Pictured above is the Citizen’s Academy emergency management mock training for a tornado that hit in Imperial. From left, Duane Dreiling, Chase County Emergency Manager; Skip Kelley; fire department, Anne Kelley, Marisa Kunnemann and Joan Wenzlick discuss the situation. (Johnson Publications photo)

Mock disaster wraps up Citizen’s Academy program

    The first Citizen’s Academy program came to a close last Tuesday night. Skip and Anne Kelley organized the program to educate people in the community about what emergency responder departments actually do.
    There were five segments to the program. The first four nights were each led by a different emergency responder department.
    It began with the Imperial Volunteer Fire Department, continuing the following week with EMS, Imperial Police Department and the Chase County Sheriff’s Department.
    Citizen participants were instructed on what each department does. They were also given opportunities to perform certain functions that occur within that department.
    The fifth and final night was led by Chase County Emergency Manager Duane Dreiling.
    Skip Kelley, who is a member of the fire department, opened the training by introducing Dreiling and his position as emergency manager.
    He added that the final class would be very informative by bringing together everything that was taught on previous nights using two mock disasters on table-top scenarios.
    Kelley explained that by starting the Citizen’s Academy program, he hoped that people in the community would gain an awareness of the training responders go through to perform their jobs during an emergency.
    He also wanted to showcase the equipment each department has and the training required to use it.
Discussion, first demonstration
    Dreiling explained how his position was a type of hub for all the different emergency responders, not only in Chase County, but statewide when necessary. He said he has a team of 10 people who can be contacted to assist him with coordinating each of the departments as well as contending with immediate needs in the community in the case of a major disaster.
    He continued that he is also in direct contact with other emergency systems statewide in the event that Chase County would need further assistance or vice versa.
    In the first demonstration, a HAZMAT (hazardous materials) decontamination tent was set up in the classroom to demonstrate how it was used in the case of a dangerous chemical spill where humans come into contact with the chemical.
    Dreiling said there are three chambers inside the tent.
    The first chamber is where the victim removes all articles of clothing. The second chamber was the decontamination shower and the third chamber was where the individual puts on a sterile paper gown.
    Kelsey Weiss, a member on the emergency management team call list, demonstrated how the gown is put on after decontamination. All articles of clothing must then be destroyed, he said.
    The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA),  located in Lincoln, has agreements with over 10 locations in Nebraska where decontamination tents are stationed. Chase County is one of them because there are approximately seven chemical companies in the county alone, said Kelley.
    The “decon” tent is kept in its own trailer with additional supplies. This trailer can be hitched to a vehicle and taken anywhere it is needed.
Two mock scenarios
    Dreiling placed large maps of Imperial and Wauneta on a table where two different disaster scenarios were played out using toy-size emergency vehicles.
    The first mock disaster to be played out was a large tornado hitting the town of Imperial.

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