Friday afternoon, October 28, 2o16, a hazardous material/school evacuation exercise was organized by the Caldwell County Emergency Management Office. This was a multi-agency training exercise including the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department, Yadkin Valley Volunteer Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Happy Valley School staff, the Caldwell County School District, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department, Caldwell Memorial Hospital, Blue Ridge Energies, Lenoir Amateur Radio Club, Caldwell County CERT, and the Hibriten Fire Academy. Specialized Consulting assisted with the design and evaluation of the exercise.
The scenario was the crash of a propane tanker truck on the road next to Happy Valley School resulting in a significant propane leak and injuries. In reality, it was an early release day for the students of Happy Valley School, so no children were at the site of the exercise. The purpose of the training exercise was to contain the release and damage of the propane gas to people and the environment, safe and timely evacuation and reunification of school students and staff, and treatment and transport of injured victims.
A “hot wash” debriefing followed the exercise at the Patterson Fire Department. Kenneth Teague, Caldwell County Emergency Management Officer, described the exercise as a successful demonstration of the expertise and training of those involved, and an opportunity to learn.
Caldwell County CERT volunteers participated in event communications through Lenoir Amateur Radio Club, moulage artistry to make victims appear realistically injured, victims, and photographic documentation of the event.