On December 1st, multiple local and state agencies responded to the scene of a train accident and hazardous materials release near Threadmill Road in Dalton. Fortunately, both the accident and the chemical spill were simulated.
Each year, agencies in northwest Georgia participate in a disaster drill to test emergency preparedness, and every two years, that simulation involves a chemical release. In this year's scenario, first responders are dispatched to the scene of a collision between a box truck carrying phosphoric acid and caustic soda. As part of the simulation, volunteers played the part of neighboring residents who were either victims of the collision or bystanders contaminated by the spill. Two of the contaminated individuals were Dalton Police officers, who became contaminated when they were the first to arrive on the scene of the accident. Firefighters quickly arrived, helping victims and identifying the source of the chemical spill and the type of chemicals involved. The Whitfield County Emergency Management Agency then got involved, bringing the Mobile Command Unit to the scene, where members of other agencies could coordinate the emergency response. The simulated victims were "decontaminated" at the scene, and transported to Hamilton Medical Center where they were "treated".
While the final reports from observers from the University of Georgia weren't immediately available, all involved pronounced the December 1st exercise a success. Simulations like this one involve a comprehensive review by members of the responding agencies so any mistakes, no matter how minor, can be corrected to ensure better response in the event of an actual emergency.
To watch video from the December 1st exercise, click "Play" in the window below:
To read the Dalton Daily Citizen's report on the disaster drill, Click Here.
To read the Chattanooga Times-Free Press' report on the disaster drill, Click Here.