The Lowndes County Mississippi Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Columbus Air Force Base held a joint emergency response drill that started out as a simple MVA that resulted from a high speed pursuit of a suspicious vehicle by the local law enforcement officers. The drill was designed to test the responding agencies' communication and response skills.
The officer investigating the crash discovered an unknown white powder on the unconscious suspect inside the vehicle that was being chased towards the Columbus Air Force Base. One of the innocent victims had to be transported to the hospital after being ejected from the car. The local hospital and ambulance service implemented their emergency decontamination procedures since the patient was not know to be contaminated prior to initiating the transport to the hospital. The Columbus Air Force Base personnel responded to a request for mutual aid from the local Volunteer Fire Department. The GTR Hazmat Team and the Columbus Air Force Base HAZMAT Teams work together to investigate the unknown white powder. The initial HAZMAT team's investigation of the suspects vehicle lead to the discovery of radiological material for a "dirty bomb" in the suspect's vehicle which further complicated the exercise.
The exercise lasted approximately four hours. The drill successfully demonstrated the implementation of the unified incident command system between the local and Air Force responders. The drill activated the existing mutual aid agreements between the many agencies and departments. A local newspaper reporter was imbedded into the drill as a victim so that she could get a new prospective of the cooperation and teamwork between the many responding agencies. The local TV station also was on hand to report on the drill.
The drill involved the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, Lowndes County District #2 Volunteer Fire Department, Baptist Memorial Hospital Ambulance Service, Baptist Memorial Hospital, Columbus Fire Department, Golden Triangle Regional HAZMAT Team, Lowndes County E-911 Dispatch Center, Columbus-Lowndes Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Columbus Air Force Base Security Forces, Office of Special Investigations, Columbus Air Force Base Fire Department, Columbus Air Force Base Public Affairs, and Columbus Air Force Base Command Staff.