Colleton County Fire-Rescue


15 & 16 March/2024 - Statewide Exercise Continues
The Statewide Exercise (Disaster Drill) continued Friday and Saturday. On Friday 15-March, local responders conducted a mass casualty exercise at Colleton County High School. The exercise involved 40 injuries varying in severity. Students were not at the school Friday due to a teacher work day. The large facility poses many logistical challenges. Many local and state agencies participated including Law Enforcement, Fire-Rescue, SCDOT, City of Walterboro, Town of Edisto Beach, DNR, the Recreation Center, Colleton Medical Center, CARE Flight and surrounding hospitals and responders. Law Enforcement had to cover the large building and outside grounds, as well as secure the location and begin treating injured persons. Fire-Rescue mobilized multiple units to care for the injured, triage the patients and transport them to the appropriate care facilities. In addition to treating injured persons, Colleton Medical Center (CMC) coordinated with area hospitals to ascertain who can handle the large number of injured persons. CMC used the exercise as their annual disaster drill, evaluating their facility's capabilities and their area partners. The County 9-1-1 Center coordinated with neighboring Counties for additional resources and contributed greatly to coordinating with the public, responders and the multitude of resources requested to assist Colleton units. SCDOT set up simulated detours with equipment and sign boards. Staging areas were established as well as landing zones for medical helicopters on the activity fields at the school. CARE Flight responded to the school and landed on the practice field. An off site reunification point was established. Many of the aspects of the incident had been worked out well in advance and practiced over the years as table top exercises, but this was the first time the scenario was actually practiced in real time. Overall the activity ran well and several areas of improvement were identified.  
On Saturday 16-March, the state and local agencies practiced a communications failure caused by the simulated earthquake. Backup radio systems, HAM radios, satellite communications and alternatives to the internet were tested and practiced. The County mobile communications truck was used to practice a remote dispatching center. Fire-Rescue and the Sheriff's Office worked throughout the morning using alternative communications means to send messages and data throughout the state as well as communicate with surrounding governments and the State Emergency Operations Center in Columbia.