MASON COUNTY — The Mason County LEPC will be conducting a county public safety exercise on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until approximately noon, weather dependent, according to a news release from R.C. Faulk, Public Information Officer for the LEPC.
Each year, the LEPC partners join with a different host fire department and host industrial facility to have the required county exercise. The host fire department for this year is Point Pleasant VFD, with support from the Mason Volunteer Fire Department, and the host facility is ICL-America, Gallipolis Ferry Plant.
“We have developed an exercise plan that provides for the engagement of all three traditional public safety entities (law, fire, ems), public and private sector support agencies, as well as industrial facilities in different parts of Mason County each year,” Faulk said. “This allows all public safety partners to have an opportunity to be engaged two years back-to-back, all while having the opportunity to work with other agencies that may not normally work with each other. These types of exercises also allow for our industrial partners to have an opportunity to exercise emergency preparedness and response operating guidelines that are specific to that facility.”
The LEPC exercise planning team is made up of a core group of exercise planners who meet several times a month for approximately five months to develop the scenario and plan for its delivery. Representatives on the planning team include representation from fire, law, hospital and industry. This core group of exercise planners are not participants in the exercise, according to Faulk, as this may give an unfair advantage to a particular department if they were to know exactly the scenario details before the event unfolds.
“The LEPC would like the general public to be aware of the events that will be occurring on the morning of the exercise,” said Faulk. “The exercise will occur on and around the property of ICL-America. Those in the area on the morning of the exercise should not be surprised to see heavily armed law enforcement officers, low hovering aircraft, large barrels tipped over, a large amount of heavy black smoke, white smoke, multiple fire engines, and some may hear small explosion type noises from the exercise area. All of the events of the exercise are planned events and are under the watchful eye of exercise evaluators and controllers.”
Faulk continued, “The exercise planning team puts in a lot of work to make the county exercise a success, but without our partners like ICL-America in Gallipolis Ferry, and its staff and administration, we could not begin to develop the multi-discipline exercise that we will be hosting Saturday. They have been fantastic partners and we look forward to conducting our exercise at their facility.”
For questions about the exercise at ICL-America, the public can call for more information at 304-675-1150 during normal business hours.