County holds tabletop, crisis-management exercise

Texas Department of Public Safety officer David Yarbrough facilitates a county-wide exercise that saw 52 participants from different agencies and organzations. Texas Department of Public Safety officer David Yarbrough facilitates a county-wide exercise that saw 52 participants from different agencies and organzations. CAMERON—Fifty-two persons from multiple agencies and jurisdictions participated in a Milam County-wide Tabletop Exercise held May 25 at the Williams Civic Center in Cameron.

“This exercise was truly a unique situation as you will read and was very well attended. Many areas in Texas are busy with tabletop exercises, drills, workshops, functional and full scale exercises and this includes Milam County,” Susan Reinders, Milam County Homeland Security coordinator, said.

“The first responders do an exceptional job here in Milam County. This exercise was extremely beneficial to the elected officials in understanding what measures take place and what possible needed training or equipment to continue to support emergency response and operations in our cities and county.”

Texas Department of Public Safety Officer David Yarbrough facilitated the scenario. The drill’s practice scenario was a fake shooting in the District Courtroom at the Milam County Courthouse. Each table sections were handed questions regarding responsibilities, procedures, and plans so they could identify areas of need: equipment, personnel, training and review plans and procedures.

At the exercise, the room divided into Emergency Operations Center (EOC), Law Enforcement, Public Health and Supporting Agencies. This provided the environment for coordination of agencies to handle the Unified Command between City of Cameron and Milam County.

DPS Sgt. Michael Nix prepared the scenario and provided the question sheets per first responder sections (EOC, Law enforcement, Supporting Agencies and Public Health).

Target capabilities/functions tested included communications, counter-terror investigation and law enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fatality management and on-site incident management.

Other items addressed included: multiagency coordination/unified command; evacuation procedures/method of transportation; road closure/diverting traffic; triage area/ mass fatality-morgue capacity; activation of public information center; notification system (first call); school system involvement-mutual aid; equipment needs; training needs.

“The purpose of a discussion based tabletop exercise is to facilitate a learning environment where response agencies can come together, face to face, to understand and talk through an integrated response to a specific emergency situation,” Reinders said. “It also provides an excellent opportunity to compare what participants actually expect to do and how they plan to do it with what is written in the local emergency plan, highlighting changes that may need to be made in the plan.”

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