Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes

Full scale disaster drill Saturday morning


September 20, 2018

Those who hear sirens, or possibly the whirling blades of a helicopter this Saturday, Sept. 22 don’t need to be worried that there is some terrible event happening in town. Likewise, those who might spy such events need not be concerned, as it is all part of a full scale exercise through Hot Springs County Emergency Management.

Bill Gordon, coordinator with Hot Springs County Emergency Management, explained in May he called together all of the possible players that wanted to be involved in the exercise. Since then, a smaller group of players has been meeting every two weeks to get everything together.

The exercise does involve a disaster scenario, Gordon explained, and he gathered information from each of the players — among them the Thermopolis Volunteer Fire Department, Hot Springs County Memorial Hospital, Thermopolis Police Department, Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Office and Thermopolis Chamber of Commerce — about what they wanted to test in their different capacities. Using that information, they built a scenario.

Gordon declined to give specifics as to what the scenario would be, but noted it will only involve a small part of town and not disturb normal traffic flow. He will also put out a message using the Code RED system to let people know this is just an exercise.

The goal of the exercise, Gordon said, is to do well in responding to the incident, but also to find gaps and areas that need improvement. This is a no-fault situation, he said, meaning there will be no finger pointing or blame throwing among or between agencies. The exercise is expected to be over by noon, with an after action debriefing at the fire hall to visit about how things went.

Gordon noted if there is a fire event this week that calls the fire department away, the exercise will be postponed.


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