On Monday, March 21, the City of Mountlake Terrace and the Emergency Services Coordinating Agency (ESCA) conducted a tabletop exercise in ESCA’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) to review and test emergency plans and procedures in preparation for potential disasters.
Dan Good, Coordinator with ESCA, led the session, challenging about 25 city staff with a practice scenario of handling a major earthquake with all communications down and two-day transition in managing the event.
City staff responded to each situation as the scenario unfolded. Working in teams such as command, communications, logistics and finance, they performed their role, as it would be in a real disaster. Staff implemented a comprehensive response focusing on priorities of protecting life safety, property, the environment, and providing for public welfare.
The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was on hand to provide emergency communications. Licensed amateur band radio operators established a radio communications network between the city’s EOC and ESCA for the practice session.
“Everyone was doing what needed to be done,” stated ESCA’s Dan Good. “Staff was coordinating an organized response and working well together to get help to the city’s residents.”
Advanced preparation before an event hits is the vital first step in the plan. Public information and getting citizens prepared to deal with such hazards as no utilities, no phones or cell phones, blocked roads, and downed power lines is extremely important.
April is Washington State Disaster Preparedness month. All citizens, government agencies, schools, and businesses are encouraged to review their response plans and procedures. This advanced preparation could significantly reduce loss of life and property damage in an emergency. Everyone is vulnerable to disasters and should prepare to be self-sufficient for at least three days following a disaster.
More information on Washington State’s Disaster Preparedness is available on http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/prep_index.shtml.
More information on preparing for emergencies is available at www.cityofmlt.com, under For Residents, Emergency Preparedness.