Thursday, October 27, 2011

Planning for an Emergency, Part II - The Simulation Exercise

*Please note that this is an exercise and not a real situation. The places mentioned are not real.

This week disaster struck Capital City in Liberty County. A tornado blew through the town, leaving homes destroyed, families separated, and residents injured.

Mayor Russ Wall gave continual updates on the tragedy and assured citizens that recovery crews were doing all they could to restore utilities, open roads, and find missing civilians. He wrote policy to help the ROC (Recovery Operations Center) dictate priorities and carry out their duties.

Aimee Newton, Public Information Officer, sent out news releases, arranged press conferences, and did whatever was necessary to keep the media and public informed.

Community Development Director, Mark McGrath, helped facilitate a mitigation and recovery plan for the city, as dozens of businesses were destroyed, families were displaced, and the community needed to be rebuilt.

Police Chief Delwin Craig gave updates on the progress of emergency responders and made decisions necessary to help save as many lives as possible.

Patrick Tomasino (Chief Building Inspector for Taylorsville) played the role as a Public Works Branch leader. He was even on T.V., giving residents the instructions for how to dispose of debris left on their property from the disaster.

Lisa Schwartz (Taylorsville's Emergency Management Director), played the part as the Volunteer Coordinator for Capital City. She helped get hot lines set up to organize donations and volunteers. She also set up facilities where volunteers could participate in the recovery efforts.

Scott Harrington (Taylorsville's Chief Financial Operator) was the finance manager for the disaster. He helped make decisions on where money should be prioritized and how to best apply for reimbursements from the State and Federal government.

Rosie Rivera (Taylorsville PD Lieutenant) helped carry out public safety measures to ensure proper policy was followed and civilian deaths were minimized.

This is the Taylorsville group at the Emergency Management - Recovery and Mitigation Course in Emmitsburg, Maryland. In addition to this group of eight, last week a group of six Taylorsville staffers attended a different emergency management course.

As I said in the previous post, FEMA covers the costs for cities like Taylorsville to get trained. We learned important skills on how to recover from a major disaster, as we sat in classes for four days. The best part of the experience was the simulation exercise when we participated in our various roles. We learned many things to prepare the city in case of an emergency.

The worst part of the week???

The cafeteria food was not very good. Can you see the green hue of the hot dog? Yuck! (Photo courtesy of Mark McGrath. Mark, did you seriously eat that??)

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