Arsenal Disaster Drill

May  14, 2014

      People who work on Arsenal Island practiced how to respond to a disaster today. The Rock Island Arsenal Garrison planned the tornado drill, which included several realistic scenarios, such as a car fire and a hazmat spill in a sewage plant.

      Garrison commander, Colonel Elmer Speights, says Quad Cities first responders who've never been to the Arsenal are getting a change learn about the island.

      "This is a 150-year old island. We have tunnels here that used to go all around the island. We have specialized buildings that are like no others in the world. We have stairwells that are narrower and steeper than you would find in a modern building We have smaller elevators. So these are things that a first responder needs to know, so when he comes on the island he knows what he's looking for. He knows he may need specialized equipment."

      For example, during today's drill, firefighters had to search for several victims trapped inside the Arsenal Island heating plant. 

      "So they've got to go in there, they've got to cut their way in with diamond saws and jack-hammers. And once they get in , they have to extract the survivors and treat the wounded."

      Speights says over 100 firefighters, police officers, ambulance crews, and others from Scott and Rock Island Counties participated. And even a special rescue team from Peoria made the trip for the tornado drill.