11/08/07 — Airport drill tests emergency units

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Airport drill tests emergency units

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 8, 2007 1:45 PM

Shortly before noon Wednesday, officials at the Goldsboro-Wayne Municipal Airport "stumbled" across the scene of a terrorist plot involving an unidentified chemical or biological compound -- likely the nerve gas sarin.

Following their emergency action plan, they contacted the Belfast Fire Department, who reported the discovery to the county Emergency Management Office.

In turn, county Emergency Services Director Blair Tyndall called the state Department of Emergency Management, which then contacted the U.S. Army's Active Guard Reserve 42nd Community Support Team out of Greenville.

And while Wednesday's discovery was planned and not a true emergency, each step continued along as if it were an authentic bio-terrorism incident.

"This is all the procedure that we would do in a normal situation. We're just exercising it today," Tyndall explained.

The county emergency office also talked through the procedures that would normally follow such an incident, including the evacuation of Charles B. Aycock High School and Northeast Elementary School.

"We're required to have at least four of these a year, but we do much more than that. This is our fifth or sixth this year," Tyndall said. "The main thing is to get these outside and state agencies working together with the locals in the event that we do have something of this magnitude.

"It may not be the same people every time, but at least we know who these guys are and what their needs are."