SWEETWATER COUNTY – The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sweetwater County Emergency Management, recently hosted a comprehensive training exercise with first responders, industry representatives, local government, and public health, transportation and safety officials from across Southwest Wyoming.
Within the past two years, approximately 154 emergency management and response personnel from across the state have participated in this and similar training as part of a series of simulated exercises designed to gauge local responders’ capabilities and skills in properly managing and resolving a variety of wide-scale critical incidents.
An initiative of the United States Department of Energy’s Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program, and in coordination with the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security, the focus of today’s training was to assess, evaluate and respond to a multivehicle accident on the interstate involving a shipment of radioactive material.
According to Emily Covey, the county’s emergency management coordinator, about three million shipments of radioactive material are transported over six million miles each year on public roads, railway, and ships across the country.
“It’s pretty eye-opening, but there’s actually a variety of different radiological materials and equipment that passes through our county on the interstate every single day,” Covey said. “So, it’s important that we take the time to plan, prepare, and practice for an event like so that we know exactly what to do if something like this happens here.”
“I’m proud to see all of these different agencies come together to ensure that we’re prepared as a community to effectively respond and resolve a critical incident like this, which unfortunately is a very real possibility here in Sweetwater County,” Sheriff John Grossnickle said. “Emily and her emergency management team has done a fantastic job in facilitating this training, and I want to thank everybody involved for coming together here at the sheriff’s office today to make this happen.”