Via: Imperial Valley News:
Most people recognize the value of a fire drill. Adults and children alike recognize the usual fire drill steps include evacuating the building and reaching a pre-designated spot.
What most people do not recognize is that a fire drill is really an emergency evacuation plan and emergency evacuation plans are growing to include drills such as an influenza pandemic event.
The Houston Federal Executive Board sponsored such a drill, April 14-15. The Interagency Continuity Influenza Pandemic Tabletop Exercise was as an opportunity for federal, state, and local emergency coordinators to discuss how their agencies would manage during a pandemic event.
“My goal since 9-11 is to facilitate the preparedness of federal agencies in the Houston area by providing emergency training opportunities,” said Houston Federal Executive Board Director Michael Mason. “Every class we offer, we open it to state and local agencies where the emergency managers can create partnerships during the training rather than during an emergency.”
The training, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was interactive requiring attendees to break into small groups to discuss the scenario and the current procedures their agency used to manage an emergency. Group members discussed what certain procedures should be implemented at varying stages and why other procedures could wait.
“A primary focus of this exercise identified the operational impact an agency faces when 30 to 40 percent of their personnel are unable to come to work,” said Chief Jeremy Luczkowski, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Developing plans to deal with Pandemic-specific issues is challenging for an agency that deals directly with the public on a daily basis.”