Mock disaster drills for EMA help

first responders hone their skills

[Click on photos below to enlarge.]

[June 16, 2012]     Send a link to a friend

When disasters do occur, there are a number of agencies involved, some that one might not even think of. For example, when the white substance was discovered, it was the Logan County Department of Public Health that stepped up to the plate and took charge of finding out what it was and how to respond to it.

At the first news conference of the day, Nina Huddleston with the health department advised the media the substance found was anthrax. She was asked where it came from, how it made it into Lincoln, but that was one of those questions that if it had been fully answered, would have compromised any ongoing investigations.

Later in the day it would be learned that the anthrax was dropped from hot air balloons, as this entire set of scenarios was going on during the weekend of the balloon festival.

At the end of the day, Mark Hilliard, health department administrator, would be on the scene at a news conference, telling the public that emergency antibiotics were available to those who were ill.  He gave instructions on how families could obtain the needed medications.

Pictures by Nila Smith

Nina Huddleston of the health department talks to media about anthrax.

Mike Geriets, deputy police chief, shares what information he can with the public.



Reporters were told to put the public officials on the spot, ask hard questions, even be a bit pushy if need be. Here Snyder and Geriets work together to answer a question from the media.

While the rest of the news conference participants maintained their role-play,  EMA director Dan Fulscher zigzagged back and forth from real world to mock disaster, answering questions not only about the disaster at hand but also about how the various groups were doing in their training, as well as fielding questions about the planning for the drills.


Back at the fairgrounds, a new scenario is being set up. A chemical truck has been stolen and used to spray a noxious chemical around the perimeter of Scully Park during the art and balloon festival.

Lincoln Rural Fire Chief Chad Letterle prepares for the next drill.



Police are on the scene at Scully, and there are victims down already from the poison.

Donned in protective gear, first responders make their way through the "park," searching out those who have fallen ill.


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