GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – From the ground and air, Greenville County first responders are preparing for emergencies.
“This training is absolutely critical to ensure we know how to respond to incidents in the event that they unfortuantely do occur,” said Lt. Ryan Flood with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
This week, Greenville County firefighters, EMS, SWAT, bomb and hazmat teams are running through different scenarios to ensure they can respond to an incident involving weapons of mass destruction.
“We’re simulating an incident in a school,” explained Greenville County Emergency Management Deputy Director Pierce Womack. “The victims and the responders both need to be decontaminated to try to get whatever that chemical is off of them.”
Not only do teams have to go through different scenarios, they have to practice communicating with each other.
“We want that unified approach,” said Womack. “We want law enforcement, the fire department, EMS and partners with volunteer organizations, like the Red Cross, working together as quickly and efficiently as possible to preserve life, get folks to safety and get that threat eliminated.”
Greenville County’s first responders are not strangers to one another. They worked together last Thursday when they were called to a deadly shooting at Tanglewood Middle School.
“I think you see the importance of training as it played into Tanglewood last week and that we are responding appropriately and making sure everyone is safe from an incident that could be catastrophic,” said Flood.
“When you look back at events like that, training like this plays a big factor, added Womack. “There were locations around the school where staging was set up for resources to keep them [students] safe but keep them close by. A command post was set up so all of the agencies were talking together.”
The first responders understand the skills they learn at training could be crucial in helping them save lives.
“As a big team, you get rid of the logo and title, and everyone works together the best as possible during events like this,” said Womack.
Training exercises will continue Thursday at the Old Waddell Bus Center. Residents can expect to see law enforcement and equipment in the area.