Emergency Drill Preps Officials
It took more than three months to plan. With a simulated fire in the delivery area of the MU Research Reactor Center, staff members at the reactor evacuated the facility. Columbia firefighters and police, University police, Joint Communications, University Hospital and reactor staff all participated in the emergency preparedness drill. University officials stress members of the community would not have been in danger had this been a real nuclear emergency.
"The good thing about this drill is that we were also able to simulate what would have happened in that situation, and in this case, there was absolutely no danger to the public," MU spokesman Christian Basi said.
Cooperation was crucial with so many different agencies participating in the simulation.
"Exercises of this nature are very valuable, so that when we do have a real event, we know who the players are," said Terry Cassil, Columbia Fire Department. "So we have familiar faces, and we know how those guys are going to operate and vice versa, they know how we're going to do business and that makes operations much smoother."
The Columbia Fire Department says the rest of the city was covered during the drill.
"We left more than half of the apparatus still in the stations here in town," Cassil said. "We even moved some apparatus around, in fact we moved one piece of apparatus here to the downtown center core of the station."
Drill monitors took note of the responders' actions during the event, and the university plans to review the outcome of the drill in one to two weeks. The Nuclear Regulatory Commision requires a drill involving outside support agencies, like this drill, to be conducted every two years.