Multi-State Drill Is Successful For Wood County

By: Brittany Lowe Email
By: Brittany Lowe Email

From Wheeling straight down to Huntington, including West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky.

It was a mutli-state drill running along the Ohio River with more than ten different agencies plus private sectors.

It's about preparing for a terrorist attack or disaster.

"Things occur which you can not prepare for and that's what today is about," explains Wood County Sheriff Jeff Sandy.

It took helicopters, boats, and lots of communication.

"We're using this as an opportunity to continue to build collaborative relationships," says Deputy Director of CIP Programs, Bill Minear.

Federal, state, and local authorities put their best teams forward preparing for the worst case scenario.

"In Wood County, we have such an interesting area, we have the river and we have other infrastructures that many places throughout the country do not have. So this is looked upon as a very important training exercise because of the items that we have here," says Sheriff Sandy.

Items like the river, bridges, and chemical plants.

Private sectors became just as involved further developing communication with the different agencies.

"We need to be able to work with the private sectors because we have one goal in mind and that is to protect life and if a terrorist attack occurred, we would need our private sector partners to make sure that we prevent loss of life," says Sheriff Sandy.

"Certainly this gives us the opportunity to test and verify if those relationships are strong and if the plans we have in place to protect the community certainly from a security stand-point," explains the DuPont Senior Safety and Security Consultant, Arnie Green.

Helicopters made their rounds across the valley taking pictures and reviewing high risk areas.
Those areas include plants, such as DuPont, who also participated in the multi-state drill, adding in their perspective and communications.

"We'll be using an air asset as an opportunity to relay information back to a central command center that may run a little bit quicker than driving it or some other mechanism," explains Green.

While the Sheriff's Office, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources and TSA who took to the river... viewing and analyzing future threats.

"How we exchange information in times of need and it doesn't need to be disastrous or emergency, it's our ability to have already committed an established, trusting relationships so that we can provide a continued outreach to the entire community," says Minear.

All communication goes through the Wood County 9-1-1 Mobile Command Unit.

"It will be transmitting and coordinating the radio's conversations from all the various different agencies and also they are the center hub for receiving the video and photographs which will come from toady's exercise," explains Sheriff Sandy.

This unit keeps track of all responders and collects the information in a central location.

"It is very important they keep track of all of the communications, they'll keep track of the event all of this will be recorded as one event for the day and all the information will be recorded and made available to the agencies," says Assistant Director of Wood Count 9-1-1, Carl Sizemore.

Also participating in Wood County included the FBI, Parkersburg Police Department, Homeland Security, West Virginia Department of Transportation, and many more.

All information is then sent to Washington DC to be analyzed.

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