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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

Workers, residents and visitors in Uptown Charlotte may have noticed a commotion near Ericsson Stadium on Monday, September 30. 

Judging from the flashing lights, loud noises and emergency personnel on the scene, an outsider might have thought there was a terrorist incident underway.  Well, that's exactly what it was supposed to look like.  Except it was all a drill to showcase the Charlotte-Mecklenburg ALERT team.


The Advanced Local Emergency Response Team – ALERT – demonstrated its abilities at a special training event on Monday, September 30, 2002. The full-scale drill, which occurred on Graham Street outside the stadium's North gate, included the 100-member ALERT team, a number of emergency vehicles and more than 100 simulated victims of a terrorist attack.



ALERT is a metropolitan medical strike team equipped and trained to rapidly respond to a mass casualty event, particularly one that involves nuclear, chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction.

Team members have been individually selected from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Office, Charlotte Fire Department, Mecklenburg EMS Agency, Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office, and Carolinas Medical Center.  In order to stay at the height of preparedness, ALERT team members train monthly at various locations and with changing scenarios.

The September 30 drill was staged for the benefit of numerous dignitaries, including Congresswoman Sue Myrick, Congressman Mel Watt, Mayor Pat McCrory, County Commission chairman Parks Helms, as well as other local, state and federal leaders.

In a scripted presentation, narrated by Medic's medical director Dr. Tom Blackwell, ALERT team members went through their paces.   They demonstrated the rapid-response capabilities of the ALERT team, which included two mock bomb explosions, emergency response, patient treatment, chemical decontamination, evidence preservation and more.   Several dozen vehicles and other emergency apparatus were involved in the event, including a police helicopter, from which two officers repelled onto the roof of a parking garage.

Congressman Mel Watt says the challenge is to take a more regional approach.  Congresswoman Sue Myrick says the ALERT team can be used as a model on a national level and has encouraged Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge to consider such a propo

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