Emergency management personnel from all over the United States participated in one of the most expansive disaster preparedness exercises in this country’s history. The Central US Earthquake Consortium hosted CAPSTONE-14, a seven day interactive emergency prep series that was held concurrently in several states including Alabama, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky among others.
The exercise featured an earthquake simulation which called for a prompt, efficient, and well-organized and coordinated response from emergency management personnel as well as from agencies at all three levels of government. Several public and private sector agencies also participated.
A variety of new emergency management technologies were tested as part of the exercise with the participants using them to exchange information in real-time in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of their rescue and emergency management efforts. The technologies were used throughout all of the states in which the exercise was held and involved the sharing of what one participant called the most “important and essential elements of information in any catastrophic event” that would need to be exchanged among emergency responders.
The primary concerns among the participants were those involving communication, transportation, and shelter and how these concerns should be addressed during an emergency.
The simulated earthquake represented what organizers of the exercise called the worst of all possible disasters that could befall the American Midwest. It provided an opportunity for emergency management personnel as well as officials to establish a more efficient response and better-coordinated rescue and management efforts between agencies should something like this happen for real in the future.
Despite the fact that the exercise was specific to an earthquake, the lessons that were learned throughout the course of the week-long exercise can be applied to just about any emergency scenario including floods, super-storms, hurricanes, and the like.