McKenzie County emergency personnel conduct Hazardous Material Accident Simulation

Local News

Day in and day out authorities are working to keep the public safe, and oftentimes, that includes simulating specific scenarios to ensure the best response.

KX News got up close as officials conducted a Hazardous Material Accident Simulation.

As a first responder, you never know how severe a call may be before arriving. That’s why Karolin Jappe with the McKenzie County Emergency Management team is making sure responders are always on top of their game.

“Every few years we try to do a full-scale exercise within the county that brings all the different fire departments, quick response units, ambulances together, law enforcement to do a drill that’s larger than normal,” Jappe said.

Heartland Consulting and a grant from the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services help to make these types of events possible.

“We want to test our capabilities out to see where we need to improve, where we do good, where we may need a little help, what’re we missing, what can we bring to the table, what resources don’t we have and what we could use,” she said.

Jappe says about six months of planning went into making the hazardous material accident as real as possible with realistic blood and actual people. She says although some of their scenarios are unlikely to happen, it’s still good for everyone to stay ahead of the game.

“You know, we’re in the 21st century and you never know what to expect, things are changing as you’ve seen in the last six months with this country so it’s better to be prepared than not prepared and if you don’t train and see where your strengths and weaknesses are, in my opinion, you’re not preparing for the future,” she said.

Watford City Fire Department Chief David Uhlich told us Thursday’s event really brought out the best in him.

“I’ve never really been involved in a scene with this many moving parts or this many aspects of it but it definitely wakes you up and makes you think about keeping a broader view so you don’t get tunnel vision or you don’t get blindsided by anything that’s out there that’s a danger,” Uhlich said.

The training lasted about an hour and was followed by a briefing where Heartland Consulting coached everyone on the positives and negatives of the event.

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