There has been an increased amount of attention focused on the emergency preparation of various areas all over the world. It can be debated what has caused this shift in training and awareness, but there has nonetheless been a lot of communication on a state and federal level about safety in the face of potential disaster. As I have mentioned in posts over the last few months, people are beginning to consider what would happen if a natural disaster came to their neck of the wood. Would you be able to survive a storm like Hurricane Katrina? How about the tsunamis in Japan?
The Florida National Guard has decided to put their emergency preparedness to the test during their annual statewide hurricane exercise. Along with the State Emergency Response Team, the Florida National Guard is performing testing out of a new facility. According to DVIDS, the new Joint Operations Center Training Facility is being used to present emergency responders with a ‘challenging scenario’:
“… the building contains all of the tools and technology necessary for state officials to coordinate a disaster response. During the remainder of the year, the facility is used as a training facility for state and local agencies. This week, emergency officials are testing out this new technology while responding to a training scenario for Hurricane Griffin, a major hurricane that hit the Tampa area, moved across the state, reemerged into the Gulf of Mexico and took a northern turn, threatening the Tallahassee area. The scenario was designed to simulate the extreme limits of nature to ensure all of the state’s capabilities are tested.”
This type of testing is important in a number of ways – not just because the facility is brand new, but because the participants need to be trained in the newest methods for emergency response. The National Guardsmen who will be present at this testing are among the many people who were there when Florida was hit with the 2004 hurricanes, the article says. The 8000 personnel who are always ready to spring into action have been called as response to disasters 72 times since 1994.