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May 2, 2012 5:51 PM by Lacey Steele

Responders react during Pueblo emergency drill

On alert and out in full force!

Crews respond to two emergencies in Pueblo County, but it's all only a drill.

We found out there will be a grade.

"The Emergency Operation Center is the nerve center of the entire exercise," said Kirk Taylor, Pueblo County Sheriff.

Nearly 600 people participate in a county-wide emergency drill.

It began inside the Emergency Operation Center, known as the EOC.

"So it gives us the ability to coordinate from a small are with key players," said Taylor.

People like police, fire, and medical deploy crews to emergencies.

"We train systematically with our partners in public safety and the school districts, so this really is a culmination of that training each year," said Taylor.

The first fake call came in about a fire at the Pueblo Chemical Depot, and shortly after that, they received information of a second incident.

"We just received notification from Pueblo West, we have a structural collapse at one of the schools," said Carl Ballinger, head of CSEPP, during the mock drill. "There are several injured. At this time we're going to go ahead and do a full activation of the EOC."

"We don't know what the exercise is going to entail, so once it's dropped on us, we're evaluated on how we respond and what resources we have available," said Taylor.

They constantly call people in the community and keep a log of everyone who's been notified because they understand every minute matters.

At noon, alarm systems were tested near the depot.

They would go off if in case of a real chemical weapon emergency.

There used to be several sites across the country for these drills, but not anymore.

"When I came on board there were eight," said Taylor. "There are two currently active where they're destroying chemical agents across the country. Pueblo County is one, and Bluegrass Kentucky is the other."

The emergency response agencies involved will receive their evaluation within a few weeks.

 

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