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Montgomery County Fairgrounds Home To Full Scale Emergency Disaster Training

Montgomery County Fairgrounds Emergency Disaster Simulation
Jerry Kenney
Montgomery County Fairgrounds Emergency Disaster Simulation

Early on Wednesday, the Montgomery County Fairgrounds was transformed into the aftermath of a terror attack. The scene was part of a special public health training designed to give Miami Valley first responders a chance to practice for a real-world attack. The exercise harnessed an army of actors to simulate what might happen after a chemical, biological, or nuclear strike.

Just 24 hours after a nuclear detonation near Dayton Ohio, a detection portal, which is similar to an airport metal detector, sounds an alarm notifying emergency personnel radiation has been detected on a survivor of the blast. Nearby, first responders in orange and yellow safety vests standy by to help. They rush the victim to a nearby tent for immediate decontamination.

Montgomery County Fairgrounds
Credit Jerry Kenney

Hundreds of first responders in orange and yellow safety vests stand ready to assist more victims with other injuries.

This scene, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, is a replication  what’s called a Community Reception Center or CRC that would be set up in populated areas in the event of a nuclear blast or radioactive event.

Dan Suffoletto with Public health Dayton and Montgomery County says more than 200 actors or victim volunteers, fire and EMS first responders, and public health officials took part in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored exercise.

“What we try to do is practice for all different types of scenarios,” he said, "and we have an emergency management team that's always working through what could possibly happen. Obviously we hope this never happens and if it did it would be extremely devastating, so we want to make sure we're ready just in case.”

A full-scale emergency training was also planned for El Paso, Texas on Wednesday.

Suffoletto says federal health agencies will assess the results of both simulations and use what they learn to refine first responder preparedness procedures for use around the country.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.