Disaster Drill Prepares Local Rescue Officials

By: Summer Knowles
By: Summer Knowles

September 10, 2005

Over the weekend local rescue officials got some extra field training in an effort to improve their response time during an emergency situations.

A shot down plane, engulfed in flames, with its passengers sprawled across a field is the type of real-life scenario that emergency responders from the city, county, and University were preparing for.

"Obviously once a situation occurs, that's not the time to get fire and rescue and emergency teams organized and then hope that they can do the job," said Terri Dean, spokesperson for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport.

The disaster drill consisted of several field training exercises and involved more than 300 people, all to test local emergency response capabilities.

"You never know when terrorism will strike. It could strike in the middle of another disaster so it's very important for them to get as close to a realistic feel for that as possible," says Charlottesville Public Information Officer Maurice Jones.

Officials hope realistic emergency scenarios will help first responders develop more confidence so that when a real incident occurs, they're reacting out of instinct.

"We're very confident about the response potential of our emergency responders and it's because of training like this," said Jones.

Dean agreed. "We think that the people in our community should feel a lot safer," she said. "As we see in today's real world scenarios, it pays to be prepared."

The event was conducted to meet annual state emergency disaster drill requirements.

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