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Oxford College holds disaster drill
Firefighters carry a victim from the building. (Darryl Welch | The Covington News)

If you saw fire trucks, police cars and medic units on the campus of Oxford College Tuesday morning, don’t be alarmed. It was just a drill.

Officials with the Emory University Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) staged an exercise involving a fire at Oxford College’s Haygood residence hall. Newton County Fire Rescue (NCFR), the Oxford Police Department (OPD), the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO), Piedmont Newton Hospital EMS and Emory Police participated in the drill along with the Oxford College Crisis Team

Sam Shartar, Senior Administrator for Emory’s CEPAR was the director for the exercise. He said the drill was an opportunity for the college to conduct an exercise with its public safety partners and test the various components’ response to a dorm fire. According to Shartar, the drill also gave the college’s Crisis Team a chance to practice supporting first responders.

Actors from Atlanta, complete with make-up that made them appear to be burned, played victims of the fire. While some of them were able to self-evacuate from the building, others had to be assisted from the building by Emory Police and fire personnel.

According to a statement from Piedmont Newton Hospital, there were 15 total patients. Ten were transported to the local hospital. Five patients had injuries that warranted their being air evacuated from the scene.

Bill Love, Executive Director of Patient Services at Piedmont Newton said, “Multiagency exercises such as this one help to better prepare all community resources for when real world events occur.”

NCFR Battalion Chief Joe Cagle said that the drill will help everybody involved be better able to work together should there be an actual incident.