2017-05-07 / Insight

County first responders hold tornado touchdown training exercise

HADLEY TWP. — Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna told the county board on Thursday that he’s seen a lot of mock disaster drills in his career, but nothing even close to the one he saw April 29 at Metamora-Hadley State Recreation Area.

“I’ve been doing this in Genesee County for many years,” McKenna told the board. “I’ve never, ever seen one done this well.”

The event was coordinated by the Lapeer County Emergency Management office.

Nearly 250 emergency services personnel and volunteers, including 31 from the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept., descended on the Metamora- Hadley State Recreation Area around 8 a.m. for a mock tornado that had touched down in the park and nearby Sutherland Nature Sanctuary.

“To see the different facets we had there, and the amount of work that went into it, I truly, truly was floored,” McKenna said, noting that he’s participated in 20 such drills throughout his career in law enforcement.

Among others on scene were North Branch’s Will Stanton (top right) and other member of Lapeer County’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) who set up a communications link near the park’s camp store, while American Red Cross volunteers set up temporary shelter at the old Hadley town hall.

Taylor Woolard of Davison (above) was among 30 nursing students and faculty Carmen Turkelson brought along from the University of Michigan- Flint, where she supervises the Simulation Center to add realism to the event.

Elba Township Fire Dept. Capt. Bob Harvey (center left) and Lapeer County EMS technician Mike Cleveland examine Brad Brys, a camper from St. Clair who volunteered to be a victim for the training event.

Dorice Dunn, (center right) a paramedic with the Hadley Township Fire Dept. sets up an incident command triage at the entrance to one of Metamora-Hadley’s camping areas. Ambulances from Medstar and Lapeer County EMS shuttled patients to the emergency room at McLaren Lapeer Region.

Police and firefighters spread out through the woods at the park where they found victims scattered among the underbrush. Elba Township firefighter Mariah Fredericks (bottom right) tags a “dead” Anna Maria Genovesi while other Elba Township firefighters prepare to move the Swartz Creek resident to a temporary morgue at the park.

Sgt. Don Brady and Deputy Jimmy White listen as Hadley Township Fire Dept. Firefighter Chris Tuski and Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna (below) discuss what they learned from the mock disaster.

Lapeer County Central Dispatch also played a substantial role in the training exercise. Metamora Township Fire Dept. and Lapeer Fire & Rescue departments and personnel also participated in the mock disaster.

— Phil Foley




Photos by Phil Foley Photos by Phil Foley

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