Recognizing the importance of preparedness and strong communication in the event of disaster, AT&T and its Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) organization have joined the Forsyth County Fire Department and other local public safety organizations to conduct a hazardous materials functional exercise in Forsyth County, Georgia. The exercise involving fire, EMA, law, EMS, support and private organizations will allow participants to train together in preparation for real-life local hazmat emergencies.                                                        

Participants, utilizing personal protective equipment including fully encapsulated suits, will enter the AT&T facility and practice the type of monitoring and damage assessment tasks that would be required if the building was contaminated by a hazardous substance. Emergency responders will perform drills that will test the county emergency response plan. The complexity of the drill will require rescue personnel to recognize and identify hazardous substances, and implement a response plan, as well as evaluate the environmental impact and resident protection.

The exercise will focus on:

  • On-site incident command
  • Multi-agency coordination and communications between public and private entities
  • Techniques on working in areas that have been contaminated by hazardous materials

The Forsyth County Fire Department Training Division and Hazardous Materials Unit will be key components of the drill as the fire department is the community’s first line of defense in hazardous materials incidents.  As part of its special operations branch, the Forsyth County Fire Department hazardous materials unit is trained and equipped to handle such emergencies.

In its two decades of service, the AT&T NDR team has been deployed more than 70 times – including recent deployments for Hurricanes Sandy in 2012 and Irene in 2011. The NDR team deployed on September 11, 2001, following the New York City World Trade Center disaster – recovering the services of a destroyed network office and providing emergency communications support for humanitarian efforts.