Emergency officials to test response in large-scale exercise


Jackson County Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security will conduct a full-scale exercise from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at Seymour High School.

The exercise will involve mock injuries, an evacuation of the school and relocation of students.

“This is an opportunity for our local first responders to utilize and evaluate their policies, procedures and skills in a staged non-life-threatening environment,” said Duane Davis, director of Jackson County EMA and Office of Homeland Security. “It’s an opportunity for them to train together so we can identify our strengths and areas of improvement.”

The public should not be alarmed by all of the emergency vehicles at the school that day, he said.

“You’ll see a number of emergency vehicles in and around the high school on Thursday,” he said. “There is no emergency. People should not panic. This is a planned exercise, so no one needs to call 911 to ask what is going on.”

Davis said the county will utilize the Everbridge mass notification system to inform residents of the exercise. That system sends texts, phone messages and emails to those who are signed up for the free service.

Residents may sign up for the Jackson County Citizen Alert program at jacksoncounty.in.gov or by calling Jackson County EMA at 812-358-6110.

Thursday’s exercise also will give Seymour Community School Corp. officials the opportunity to practice their response to a situation they hope never happens.

After the exercise, a news briefing will be from 10:30 to 11 a.m. to allow the media to have an active role. Davis said he has invited local newspapers and television news stations to the event.

“It is our desire to have media present and ask questions related to the event as if it really happened,” Davis said. “This allows our local officials to conduct an organized press briefing and gain experience in delivering the appropriate message.”

In 2015, Davis and other emergency responders organized a staged school shooting at Bulleit Stadium at Seymour High School using students and police officers as actors.

Local police, ambulance medics and firefighters all participated along with Seymour Community School Corp. and Schneck Medical Center.

This year’s activity will include the schools, Seymour police and fire departments, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services and Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Davis said.

By identifying areas of strengths and weaknesses, each agency has the opportunity to turn its weaknesses into strengths, he said.

“They have an opportunity to evaluate their policies, plans and procedures to meet their objectives to do their jobs better,” he said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Full-scale emergency exercise involving local first responders

When: 9 a.m. to noon Thursday

Where: Seymour High School

Information: Call Duane Davis at 812-358-6110


No posts to display