Hale County EMA hosts tornado disaster drill

Disaster drill brings hundreds of first responders to Hale County
Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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HALE CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Hundreds of first responders attended a tornado drill on September 8, held by Hale County EMA to prepare for future disasters.

West Alabama has been hit hard by severe weather in 2022 two separate times.

“This is the largest disaster we ever have in our county -- is always a tornado,” said Russell Weeden, the Hale County EMA Director. That’s why it’s the focus for Hale County’s 15th disaster drill. In previous years, the drills have surrounded mass shootings or plane crashes.

The staged scene in Greensboro was disastrous with debris in trees, cars flipped over, along with power lines and trees down. Weeden has prepared for this drill for around five months.

“We have the whole park that looks like a F-5 tornado hit it,” he explained. “Every patient that I’ve come in contact with on a tornado is going to be patients in this drill.”

Real people are portraying patients and victims in the drill. Many of them are local high schoolers.

“We’re going to transport 58 victims tonight to our hospital for their surge capacity and for their triage,” said Weeden. “Our EMS is going to be triaging out in the field. So that’s important when there’s a tornado -- to get the worst victims to the hospital first.”

Besides the tornado drill, hundreds of first responders from seven different counties are attending classes to learn and grow. On the agenda, there were classes about EMS triage, nursing and hospital surges, first aid, car extrication, building clearing and tactics, and Hale County weather and tornadoes.

“We’re all playing on the same team whether you’re law enforcement, fire, EMS,” said Weeden. “We’re all first responders when a tornado happens and so I want to show our county and other counties how well we play together.”

Now many first responders are that much more ready to handle the unknown.

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