*Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparednes Exercise*
30 October 2004
On October 27, 2004 I participated in a Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Plan (CSEPP) disaster simulation. The scenario was that an explosion occurred at one of the military depot’s storage facilities, called igloos. A small number of rockets filled with GB, a nerve agent, were damaged. As a result of this and weather predictions residents were told to evacuate. The other option would have been for residents to shelter in place – using duct tape and plastic sheeting to keep the chemical out of their homes. My role was as a resident of the Madison County where this occurred that evacuated to Fayette County.
Here is what is supposed to occur. Residents that are evacuating are to proceed to Jacobson Park in Fayette County. As they drive into the park signs direct them which way to drive. Evacuees drive within the park to a decontamination area ran by the fire department. Evacuees are decontaminated with Dawn detergent and are given white paper suits to wear. Personnel clothing and belongings are returned to them in plastic bag. Once decontaminated they get back in their vehicles and drive a short distance within the park to a shelter called the reception center. At the reception center you complete a form (included below) and are assigned to Red Cross shelter. Once registered, you return to your vehicle and drive into the city to your assigned Red Cross shelter. Once at the shelter, you are interviewed by the Red Cross and give them your name, address, phone number, any medical conditions and/or special needs, emergency contact, and if they can release your information if someone calls looking for you.
The last information I was told was that the event started at 0800 hours. I arrived at 0720 to find the park deserted so I park and wait. Finally around 0820 I find a DEEM (Division of Environmental and Emergency Management) employee who is setting up signs. He tells me that the exercise won’t start until 0930. So I leave the park and return around 0922 and wait….and wait….and wait…until 1230! Finally the guy that was to run the reception center shows up. So the 4 (including myself) victims that were left out of 7 total, went through the process. Everything went smoothly for the most part. The (late) guy running the reception center had no idea what to do though. This was planned since in an actual event they would grab a person assigned to the Emergency Operations Center to run it. They did have a packet that carefully explained how to run the center.
Here are a couple of other interesting notes. While waiting for the simulation to start I was talking to one of the DEEM guys who said that this made the third year in a row that some screw up like a guy showing up late has occurred. Also, while at the Red Cross shelter I spoke with one of the federal observers (FEMA maybe) and I got the impression they were not impressed with what they had seen at the reception center. I would LOVE to see their report.
Here’s a few of the problems that I saw with their plan.
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