Emergency response training involves multiple facets ...

Saturday, May 11, a full-scale emergency response training exercise was conducted through Allamakee County Emergency Management in various locations throughout the local area, including the town of New Albin, Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon and the long-term care facilities of Good Samaritan Society-Postville, Good Samaritan Society-Waukon, Northgate Care Center in Waukon, and Thornton Manor Nursing Center and Thornton Heights Assisted Living in Lansing. This training involved New Albin Fire and Rescue, the City of New Albin, the Lansing/New Albin Police Department, Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office, Waterloo Hazardous Materials Training Center, Veterans Memorial Hospital, Allamakee County Emergency Management Agency, staff of the participating long-term care facilities and representatives from the Northeast Iowa Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Additionally, three local high school volunteers participated as simulated victims for the hazardous material and vehicle accident scenes, and Hennessy Towing of Waukon also provided a vehicle for use in the event.

The exercise involved several scenarios within the New Albin area, including a train-vehicle accident in which various farm chemicals being carried in a trailer were released onto a city street with simulated materials requiring a hazardous material spill response from local responders along with medical treatment and decontamination of two victims exposed to these farm chemicals (pictured in the photos above). Because of this accident and the train making an emergency stop, a simulated train derailment of three oil tank cars was included with spillage requiring various agencies to work together in a unified command in planning and carrying out a simulated isolation and evacuation of portions of the New Albin area. Additionally, the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office utilized its drone for scene assessment in relation to the oil spill.

A single car accident involving a roll-over with two victims was also included, allowing the New Albin Fire and Rescue volunteers to conduct a vehicle extraction of the two victims and provide medical treatment for injuries (pictured in the two photos below). The activities carried out at Veterans Memorial Hospital included the decontamination and then medical treatment of several patients who were simulated to have been exposed to hazardous materials and additionally the medical treatment of several other patients who were not exposed to any chemicals. The long-term care facilities participated by conducting a shelter-in-place response for their staff and residents in relation to a hazardous materials spill.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker said the training proved to be an excellent opportunity for the agencies and facilities to exercise various response plans, intra-agency communication, emergency response planning, skills training and mutual aid assistance. The exercise itself was planned by Emergency Preparedness Consulting, LLC, whose services were made available through the Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Planning and Training Grant awarded to the Northeast Iowa Local Emergency Planning Committee by the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department, which Allamakee County belongs to.

The exercise is a continued effort by local emergency responders to conduct training to enhance and improve response skills and the ability to respond to various emergency or disaster situations. The goal of Allamakee County Emergency Management is to sponsor and conduct training exercises annually with at least one community’s emergency response agencies on a rotating basis and currently also provide exercise assistance to the local long-term care facilities yearly. Standard photos by Joe Moses.
 

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