East Texas officials participate in emergency response drill

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – On Friday, local and state emergency services had the opportunity to hone their skills in a realistic trauma simulation at Green Acres Baptist Church.

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The full-scale radio surge drill in Tyler brought together agencies from around East Texas for disaster exercises, using volunteer actors and students to act as the victims.

“A device was trigged of some variety. It was not real clear what the device released in the area of the band concert and so there were a number of injured people,” said Charles Clanton, Smith Co. ESD 2 Division Chief Of Training In Emergency Medical Services.

According to the Piney Woods Regional Advisory Council (RAC-G) website, they are a “non-profit, tax-exempt member organization comprising of 24 Hospitals, 18 EMS Providers, numerous Associate Members, Intermediate Care Facilities, Group Homes, Assisted Living, and most recently, Dermatologists.”

RAC-G sponsored the exercise with the goal of being ready to save lives.

“We can test everyone that participates, their abilities to respond in an incident like this and that way they can identify their strengths and areas that they need to improve,” Michael Johnson, Piney Woods Regional Advisory Council hospital preparedness manager, said.

More than 150 personnel from multiple agencies were a part of the drill including Christus, Tyler Police, and Smith County Fire.

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“They’ll go through the full process today of how one of these situations would be managed both from a response component and a recovery component,” Clanton said.

Emergency services treated about 200 volunteer actors.

“The ability to respond to something, get a command structure in place properly manage it, make sure what we’re dealing with, and then respond appropriately,” Clanton said.

Observers were also on sight to ensure all policies and procedures were followed.

“We are out there doing these exercises to better serve our community,” Johnson said.

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