Skip to main content

Simulation exercises prepare Austin area for WMD terrorist attack response

3/28/2006 12:00 AM

COLLEGE STATION – Emergency managers from the City of Austin and Travis County will attend the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center’s Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command (E-IM/UC) course in College Station March 28-31.

This marks the first time the renowned E-IM/UC course has exercised emergency managers from a single jurisdiction. The group of 46 participants, from all 10 disciplines, will use the latest in simulation response technology, which features four different scenarios involving terrorist acts, such as massive explosions, chemical releases and radiation dispersion, as well as the use of biological agents as weapons of mass destruction.

Participants include city, county, school/university and state law enforcement; city and volunteer fire services; EMS, public health and hospital services; energy providers; and the city public information office, among others.

The Texas Engineering Extension Service’s Emergency Operations Training Center (EOTC) adjacent to Disaster City™ serves as the incident command post for the class. The EOTC provides first response management with training in the decision-making and information management process of a unified command system, as well as advanced incident management skills utilizing resources from a variety of emergency response disciplines that would be involved in a WMD incident.

Austin emergency management participants will plan strategies, while others work via electronic communication to control operations, logistics, plans and administration/ finance. Wall-sized video screens keep those in the incident command post aware of the latest developments through simulated newscasts, while participants use digital maps and charts to help plan and manage decisions.

Approximately 15 NERRTC instructors and staff control the computer-facilitated exercise, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Grants and Training. The course has become one of the most popular offered through NERRTC and has a seven-month waiting list.

“The training we will be providing Austin in the strategic response and decision-making process at this management level is unique,” said NERRTC Program Manager David Nock. “The E-IM/UC course provides realistic, real-time simulation and training analysis on a scale not found in other courses.”

After each scenario, the group discusses what happened, how and why certain decisions were made and the ramifications of those decisions.

“The immediate feedback participants receive is the crux of the decision-making process,” Nock said. “They see the direct results of their decisions. Their responses to the simulation training event will have a direct impact on the incident and mitigation of the computer simulation that has been presented. After the participants have completed the course, the Austin incident management team will have practiced large scale incident response in a virtual computer environment, and have gained some valuable experience.”

Created in 1998 as part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, NERRTC has delivered more than 5,100 WMD/terrorism incident courses to more than 204,000 emergency responders across the country. NERRTC’s 17 DHS-certified courses have been delivered to more than 8,200 local and state jurisdictions in all 56 states and territories.

TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and emergency response services impacting Texas and beyond. Agency programs include fire training, homeland security, law enforcement, public works, safety and health, search and rescue, and technology transfer.

Contact Information

Kathy Fraser

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

© Copyright 2015 Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
A member of the Texas A&M University System
Ver.1.2015.0204