On Wednesday morning, September 15, there will be a countywide, full-scale disaster exercise held at Tennessee Technological University, The Cookeville Surgery Center and Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Emergency responders will practice responding to these locations after they have been struck by a severe weather event. The goal of this drill is to practice searching, rescuing, stabilizing, transporting, and treating a large volume of patients at one time during adverse conditions. City and County agencies along with Tennessee Tech, The Cookeville Surgery Center and Cookeville Regional Medical Center will participate in the drill.
Tennessee Tech will test emergency communication systems and internal response procedures including activation of their tornado sirens and other emergency notification systems. At the TTU Tucker Stadium, Putnam County Rescues’ Structural Collapse Team will practice stabilizing a “collapsed” building with trapped individuals during the drill. Cookeville Regional Medical Center will simulate damage to the Emergency Room Entrances and set up a fully functional portable hospital tent in the North parking lot to receive the mock patients. The Cookeville Surgery Center will become a receiving station for the injured from TTU.
Mike Hellman, Public Information Officer for the Cookeville-Putnam County Emergency Management Agency, says “All emergency responders participate in these exercises to help build competence and confidence. This way should there be a major event in or around our area, we can respond in a quick and effective fashion, much like we did during last month’s floods.”
Many emergency vehicles will be in the area, but the public should not be alarmed. Officials are asking for everyone to avoid the immediate area from 8:30 until 11:30 that morning so the practice session will not be hindered. Tennessee Tech classes will proceed as normally scheduled. The Emergency Department at Cookeville Regional Medical Center will accept and treat patients as normal during the drill.
The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) consists of representatives from city, county, and state emergency agencies along with members from local businesses. If you would like more information, contact the EMA office at 528-7575.