Emergency preparedness is an every day process. Just as sports teams have to practice, so do service agencies in order to better serve the communities. Clarke County is no exception.
Clarke County’s Healthcare Coalition will hold a functional preparedness exercise Tuesday, May 6. Most Osceola and county residents will not see the signs that anything is occurring.
Coalition members Clarke County Hospital, Clarke County Public Health, Clarke County Emergency Management and Environmental Health will be playing. Also included in the exercise will be 9-1-1 dispatch, Osceola Police, Clarke County Sheriff and Clarke County Conservation.
Clarke County Healthcare Coalition has contracted with R.D. Keep of Preparedness Exercise and Training from Oskaloosa to assist in the design, development, conduct, evaluation and follow-up for the exercise.
Keep said a functional exercise is just one of the avenues for the coalition to test their preparedness.
“There are different levels of exercise available, but a functional was chosen to assist in meetings state and Federal grant requirements,” Keep said. “Simply a functional exercise allows the players to respond in near-real time to information provided them through phone calls, radio traffic or handouts from a controller. In a functional, no equipment or personnel is moved. However, the actions are documented and evaluated against the organization’s plans and procedures, and established standards.”
The exercise scenario centers on an EF2 tornado that touches down near the hospital and moves east-northeast toward East Lake Park and dissipates east of town. There will be no “victim” fatalities, but there will be a number of severe injuries, blocked roads, and issues, which coalition members will need to deal with.
While no one hopes this will ever happen, severe winds and tornadoes can change a community and challenge their response. It is Clarke County Coalition’s hope through this exercise that should something occur, the lessons learned from the exercise will improve the response and recovery from the event.