MIDDLE CREEK — Faux tragedy struck Thursday at the Middle Creek Battlefield, as emergency personnel simulated a gas line explosion leading to a mass casualties, during Floyd County Emergency Management’s Mock Disaster.
The scenario that played out was that a gas line had erupted while a Carl D. Perkins Job Corps group was visiting the battlefield site. The alert was sent out and 9:30 a.m. and fire, EMS, police and rescue units all responded to the scene to control the accident and see to the wounded.
Scott Young, enviromental officer with the Floyd County Health Department said the training exercise was beneficial to everyone involved, and would continue at St. Joseph Martin, where they would test their ability to handle a mass casualty flooding their emergency room. “We try to do this one thing so that everyone can test their systems,” Young said.
Young said Prestonsburg Elementary also used the event to test their lock-down procedures and protocols.
The nature of the mock disaster immediately drew comparisons to a 2004 explosion that rocked a residential neighborhood in Ivel, injuring several people.
Tim Gagle, area supervisor for Spectra Energy, was on site during the mock disaster. He said the transportation of natural gas by pipeline is one of the safest modes of transportation and the likelihood of such a rupture is extremely remote.
“What’s more likely to occur is someone not using the 811 hotline, and digging into a line,” Gagle said. He added that people should use the hotline before any digging. “Even setting a mail box post, there are telephone lines, power lines..”
“The 811 service is free, and its the law.”
Participants in Thursday’s mass casualty mock disaster included Prestonsburg Fire and Police, Middle Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Floyd County Emergency and Rescue Squad, Transtar Ambulance, the Floyd County Coroners office, Floyd County Emergency Management, Carl D. Perkins Job Corps, Prestonsburg Utilities, Spectra Energy, Prestonsburg Elementary School, and St. Joseph Martin Hospital.