COLLEGE STATION – Emergency personnel were responding to a disastrous train derailment with an oil spill and a chemical plant explosion — 740 miles apart. But there was something that linked these two events.
The healthcare personnel and emergency managers from the National Capital Region — who were in Anniston, AL, and College Station, TX — were linked through TEEX’s unique online simulation training tool called the Emergency Management Exercise System (EMES).
The mock incidents were part of the Integrated Capstone Event exercise on May 5 for several classes at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston and the TEEX class in Enhanced All-Hazards Incident Management/ Unified Command in College Station.
More than 100 healthcare personnel from the National Capital Region and surrounding states participated in the exercise at the CDP, as well as nearly 50 emergency managers and responders at the Emergency Operations Training Center in College Station.
Both the CDP and TEEX venues coordinated and collaborated prior to, during, and post exercise play. Incident injects in the exercise were developed and executed by both CDP and TEEX controllers to ensure planning, staging, resource allocation, communication, and coordination between the two venues.
Areas of collaboration included: hospital bed space, water contamination, HazMat resources, public health, field command operations and public information. Following the exercise, two representatives from the National Capital Region (one at TEEX and one at CDP) shared lessons learned through a live video teleconference.
CDP and NERRTC, both members of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, previously conducted a joint exercise using the EM*ES in 2014, demonstrating that disasters may be managed from a distance as long as there are effective communication systems in place. The collaborative training by NERRTC and the CDP was offered as part of the DHS/FEMA Homeland Security National Training Program Cooperative Agreement.