“Victim” Anna Busey is loaded into the waiting VCAD ambulance at the annual Vernon County emergency preparedness exercise at NEVC High School Tuesday afternoon.


First responders converged on the Northeast Vernon County High School in Walker on Monday afternoon for Vernon County’s annual Emergency Preparedness Exercise.

“This is probably one of the better drills as far as incident command,” Vernon County Emergency Management Director Dennis Kimrey said. “I was happy to see we had a command post — you could see it was a command post. We had EMS and fire at the command post.”

Deputy sheriff Travis Cole and Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Wilde were the first to arrive on the scene of the simulated explosion and begin assessing the situation. They found nearly two dozen “victims” played by students of NRTC Practical Nursing class No. 54. The victims were scattered around the back of the high school as a result of a “gas explosion in the kitchen,”

Walker Rural Fire Department arrived and after “securing the gas leak” began searching for and treating “victims.” Each victim had a card that told first responders what their injuries were. There were numerous “walking wounded,” several critical patients and a few fatalities.

Firefighters and an ambulance crew from Vernon County Ambulance District began sorting out the high-priority patients that needed to be transported first — two were packaged on spine boards and loaded into a waiting ambulance.

The entire exercise took approximately one and one-half hours.

Also participating in the exercise but not at the scene was Nevada Regional Medical Center.

“We’ve had everything from chemical burns to meth labs, school bus accidents,” Kimrey said of past exercises. “All different types of scenarios. Active shooters.”

This year’s exercise was planned by representatives from NEVC, NRMC, Heartland Behavioral Health Services, VCAD and Vernon County Office of Emergency Management.

“It gives them an opportunity to look at their plans,” Kimrey said of NEVC. “If the school had been evacuated one of the biggest things is accountability — can we account for everyone that is here.”

Kimrey said these exercises allow entities to evaluate plans and make needed changes prior to the occurrence of an actual emergency.

“Probably our hardest thing on exercises is coming up with something different,” he said. “The whole point behind this exercise is to go back and look at your plans and figure out what you need to improve. There is no such thing as a perfect exercise.”

By Gabe Franklin | Daily Mail