Emergency Drill Held in West Memphis Prepares Officials

December 17, 2005 -- Posted at 6:34 p.m. CST


JONESBORO, AR -- A radiation drill held Saturday in West Memphis brings together police, fire, and emergency response teams from across the area.  The teams worked together as one to find out how they will react in the case of this type of emergency.


“This is probably one of the choke points in the nation as far as hazardous material coming through or radiation… no drill has ever been done like this in the area,” said Crittenden County Coordinator for Emergency Management Ronny Rogers.


The stage was set with a four vehicle accident with eleven students from Marion serving the injured.  The accident involved a spill of low density radiation… along with  two terrorists.


“(The) Federal Government gives us Homeland Security funds for types of incidents that we have like this, plus we get to use other contractors in other states to help train us,” said Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Spears.


Saturday’s training drill will cost about 30,000 dollars, but Rogers says it is money well spent.  “This is east and west and north and south… this is the main point for all transportation,” said Rogers, “We have the river, we have the rail we have air with Fed Ex and then we have the trucking industry.”


“We just try to prepare ourselves if we have something of this magnitude so we both can utilize one another,” said Spears.


You never know when a radiation spill or terrorist attack will happen, but being ready for it is key.  “When you have an incident this big or like you had in Louisiana, different  agencies all come together,” said Spears.


And those agencies all need to be trained in the same way.


“This is something new that we're trying and trying to train so that if something like this does happen we'll be trained to take care of it,” said Rogers.