Washington community finds its emergency response readiness
| 02.01.2007 | 15:38:58 | Views: 2727 | ID:
February 1 '07: In Bellingham, Washington medical first responders and about 250 participants from area police, fire and emergency response agencies participated in a mock car bomb attack that threw poisonous radioactive material over the downtown area. Organizers told the Bellingham Herald they found the exercise helpful because it showed the community's level of preparedness.
During the drill, organizers said they had problems establishing a joint information center to provide information to the media. Also, several radio networks failed to perform forcing the responders to use cell phones to communicate with each other. Additionally, not all participating agencies were notified. However, overall, organizers said the drill proved very useful.John Gargett, one of the emergency drill's organizers told the Herald, "We're pretty lucky here in Bellingham. ... Many communities would not go to this level of operation planning and exercise preparation. ... What we learned today and in past exercises benefit the community in any type of emergency." The event was co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, St. Joseph Hospital and the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office Department of Emergency Management. During the drill, the car bomb's impact and destruction caused dozens of casualties, caused a fire in nearby buildings and sent poisonous radioactive into the air. Responders acted by removing the injured, and the three dead; put out the flames and secured the area.
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