Local emergency response agencies in Lawrence and Douglas County will participate in an emergency exercise in Lawrence Wednesday morning, Aug. 10.
“This is a ‘functional exercise,’ which means there will not be police and fire vehicles responding to an incident location,” explained Teri Smith, director of Douglas County Emergency Management. Instead, representatives from participating agencies will report to a designated location to set up command and control operations for a simulated transportation-related hazardous materials incident. “The objectives of the exercise include enhancing collaboration between the public and private sector during emergency incidents, and integrating all agencies and entities in a cohesive incident management structure,” Smith said.
Participating agencies include Douglas County Emergency Management, Lawrence Police Department, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, USD #497, American Red Cross, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, City of Lawrence Public Works, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, KU Public Safety, and Kansas 911 Coordinating Council. Lawrence Memorial Hospital also will exercise its medical surge and patient decontamination procedures as part of the exercise. Chemtrade Logistics, ICL Performance Products and Union Pacific Railroad have provided subject matter expertise for the planning of the exercise, Smith said.
Response agencies will set up incident command and emergency support functions in mobile command vehicles at the Fire Medical Training Center at 1941 Haskell Ave. in response to the simulated incident. “Periodic exercises like this help our response agencies test their individual plans and our overall county emergency operations plan so that we will be better prepared to help our community during a disaster or major emergency,” Smith said.