Emergency planning

First responders in Winchester-Clark County were front and center Wednesday for the county’s annual preparedness exercise as part of the Community Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program (CSEPP).

According to Clark County Emergency Management Director Gary Epperson, the exercise went smoothly and Federal Emergency Management Agency observers were impressed by how well the city and county agencies worked together and shared information.

The exercise also allowed agencies to test a new method of gaining perspective when an emergency strikes utilizing a drone owned by the Clark County Fire Department.

“We were able to get a live video stream sent straight to the (Emergency Operations Center) for the directors of each agency to see,” Epperson said. “That ability can be very useful in an emergency scenario when we need to allocate resources or examine damage in an area.”

He said agencies were also able to experiment with new ways of communicating through social media.

The annual CSEPP exercise is conducted in preparation for a possible chemical weapons leak at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County. The depot is one of only two remaining sites where the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile has been stored for demilitarization.

In the event of a leak at the depot, Madison County residents may be required to evacuate to surrounding counties, including Clark County.