Avian Flu hits Pawnee! Well, not really, but this week’s “Parks and Rec” was a pretty good overview of what community disaster drills look like. Yes, in many community disaster drills (and in real disasters), people often do wear the funny vests with their department name on them in the “Operations Center.” Yes, in many cases people do wear placards to indicate if they’re a victim and how badly they’re affected….in some cases, I’ve even seen full on theater make-up done for more physically damaging emergencies like earthquakes. And yes, the tabletop exercises I’ve seen actually DO have binders to tell anyone participating int he drill (or the actual event) what steps need to be taken.
It’s actually a fairly complex affair when you think about it. The hundreds of hours that went into the master plan, the hours that went into each department plan, the multiple organizations involved in executing any of these plans (in case you were wondering, Red Cross usually falls under “sheltering”).
The reason communities run through these scenarios is to determine if they really have thought through every facet of a disaster response. And I’m sure communities running through these exercises don’t attempt to destroy their town to get out of the exercise faster…although what a clever way to get out of a meeting as quickly as possible!