When you train to be the best, you have to prepare for the worst. That was the idea behind Saturday's emergency drill that took months to setup.
It brought together police, deputies and paramedics from across Dakota County, NE and beyond to Sioux City.
"Okay, a car versus truck?" asked a Dakota County dispatcher.
The scenario was simple. At Martin Field, near South Sioux City, Neb., a van collided with a chemical truck.
"We were driving, we ran into a truck and we started flipping," said a mock victim, Chelsea Hayes.
Victims like Hayes were strewn about the ground, while the truck they'd hit started hemorrhaging toxic gas, anhydrous ammonia.
Responders came in full force. They brought a hazmat team, created evacuation zones, and closed roads. It felt like an actual emergency, except this time, evaluators were grading every move.
"It's great to practice, because we always find out what our problems are. We try and identify them before we have a real event," said evaluator, Jim Clark.
A problem almost everyone experienced was a lack of communication. It was costly on the ground.
"We have two deputies down on the ground, two deputies down on the scene," said one Dakota County Deputy.
And confusing in the air...
"Dispatch, MAC-1," said a Mercy Air Care Pilot.
"MAC-1, go ahead," said a dispatcher.
"Do you have a land line for somebody?" asked the pilot .
"We have different agencies on different radio frequencies and there was a huge communication gap this morning," said a coordinator of the drill, Deanna Beckman.
But ask any officer and they'll tell you, the more they practice their role in an emergency...
"The more likely you are to stay calm and fall into those roles during the real event," said Clark.
Practice makes perfect for training nobody hopes they'll need to use.
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