Captain: Agencies working together in emergency drill was ‘awesome to witness’

Local first responders, along with the Kemmerer Mine Operations Rescue Team, participate in an emergency training south of Kemmerer on Sunday, Sept. 10. (COURTESY PHOTO)

KEMMERER — A mock emergency drill was held in Kemmerer, on Sunday, Sept. 10, with the Kemmerer Mine Operations Rescue Team. Other agencies that participated in the joint operation includuded South Lincoln EMS, Kemmerer Volunteer Fire Department, Lincoln County Search and Rescue, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Kemmerer Police Department and the Diamondville Police Department.

The rescue team at the Kemmerer mine trains weekly on-site and once a quarter they have a joint training. Kemmerer Mine Operations Safety Manager Kris Clarke said, “We wanted to see how our communication would go in a mock mass casualty event and let everyone show off their skills.”   

Air Methods, a medical emergency transport service, landed a helicopter south of town where training commenced. The company provided the helicopter free of charge, and lessons included how to be safe around a helicopter and how to assist in loading patients.   

Joe McGuire, captain of the mine rescue team, coordinated the event.

“We had a great turnout and the event went off without a hitch,” he said. “Air Methods had excellent training in the morning with the aircraft and flight crew. They are proactive about education and training.”

After the morning training, the helicopter landed at the medical center in town where there was a mass-casualty reenactment held at Archie Neil Park.

Kemmerer Operations personnel were the first to enter the scene. After they finished checking patients, others moved in to help, setting up triage areas with needed resources. Mine employees are trained in rope rescue and were tasked with lowering a patient off a 20-foot wall during the mock emergency. 

Clarke said the training went well and everyone was dedicated to their job.

“It is good to do these and learn how to communicate better,” Clarke said. “Communication is critical, but it tends to fail so it is important to learn to communicate better.”

McGuire said, “The mock mass casualty in the afternoon was an eye opener. I think we had some awesome takeaways that will serve the local emergency responders. The dynamic between the different agencies was awesome to witness. … In the event of a mass casualty, the ability of different organizations to work together is important to save as many people as possible. The better prepared you are the better the outcome is going to be.”

This was the first joint effort mock emergency, and it may become an annual event.

“Everyone that was in the training said they wanted to do this mock emergency training yearly,” he said.

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