It is the stuff nightmares are made of – a tornado strikes a local company, the power is out, people are injured and missing, some are trapped beneath heavy equipment, the building is full of smoke from a possible fire sparked by the storm.
Fortunately, although a call describing this very scenario came into Grove dispatch last Friday, it was only a drill.
The exercise in disaster preparedness, which involved area emergency workers including Grove EMS, Grove Police, the Grove Fire Department and Delaware County Emergency Management, took place at 10 a.m. at Precision Machine located on Industrial Park Road in Grove.
“We were wanting to test our emergency plan,” explained Precision Business Developer and acting Press Liaison Jerry Cook. “The only way to do that is to plan a situation as true to life as possible. This exercise will tell us how our internal emergency personnel will respond in a real life disaster.”
Delaware County Emergency Management set up a makeshift command post at the site.
Bottled water was distributed to emergency workers and evacuated personnel.
Meanwhile, Grove firefighters and Precision personnel prowled the eerily dark interior of the factory in full gear, sweeping the premises with their flashlights in search of injured workers.
Three people were “injured” and emergency workers attended to their wounds. Another person suffered a “heart attack.”
Grove Assistant Police Chief Dan Hinman said the participating agencies wanted to cover all the possibilities.
“We want to make sure everyone is prepared for whatever comes up,” Hinman said.
He noted that dispatchers and the people who made the emergency call were given a script to follow so that everyone knew it was not an actual emergency.
“We were still doing our regular jobs, of course,” he noted. “So we had to make sure that everyone knew exactly what was going on.”
Businesses in the area were also notified of the exercise ahead of time.
Hinman said that the exercise went “very smoothly.
“We were very pleased with how well everyone responded and worked together,” he added.