Franklin Co. emergency responders practice for disaster

September 18, 2010|By DANA BROWN
  • Craig Myers, Franklin County Department of Emergency Services operations and training officer, right, explains evacuation procedures Saturday to Benjamin Wilt and Hannah Wilt during a practice drill at Faust Jr. High School in Chambersburg.
By Dana Brown,

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Preparation and practice was the focus of the Franklin County Department of Emergency Services' evacuation and sheltering drill Saturday at Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg.

More than 50 volunteers from the county's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), County Animal Response Team (CART), Franklin County American Red Cross Disaster Relief Team and the community received real-time training during the 18-hour mock evacuation.

The scenario was this: A category 2 hurricane was moving inland with winds up to 150 mph and capable of moving a mobile home. The storm was expected to hit the county in four hours. Residents of a mobile home park were in the direct path of the storm and needed to be evacuated to safety.

CERT was given the task of contacting all residents of the mobile home park to inform them of the need to evacuate their homes and providing information about where residents should seek shelter. CERT members recorded the names of people living at each residence so their whereabouts could be tracked. Back at the shelter, CERT served as a support agency to the other participating agencies.


CART's responsibility was to provide care for the residents' animals while there were at the shelter.

The Red Cross set up the shelter and provided bedding and food to the evacuees until the authorities deemed it safe for them to return to their homes.

"This drill is basically to show us where our strengths and weaknesses are," said Craig Myers, Franklin County Department of Emergency Services operations and training coordinator. "Then, we can build on our strengths and improve our weaknesses."

"You never know when something is going to happen, but we'll know how to go about it and what to do," CERT member Carol Young said. "We've got your back."

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