Local emergency response teams practice for real situations

By Alyssa Donovan

August 24, 2013 Updated Aug 24, 2013 at 10:32 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill.-- Farmdale park was the command center for a missing person search on Saturday. But, no need to worry, it was just for practice.

Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency's Bryan Collett says these drills are very important in preparing for a real search and rescue.

Collett said, "To get the experience of managing multiple teams in the field at one time it takes an event like this and the command post and all the equipment."

Several emergency management agencies took part in the exercise including Peoria County, Mclean County, North Tazewell, the Army Ccorps of Engineers and the Red Cross.

Teams were given a scenario involving a missing mountain biker that had last been seen the night before.

Collett said, "Missing mountain biker is a real possibility in this part."

Next the teams planned out their approach.

Collett said, "The planning and management team built maps and did segmenting and broke the park into searchable areas."

Teams were driven out to designated locations using landmarks to divide areas.

Carolyn Hughes with the American Red Cross says during a search and rescue keeping the first responders fueled up is vital.

Hughes said, "When there's a disaster or search and rescue they'll call for canteening and that's us."

The Red Cross provides coffee, water and snacks for the search teams.

Hughes says this kind of drill gives the emergency management groups a chance to meet each other and learn how to work together.

Hughes said, "This is what we do in real life-- so this is good practice for us."

The Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross are always looking for volunteers.

To volunteer with the Red Cross you can call the Central Illinois chapter at 677-7272.

To volunteer with the Tazewell County Emergency Management Agency you can call 925-2271.

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