Emergency crews will go into action
Friday afternoon for training exercise
June 09, 2010
DRYDEN — If you notice emergency, police and fire personnel scurrying about this Friday, June 11, do not be alarmed.
The activity will be part of a mock disaster exercise conducted throughout the community by Lapeer County's Emergency Management team.
Emergency Management Director Mary Stikeleather said the training exercise will begin around 2 p.m., with the majority of activity taking place between 6-10 p.m.
She said the "simulated tornado" event will result in the temporary closing of some streets, and involve local and county police, fire and ambulance personnel along with staff at Lapeer Regional Medical Center.
"It's very important that we go through these kinds of exercises from time to time," Stikeleather said. "Our emergency crews and personnel need to be able to test themselves in safe and controlled environments to prepare for real-life situations."
Stikeleather noted that national and local homeland security efforts have focused heavily on terrorism in recent years.
While being prepared for every possibility is critical, she believes the county must be ready for more likely emergency scenarios, including natural disasters such as severe weather/tornadoes, train derailments, airplane crashes and the like.
"These kinds of emergencies are certainly within the realm of things that could happen here," Stikeleather said. "So we have to be ready."
In addition to emergency personnel, local Scouts, Young Marines and Lapeer Ed-Tech students will participate in the exercise.
"They have volunteered to serve as our victims," said Stikeleather. "They really get into it. They act the parts and go out of their way to bring realism to the situation."
She said all participants will meet for a debriefing session following the exercise.
"We'll follow up to discuss what was done right and what we need to do to improve our response," said Stikeleather. "We all have to deal with the 'what ifs,' and that includes the public."
Stikeleather said all efforts are being made to inform local residents of the exercise in advance.
"We'll be placing signs out on some of the roadways and trying to get the word out to residents," she said. "This is not a real event. It's a planned exercise to test and train personnel for response to a potential disaster or crisis."
While the event may be a minor inconvenience for local residents, Stikeleather said the community's patience and cooperation will be much appreciated.
"Please know these events are vital to the effective and timely response to potential disastrous events," she said.
For questions or more information, call 810-667-0242 or visit www.lapeercountyemd.org.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.