‘˜active shooter’ out and discover ‘an explosive anyone could tote in from a gas station,’ said sheriff’s deputy Todd Pippin. ‘There will still be casualties. We can generate a good scenario.’ Thus, there is a need for volunteers to play the roles of shooting victims, hostages and irate parents trying to get their children out of the locked down school, the medic triage site or the witness questioning area at incident command, which will be set up on the practice football field and at Aldora Park. In a real hostage situation at the high school, Highway 18 would be shut down for the duration of the incident. That will not occur during the drill. ’We’re looking at a lowlevel hazmat scenario we can handle without calling in outside help,’ said fire chief Steve Andrews. ‘We want to learn law enforcement procedures. It’s going to be a lot different from our training on Monday night.’ One more run-through of the tabletop drill will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 7 at the fire headquarters.

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