Lawrence, Kan.—The second of two full-scale emergency exercises in recent weeks will take place in Lawrence on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Tuesday’s exercise also will have a transportation-related hazardous materials theme, but this scenario will also focus on a response to a mass casualty incident, which will drive a more involved response, according to Teri Smith, Douglas County’s Director of Emergency Management.
The exercise will run from 8:45 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. at the Douglas County Emergency Operations Center, LMH Health and at the simulated incident site near the Clinton Lake Youth Sports Complex. The exercise will necessitate the temporary closure of several city facilities West of 27th Street and South Lawrence Trafficway (K-10). Access to the Clinton Lake Youth Sports Fields, the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum, and the Clinton Lake Softball Complex will be restricted on Tuesday, Oct. 9, from 7:30 a.m. until approximately 12:00 p.m. The portion of the Lawrence Loop trail between Clinton Dam and K-10 that runs through that area will remain open but will be detoured North through the Arboretum, and all foot and bicycle traffic must remain on the designated path.
Law enforcement and fire and medical units will respond to the simulated incident where Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical personnel will practice hazardous materials and patient-handling procedures. Using volunteer patient “actors,” LMH Health will exercise its medical surge and patient decontamination plans and will activate its Hospital Incident Command Center. The Emergency Operations Center at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center will be staffed and operational, and a Joint Information Center will be activated to support the responders at the incident site and at the hospital. Participating agencies include Douglas County Emergency Management, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, LMH Health, Lawrence Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas County Emergency Communications Center, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, and Lawrence Municipal Services and Operations.
“These multiple agencies will come together in a disaster simulation to test our response and coordination plans, policies, and procedures for a mass casualty incident involving hazardous materials,” Smith explained. “Exercises like these are great opportunities to ensure we can effectively and efficiently respond to and recover from any emergency that impacts our community,” Smith said. Both exercises are funded by Hazardous Materials Emergency Planning grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Media organizations wishing to cover or observe the exercise at the incident site or at the hospital must arrange in advance for escorted access. Media at the simulated incident site should plan to arrive by 8:45 a.m. Exercise participants will not be available for interviews during the exercise, but public information officer escorts can arrange interviews with fire medical or hospital officials.
For additional details or instructions, contact Bob Newton, Douglas County Emergency Management Public Information Officer, at 785-331-5787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.