Local News

Durham Preps For Potential Disasters

Posted August 1, 2001

— The images of students running out of Columbine High School, or firefighters rummaging through rubble after the Oklahoma City bombing, are indelible and frightening. Durham police, firefighters and even hospital workers want to be ready for a situation like that before it happens in the Bull City. So Tuesday night, they set up their own disaster drill.

Durham prepared a multifaceted exercise for emergency services, city and county fire departments. On day-to-day calls, these agencies might not have to work together, but in a mass casualty situation, they need to be coordinated, and that is where an operation like the one Durham officials coordinated can make all the difference.

"The biggest thing we were looking for was accountability, seeing how well we can triage these patients," said Capt. David Young. of the Durham Fire Department.

Even though it is not the real thing, just watching was hard for some parents.

"Well, it really made you think. My son was one of the ones that didn't make it and it kinda put cold chills down me like it's doing right now. It's scary, very scary," said parent Julie Wilson.

Rescue workers hope they will never be faced with a situation like this, but they say you cannot put a price on being prepared.

The agencies admitted that they came across some areas that need work. They hope to take what they learned Tuesday, and go back and make the necessary improvements.

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