First responders tackle disaster drill event


In this training exercise, a tanker carrying crude oil has crashed into a school bus with children on their way to a school event. The situation is very dangerous, and they need help from the surrounding community to get the situation under control.

“I’m pretty sure I’m like everybody else: you hate, hate sitting there, reading in a textbook. You want to get out and do it live. You learn more when you’re out in life,” says Tom Roering, Bowbells Fire Chief.

The Heartland Consulting Group officials coordinated the drill and followed the responders, checking in on their progress.

“They have a checklist of everything. They want to know if I’m going to be able to communicate with the other departments, and it’s just several different little scenarios that they throw at us,” says Roering.

Over 100 firefighters, EMTs, and police officers responded to those scenarios which included multiple injuries, leaks from the tanker, and fires from the crash.

“We had Kenmare come with the foam trailer. That’s the first time some of the guys have seen the foam trailer before, and they learn how to run the foam trailer, which we will utilize 100% of the time on oil fire,” says Roering.

This disaster experience is crucial for new recruits like Scott Tetrault, who has only been on the job for a month.

“It was a little nerve-wracking. I didn’t know what to do right away, just listened to what everybody told me to do and helped drag hoses out,” says Scott Tetrault, Firefighter.

Everyone faced each challenge with efficiency and caution.

“The most important thing is knowing that everyone is safe and going home at the end of the day,” says Tetrault.

The first responders felt the impact the real situation might have on them, despite the fact that it was only a drill.

“When you see an actual school bus, you’re feeling for the kids right there, right then. I mean, you want to make sure our children are safe. You know, that really gets you an adrenaline rush, even on training,” says Roering.

You can rest easy knowing that Burke County first responders feel more prepared to take on a similar real-life scenario.

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