Chemical stockpile emergency preparedness drill at EKU in Richmond

Posted at 5:00 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 17:00:45-04

RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18) — When seconds count do emergency personnel in Madison County have what it takes to respond? Their goal Wednesday was to prove they do.

They participated in an exercise through the chemical stockpile emergency preparedness program also known as CSEPP.

Think of what they're doing inside the Emergency Operations Center as preparing for the worst case scenario. In this case, a chemical accident at the Blue Grass Army Depot.

Throughout the day, evaluators watched how workers reacted to the mock scenarios as they handled everything from transportation to communication with the public.

"These types of exercises are meant to test our plans, our procedures," said Dustin Heiser, EMA and Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Director.

"We're being proactive, instead of reactive, in case of the chemicals ever got off base," said Madison County Judge-Executive Reagan Taylor.

Ten counties in central Kentucky joined the annual emergency exercise, including Fayette County.

Hundreds of people in total rehearsing what they would do in a real disaster.

"That's the goal of the CSEPP program, provide maximum protection to its citizens," said Heiser.

The chemical agents at Blue Grass Army Depot should be destroyed by the end of 2023 so these specific exercises won't be necessary.

But officials say the lessons learned will apply to nearly any disaster.

"It prepares us working together as a team, knowing our resources, where those resources are, and how we can appropriately deploy them," said Heiser.