Mock drill to be held at Kerr Lake

Jul. 29, 2014 @ 05:55 PM

On Aug. 8, Kerr Lake will become the site of a large commercial passenger plane crash.

Fortunately, the whole thing will be staged.

The search and rescue exercise will involve the Vance County Emergency Operations department as well as local, state and federal responders — including military agencies.

There will be multiple aircraft, several helicopters, roughly 20 boats and more than 100 individual responders participating in the exercise.

Emergency Operations Director Brian Short said he wants residents to be aware that it is a drill.

“We just want people to know when the exercise takes place that it is in fact an exercise,” he said. “It’s not real. They don’t need to be afraid. They are not in any danger.”

Only the day area and community buildings will be affected by the mock drill.

“We will be setting up a hard perimeter on the water in the area of Henderson Point, and that area will be controlled by a line of anchored boats flanking each side,” Short said. “Anyone who approaches that line will be told to turn back.”

He said there will be real people in the water who could be put at risk if outside boats come near the perimeter.

No civilians will be involved in the exercise, which was sponsored through a $20,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management and the federal Department of Homeland Security.

“This is the first one of this magnitude taking place on Kerr Lake,” Short said. “Anytime you do an exercise, the purpose is to hone our ability to work together in a crisis situation. As much as possible, we like to involve agencies we don’t work with on a daily basis. It gives us a chance to broaden our horizons.”

 

Contact the writer at smansur@hendersondispatch.com.