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Local kids see how Colleton works in an emergency

About 200 students from Colleton County Middle School have toured the county’s Emergency Operations Center and acted as if they were in charge of the county during a simulated hurricane emergency.

The students are from Colleton County Middle School’s Palmetto New Tech program. They visited Colleton’s Emergency Operations Center on Friday, Feb. 8th and were given a tour of the recently-refurbished facility. They also saw how Colleton officials work with state leaders to recover from a natural disaster, like hurricane.

Colleton County Fire-Rescue’s Deputy Chief Dr. David Greene, along with CCFR Captain Janet Laney, conducted the tour for the students, explaining how the emergency system operates during a disaster or emergency call. The tour also included teaching students how the center uses representatives from area law enforcement agencies and fire-rescue personnel to help control a large-scale crisis.

“He covered how Colleton’s EOC (Emergency Operations Center) fits into the State’s Emergency Operations Plan (SCEMD), and ultimately with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA),” CCFR Chief Barry McRoy said, of Greene’s tour of the students.

McRoy said the students were very “inquisitive.”

“They have some very bright students in that program who asked some good questions,” he said. “Students had the opportunity to role-play by filling in the different Emergency Support Functions, and figuring out how to manage resources to help the community recover from a mock natural disaster, which was a simulated hurricane.”

After working in a mock hurricane situation, the middle school students then toured CCFR’s Hazardous Materials Unit. This tour was led by fire-rescue’s Battalion Chiefs Brent Dalton and Scott Feather. McRoy also helped the tour.

“The students tour both Hazardous Materials trucks, explored the equipment and saw how the weather plays a role in managing natural and manmade events that responders encounter every day,” said McRoy.

McRoy said it’s important for local students to understand how the county’s emergency operation systems work to showcase the “positive outcome” when everyone works together.

“Colleton County is a small piece of the puzzle in a large scale, statewide natural disaster. The students saw how we used resources from other areas to get Colleton running back to normal, and how we sent resources, like ambulances, fire trucks, boats, and firefighters, to help other counties recover.”

The center was recently refurbished to remove walls between the different departments of leaders. The facility now has an open-concept floor plan. Prior to the refurbishment project, everyone worked inside cubicles.

“People working in there can see one another and better communicate,” said McRoy, speaking about the center.

Heather Walters (1502 Posts)