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Don’t panic: Homeland activity in Athens a test

By Holly Hollman · 340-2445

ATHENS — To our readers who like listening to a scanner: Note on your calendars the word “exercise” for Tuesday.

That also goes for parents with students attending the Limestone Career Technical Center and motorists who use Sanderfer Road in the afternoon and evening hours.

Expect to hear chatter on the scanner about a homeland security emergency at the school, and for emergency vehicles to clog Sanderfer Road.

That’s because on Tuesday, emergency officials will conduct a homeland security emergency exercise at the tech school.

Those involved

Athens-Limestone Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Daphne Ellison said she couldn’t reveal too many details about the exercise, but it will involve law enforcement, fire personnel and medical responders.

It could include blocking Sanderfer Road west of U.S. 31, where the school is located.

The exercise will take place when school is not in session, but some students from the school’s health and medical courses will participate.

The EMA received a $100,000 state homeland security grant to do the training. The county hired Lee Helms Associates to conduct the mock emergency.

“Our contractor will have a certified evaluator there to make sure our plans and policies work, and tell us if something doesn’t work,” Ellison said.

Ellison said the exercise will be as realistic as possible. It will start with the 911 call, go through 911 dispatching needed responders, and include those responders controlling the scene and dealing with victims.

The exercise could last several hours.

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