Our View: Just in case
March 10, 2010
An irate gunman who took hostages and threatened lives at one location, and the presence of a suspicious person and release of a potentially hazardous chemical at another.
This was the mock emergency scenario the Moffat County Emergency Management Council organized Saturday in Craig.
The drill, which sought to bolster communication and cohesion and test existing protocols, included several agencies: the Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, Craig Fire/Rescue, The Memorial Hospital EMS, Search and Rescue and dispatch.
Although the situation wasn't a real emergency, the personnel involved took the training seriously — from agency personnel to the actors representing hostages and members of the public — providing an opportunity for our responders to learn in case the worst and unthinkable happens someday in our community.
The Editorial Board was pleased to see our emergency responders acting proactively, working out the process kinks and training for the day no one hopes will ever come.
Those participating Saturday should be commended for their effort, board members said, particularly Dan Bingham, who orchestrated the training day.
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Board members also thanked the actors involved for participating. They added a degree of realism to the training.
While the exercise showed flaws and vulnerabilities, it also gave our agencies field experience and a blueprint of knowledge to build on for the future.
As has been seen in the past, our community isn't immune to potentially harmful situations. We've had blizzards shut down our interstates, cutting off out-of-town access, and as recently as last summer, we had an earthquake.
As they were, these situations were relatively minor and diffused rather quickly. Still, if they were amped up a few more notches, they're examples of what could happen.
That our agencies are keeping a just-in-case mentality is reassuring to the Editorial Board and it should be to residents, as well.
We've seen other communities undergo serious emergencies and tragedies — Littleton, anyone? — and it isn't out of the realm of possibility that such an unfortunate event could happen here.
It's the world we live in today that these events are more frequent and often more dangerous.
In case something ever happens here at home, that the players tasked with responding have already worked together, know their roles and established the all-important lines of communication, should ideally lessen the negative impacts on our community and its residents.