Don’t be alarmed by emergency response drill on Saturday

WASHINGTON – If you see a huge emergency first responder turnout Saturday near Nationals Park, relax. It’s just a drill.

The exercise will be conducted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and is designed to test how well multiple agencies respond, communicate and work together in the event of a real disaster.

The scenario is an explosion across the street from the stadium near Buzzard Point with injuries during a morning rush hour that would require the response of Fire & EMS, Metropolitan Police, D.C. Homeland Security and several other agencies.

The exercise is being led by D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander, who wants to see how well the fire, police and health departments, along with other agencies, perform under the National Incident Management System, or NIMS.

This exercise comes a day after a report on the level of preparedness of the city’s fire department was released to councilmembers and the media. Aside from rejecting the fire chief’s plan to redeploy emergency medical resources to high- demand hours, the report says the city is not prepared to handle a high-scale emergency.

The most attention may be on the fire department, which is the target of a report released by a city council committee blasting fire chief Kenneth Ellerbe’s plan to re-allocate EMS resources to daytime hours when demand is greatest.

The report further criticizes the department for not properly hiring, training and retaining paramedics over the past two years.

Details about the drill

Exercise activities will be held at 1724 South Capitol Street, SE, Washington, D.C., which is located in the area of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue. There will be no street closures related to this event and the exercise is entitled the “June 2013 – District of Columbia Incident Command System Functional Exercise.”

Agencies and organizations participating in this exercise include:

  • The Executive Office of the Mayor (EOM)
  • District of Columbia Consequence Management Team (CMT)
  • District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA)
  • Metropolitan Police (MPD)
  • District of Columbia Department Fire and EMS (FEMS)
  • District of Columbia Department of Health (DOH)
  • District of Columbia Department of Transportation DDOT)
  • District Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA)
  • District of Columbia Department of Public Works (DPW)
  • District Office of Unified Communications (OUC)
  • District Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME)
  • District Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO)
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA)
  • Select members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF)
  • Select members of the 33rd Civil Support Team

WTOP’s Alan Etter contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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