Pontotoc Co. Emergency Management practices full-scale tornado exercise

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ADA, OK -- Pontotoc county emergency crews rushed to help mock victims...taking part in a disaster drill thursday.

Some responders, who've never dealt with a real disaster like this, said it gives them a good idea of what to expect.

"I mean how do you prepare for a disaster like this," said Valley View EMS Paramedic, David Morriss. "It's really hard. These drills just kind of give us a little idea of what we can do as far as mass casualty scenes because we don't do mass casualties everyday."

Responders from across the county and took part testing their readiness if the worst were to happen.

"This year we're using teams that we didn't use last year and learning how to work with them," said Emergency Response Director, Chad Letellier. "An example is we're using the water search and rescue team from Coal County and they're helping us do things out in the water that we don't have the capability for."

Letellier says the exercise is part of a five year plan in which they will run the same disaster scenario, but focus on a different emergency aspect each year.

He says they are in the second year of the plan, and this year's theme is search and rescue.

Letellier said running through these drills with all the different agencies will better prepare them for when a real disaster strikes.

"We've had some problems today with communication which is normal, but by working through those we hope to find a way around it and work through it," said Letellier.

Emergency Management hopes to combine all exercises over the next three years and run a full drill in the fifth year with all emergency agencies involved.

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