Colleton County Fire-Rescue


20/April/2021 - Disaster Drill

Colleton County participated in the Statewide Disaster Drill that ran through the week of 19-April. Agencies have been preparing for the Statewide drill for nearly a year. Many agencies participated with all aspects of Disaster Management and involved the military, state and local governments. The bulk of the drill took place in Charleston and Orangeburg Counties. Colleton County's portion involved a detonated explosive device on a rail car at the Balchem Chemical Plant in Green Pond. The large simulated explosion resulted in damage to the plant, the CSX rail and closed ACE Basin Parkway (US Hwy 17). There were 18 simulated casualties, with ten of those being deceased. Emergency crews had to handle the triage of the patients, coordinate the treatment and transport of the injured to hospitals outside of the region, due to the Charleston area being closed from simulated incidents occurring there on Monday. Due to the chemicals involved, Fire-Rescue's HazMat Team responded to mitigate the situation and decontaminate the viable patients prior to transport to a medical facility. Law Enforcement, State and County DOT were involved to coordinate the traffic management with ACE Basin Parkway being closed. This also played into the Statewide problem of several major interchanges in Charleston and Orangeburg being closed from incidents on Monday. All information was channeled through the State Emergency Operations Center in Columbia. Several different aspects of the drill took place on different days. The recovery group performed their tasks on Thursday and a simulated disruption in the Statewide radio system will be played out on Saturday as Emergency Responders utilize backup systems to communicate. As with most Disaster Drills, this was a good practice session and several areas of improvement were identified. State EMD personnel were on-site to assist with the drill.