KIFI Top Story

ISU prepares emergency response teams for the worst

ISU emergency drill

POCATELLO, Idaho - Emergency crews and Hazmat teams swarmed Holt Arena today, but it was just for a drill.

But, it wasn't your typical fire or earthquake drill.

Crews simulated a scene where a packed Holt Arena stadium suddenly experiences a bus that pulls up and inside, someone releases a mysterious chemical agent.

Going along the same make-believe scenario, this is later ruled as a possible bio-chemical terrorist attack.

Although this has never happened, emergency crews are trying to prepare themselves in case it ever were to occur.

Today the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security held a drill with local and state emergency response teams to prepare them for a possible chemical terrorist attack.

Some of those in attendance were: the Pocatello Police and Fire departments, ISU Public Safety, the Hazmat State Regional Response Team, and the Idaho Military Civil Support Team, which is a military division asset that provides support to local communities in a bio-chemical terrorism type of event.

BHS southeast area field officer Ken Fagnant said they stage these drills across the state every year to make sure local and state response teams know how to efficiently work together.

"Anything can happen, anytime, any place," Fagnant said. "This exercise scenario is to practice, not only dealing with the emergency response and dealing with the needs of those patients, but also identifying the agent, identifying the cause, and bringing together the right assets to be able to determine exactly what it is they are dealing with and what's the best remediation."

Fagnant said it's important to practice this full-scale drill in public universities with a large international student body population.

"If it were to turn out that such an event were terrorist-related, domestic or otherwise, that potential is always there," he added.

ISU Public Safety director Steve Chatterton said he is glad they have this opportunity to iron-out all of the kinks ahead of time.

"Today we discovered there is a delay in our external emergency notification system," Chatterton said. "So, it was good for us to identify that so we can overcome that for future events."

He said the external emergency notification system (or, the loud speakers) is set-off by a computerized system which determines the order in which the various emergency notification systems around campus should be activated.

He said today's delay will have them now activate the loud speakers manually instead of relying on the computer to do that in the future.

Both Chatterton and Fagnant said overall, the response by all of the involved response teams was fantastic and their performance will be reviewed this week.

comments powered by Disqus

Most Popular Stories

Top Stories