A simulated nerve gas outbreak exercise was conducted at the Prowers Fairgrounds Wednesday evening, March 21. Lamar Police set up temporary roadblocks to the entrances of the fairgrounds shortly before 7pm, while various emergency response teams conducted the training drill.
Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook explained the outline of the drill, saying the simulation reproduced a scenario in which a nerve gas, supposedly concocted by a high school student during a chemistry class, was released on board a school bus. The various emergency teams were to offer immediate assistance in light of potential exposure to a nerve gas, Sarin. While a school bus was not available for the drill, Darren Glover, director of PATS was on hand with a donated vehicle in which four student volunteers were seated.
While in protective gear, the fire department crews removed the students from the bus, on-at-a-time, and took them through various scrub-down stations and on to awaiting ambulances.
Cook remarked that while Sarin was not a likely scenario that would be encountered, the same procedures would be put into use for other hazard material exposure. Last month in Baca County, a tank of liquid anhydrous ammonia began to leak on the highway due to ruptured valves when a trailer’s axle broke and the tank hit the pavement. Several homes were evacuated from the area while hazmat responders secured and cleaned the area.
These exercises are scheduled periodically to train responders for various emergencies. Last year, a drill at the Lamar high school simulated an accident due to teenagers driving and texting at the same time.
By Russ Baldwin
Filed under: community, County, Health, Lamar, News, Public Safety, School, Transportation, Youth · Tags: anhydrous ammonia, Danny Glover, Lamar Ambulance Service, Lamar Fire Department, Lamar Police Department, Marshall Cook, PATS, Prowers Rural Fire Department, Sarin Nerve Gas