Preparation requires practice. And while disasters are usually a surprise event, they can still be prepared for.
On Monday, July 29, Fort Worth’s Office of Emergency Management will conduct a disaster exercise that will include more than 175 volunteers ages 16 and over. This opportunity will allow students and parents to participate in a simulated disaster alongside first responders and hospital liaisons.
“This exercise will not only test our first responders and hospitals, but also communication and notification systems that we would use to notify our residents, visitors and parents when active shooters and other community threats have been identified and what safety measures to take,” said Maribel Martinez, Emergency Management Coordinator for the Fort Worth OEM.
The exercise will focus on emergency response to an active threat at a school and is being coordinated by the City of Fort Worth OEM, along with multiple community partners. This has been an almost six-month planning process by OEM and the planning team comprised of Fort Worth Police, Fort Worth Fire, Fort Worth ISD, MedStar, JPS, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth Marshal’s Office, the City of Fort Worth and Tarrant County Office of Emergency Management.
This will be a full scale exercise at a school and will include activation of the Fort Worth Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as well as coordination of the mass casualty component at local hospitals. The purpose of this exercise is to provide participants with the opportunity to evaluate current response concepts and plans and capabilities for a response to an active threat incident in the City of Fort Worth.
The exercise will focus on response capabilities to an active shooter resulting in a mass casualty incident. This is an opportunity, in a safe training environment, to make sure first responders, hospitals, and command and EOC staff know how to respond to these type of events and to evaluate and fix response and coordination actions if needed.
“We want to make sure our processes are practiced and drilled so we can limit resident exposure to life-threatening situations and to get timely information to parents so they can stay informed and ultimately safely reunify with their children,” Martinez said.
Volunteers will act as victims and bystanders. Some will be given artificial wounds. Those participating are urged to wear clothing you don’t mind getting ruined as modulate blood will be used and there may be a need to cut clothing.
Volunteers will be assigned into groups and will be notified by Cook Children’s, JPS, or FWISD/others as to which group.