“This year, we will have chemical detection capabilities at decontamination sites,” Richards said.
The mock disaster drill takes months of preparation, but it always is a learning experience, he said.
“We see things as a way to get better and improve,” Richards said. “We’re better this year when compared with last year. We will not do everything prefect, but we will take it for what it’s worth and learn from it.”
Approximately 100 evaluators from the Department of Homeland Security, the Army and other CSEPP communities across the country will observe. A comprehensive report of all exercise actions and lessons learned will be prepared and provided to participants so any problems can be identified and corrected.
“This always teaches you something you can do better,” he said. “It not only tests your people, but it also tests your equipment. You should always find something to improve on. You’re not going to be perfect.”
Lt. Col. Tom Closs, commander of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity at the depot, coordinates quarterly drills for the employees who work directly with the weapons in storage.
“We did an exercise last month, so we feel pretty prepared for this,” Closs said. “This is a very big event for us. If you’re not finding out anything new, then you’re probably not exercising as seriously as you should be.”
Richards reminds Madison County residents that they can use this exercise to check on emergency preparedness in their own home. It is vital that residents know which emergency response zone they reside in, Richards said. Residents can find their zone classification by calling the Madison County Emergency Management Agency at 624-4787.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 623-1669, Ext. 234.