No accident: Mock emergency drill takes place Saturday in Rifle |

No accident: Mock emergency drill takes place Saturday in Rifle

RIFLE, Colorado – Passers-by need not worry when they see what appears to be a collision between a semi-truck and two school buses in the parking lot of the Rifle Fire Department Saturday afternoon.

What the mock crisis drill will do is provide crucial training for emergency response agencies when it comes to ensuring consistency in response, communications and equipment, according to the organizing agencies.

The drill will take place between noon and 5 p.m. Saturday at the main fire station in north Rifle. It is being organized by the Garfield School District Re-2, in conjunction with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the Rifle Fire and Police departments, the Grand River Hospital District and other surrounding emergency service agencies.

The scenario will include a multi-vehicle collision involving a semi-truck and two school buses.

“Citizens driving in the area of Railroad Avenue or White River Avenue near the Rifle Fire Department during this event need to be advised that this is only an exercise and not an actual incident,” according to a statement from the Re-2 school district.

Multiple agencies and more than 125 volunteers, including Re-2 students and members of the Garfield County 4-H Club, will be involved. Some participants will be dressed in full moulage make-up for triage and training purposes.

The event is designed to give agencies a chance to work together and fine-tune their response to a mass casualty or large scale event before it happens.

“This mock crisis is a great opportunity for Garfield Re-2 to build relationships with our emergency service organizations, and to prepare in the event of a real crisis,” Garfield Re-2 Superintendent David Smucker said. “We will be seeking a better understanding into the incident command system, as well as testing our resources in the areas of logistics, student information and communications.”

Just like a real incident, information about the accident and confirmation of injuries and casualties will be given to the news media as it becomes available.

“These types of drills are a vital part of the incident command system, which has been implemented to aid in the efficiency of responding agencies and the safety of the community,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said. “Consistency throughout Garfield County in response to events like this is critical to everyone involved.”

Adds Bill Hodgden of the Rifle Fire Department, “Mass casualty incidents are not very common in our area; therefore we need to train so when they do happen we are able to perform at our very best level.”

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