Mass casualty training planned

Drivers on Front Royal’s streets Wednesday morning shouldn’t be alarmed if they notice an unusual number of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks on the move from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

The heightened activity will be part of a training exercise to sharpen the skills of first responders from law enforcement, fire departments, EMS crews and the medical professions, should they be needed during a mass casualty incident.

Shawn Graber, the deputy emergency manager for Warren County Fire and Rescue Services, said the timing of the exercise, which has been planned for four months, has nothing to do with the terrorist attack in Paris last week.

Graber said he was unsure when such a drill was last conducted in the county. Whenever it was, turnover in the participating organizations – county fire and rescue services, Front Royal police and Valley Health – made it a good idea for newer members, Graber said.

“You have new people in technical positions, and you want to make sure that everybody is aware of their roles and responsibilities,” Graber said.

Graber said the exercise may require closing part of Shenandoah Avenue at some point, but it will depend on how much activity it generates around Warren Memorial Hospital.

Graber said the exercise is intended to prepare participants to respond effectively to a variety of scenarios, including a bus accident, building collapse, active shooter or medical pandemic.

The hospital will remain open and able to provide its normal range of services throughout the exercise.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com