McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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March 22, 2014

LEPC plans large scale emergency wildfire training event

McALESTER — Members of the Local Emergency Planning Committee talked about staging a large-scale wildfire training exercise during their meeting on Wednesday.

The Pittsburg County committee met for a regular monthly meeting at the Southeast Expo Center.

During the meeting, McAlester and county Emergency Management Director Kevin Enloe announced that planning will begin in the next few weeks for the largest-ever disaster training event in Pittsburg County.

He said the event will simulate a large-scale wildfire in the Kincaid Hills area.

“There is a real likelihood of something like this coming into fruition, and we need to be ready,” Enloe said.

During the exercise, local emergency personnel such as firefighters, ambulance drivers and paramedics, and police are encouraged to take part as if a disaster is taking place, according to Enloe. As part of the exercise, staged structure fires, and simulated injuries to and deaths of residents and firefighters are planned. The local hospital and other agencies are expected to take part, he said.

Although the events are carefully planned out, details are not revealed until they take place, Enloe said, to better test emergency responses.

“It will give everyone a real eye-opening experience,” he said.

After the training exercise, participants will gather for a “Hot Wash” to go over what they learned and what could be done differently, according to Enloe.

The LEPC meets at 2 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Southeast Expo Center. The meetings are open to the public.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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