Emergency Responders from across Mid-South Participate in Weapons of Mass Destruction Drill in Marion

August 02, 2004--Posted at 5:00 p.m. CDT

MARION--In the event that weapons of mass destruction are used in northeast Arkansas, emergency rescue teams are ready to protect and serve.

Today's exercise tested local emergency rescue teams response and reaction to a chemical disaster.

Rescuers have to make sure they know how to stay safe in order to aid victims.

"Once you go into the situation if you don't know what it is than you are going to lose your people. We're the first responders we can't do you any good, and once we're dead there is nothing else that can happen," said Crittenden County EMA Coordinator Ronny Rogers.

Today's scenario started with people watching a baseball game, and suddenly becoming ill and injured.

Victims start falling onto the ground, and panic turns to chaos.

A mock press conference is then held to brief the public.

The Emergency Management teams also held a mock press conference explaining the circumstances of the drill.

Emergency teams out here today will perform their duties just like they would in the event of a real weapons of mass destruction crisis.

That means even calling in the 61st platoon out of Little Rock who can determine what specific chemical was used.

Emergency management teams are preparing for every condition likely to occur.

"The wind was wrong so we had to use an alternate, and that way they throw things in so you can be prepared in case something happens,"said Rogers.

Officials say they don't hold these exercises to scare the community, they just want people to know the rescue teams are ready if duty calls......... but rest assured.......these teams are ready for action, and are up to the challenge.