To the Editor:
I would like to extend a big Thank You to everyone who spent time and effort to make this year’s county full-scale “disaster” exercise a big success, particularly the Pond Mountain Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department (VFRD) who hosted the two-day event, the American Red Cross who provided food for the participants, and facilitators Randy McKinney and Roland Hammerick.
An exercise like this is always a large team effort – the exercise is planned, Phyllis Ashley lines up her student victims from Ashe County High School and she, Teresa Richardson and Celia Robinson do a great job in making them look like they are truly injured. The students are placed at the “disaster” scene and then all of our wonderful volunteer and paid fire, rescue, hazmat and EMS folks go to work and transport them to Ashe Memorial Hospital for treatment.
As our community grows, emergency calls for help increase and the types of calls change. Today’s fire and rescue departments respond to far more than fires and vehicle accidents. When someone is having a heart attack, they are there. They answer calls for anything from industrial accidents to hazardous materials incidents and searches. Our local emergency services organizations take their responsibilities seriously and must undergo many hours of training to become proficient in responding to these incidents. Exercises like this one, help everyone involved practice their skills in a learning environment designed to identify strengths and weaknesses in order to improve response efforts during an actual event.
There were 95 individuals from 14 different departments/agencies from two North Carolina counties and one Tennessee county in this year’s exercise. Thank you to: Pond Mountain VFRD, New River VFRD, Warrensville VFRD, Creston VFD, Second District VFD, Ashe County Rescue Squad, Ashe Medics, Watauga Medics, Ashe County High School, Wilkes Community College, Ashe Memorial Hospital, American Red Cross, Ashe County Communications, Ashe County Emergency Management and RLMC-Group, LLC.
Emergency Management Coordinator,
County of Ashe