To ensure Batesville is prepared for a large-scale emergency, Ripley County Emergency Management Agency members, local emergency responders, company associates and Margaret Mary Health representatives attended a tabletop exercise at Hillenbrand Inc. June 19 to discuss the scenario, said Tyler Stock, senior communications associate.
During the session, key officials involved in managing the exercise provided input detailing their responsibilities during the scenario. This meeting helped prepare each entity for a possible emergency. “This is the first emergency exercise in Ripley County to incorporate private business playing a major role,” Stock pointed out.
“Communication is a key component of any emergency situation,” said Scott Barnhorst, Hillenbrand security supervisor. “It takes several different agencies coming together to control the situation. These exercises are meant to get everyone on the same page as well as an opportunity to practice the situation.”
The mock scene to be played out at the Batesville Doll Plant later this summer: A truck is delivering acetone chemicals to the plant when there is an explosion in the paint shop. More than 5,000 gallons of acetone are spilled, a fire breaks out and 15 people are injured.
Patrick Rose, RCEMA director, noted, “We hope an emergency never happens. However, if … (it does), we need all of our emergency responders organized and working together. These tabletop discussions and real-time exercises are necessary to ensure we give the fastest and safest response to those in need.”
A date for the emergency exercise will be announced soon. Each agency involved will run through the drill to simulate their responsibilities during an actual emergency. The exercise will not affect any city streets, residents or production at the plant.