Halifax County Participates in Statewide Emergency Drill

Danville, VA - Tuesday, Virginia participated in a statewide emergency preparedness drill.

In Halifax County, multiple agencies came together to make sure they are prepared if an extreme natural disaster hits.
The training exercises today related to an earthquake, but much of the preparation techniques they discussed could come in handy in any emergency situation.
When emergency service workers heard about the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, the exercise they had planned became that much more important.
"That just made us realize, are we prepared? What would we do if there was an emergency such as just what has happened out west?", said Linda Shepperd.
Shepperd is the County's Director of Tourism, but during a crisis she is the Emergency Operation Center's Public Information Officer.
During the exercise, everyone assumed their emergency center title as they went through a range of scenarios relating to a mock earthquake.
"Power, phones, communications, bridges, highway problems, how do we shelter the children in the schools...all those things you have to take into account, " said County Administrator Jim Halasz.
State officials were communicating with the locality throughout the drill. Halasz says they hope to use the simulated calls and scenarios to determine what important pieces may be missing from real-life response efforts.
"We're working hard and trying to anticipate what we would encounter in an actual emergency situation and that's why we have an emergency operations center, " Halasz said.
The earthquake that struck Louisa County in 2011 left a path of destruction for miles. Officials here are doing what they can to keep the community safe, but they hope each family will do their part as well.
"I want them to do at home the same things we're doing here. So, as we're doing a county-wide drill, I think everyone at home should have that conversation about what would you do, " Shepperd said.
If you want to have a drill in your home, talk to your kids about what an earthquake sounds and feels like, identify sturdy pieces of furniture to take shelter under, and decide on a place to meet when the disaster is over.