DENTON, Texas -- Is Benton County ready for a chemical spill? We are about to find out. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and Benton County are preparing to test local response to a hazardous materials incident.
Local officials have spent months refining and developing emergency response procedures. Fire, law enforcement, medical staff and industry will jointly test the plan in a two-hour exercise on Saturday, October 7 at 9:00 a.m. FEMA Region VI will direct the evaluation using a national program called CHER-CAP (Comprehensive Hazmat Emergency Response-Capability Assessment Program).
Exercise players are from the city and county governments, private business, and volunteer organizations. They include fire, law enforcement, medical staff and local industries. Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railroad and Eagle Emergency Services are joining with others to support the exercise.
Peer evaluators from outside the community will evaluate players' activities. Victims and evacuees will be provided by Gravette High School's Medical Profession Vocational Tech, Boy Scouts of America, Benton County 4-H and Benton County Fire/Rescue Volunteer Dive Team. The public is welcome to observe the exercise at the intersection of Highways 72 and 59 in Gravette, Arkansas.