Post to exercise emergency preparedness plan July 2
Story by: Julie Fiedler
1ST INF. DIV. POST
A full-scale exercise will take place throughout the day July 2 at Fort Riley as a way to test and train the installation's emergency preparedness.
"It's an (Installation Management Command) requirement that every year we conduct a full-scale exercise to test, sync and evaluate all of our emergency response processes and procedures," said Steve Crusinberry, chief, Operations and Plans Division, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
Residents, employees and community members should be aware that there will be an increase in emergency response vehicles during the exercise.
Additionally certain roads may be closed to through traffic as part of the exercise, so drivers should be prepared for detours and allow extra time when traveling on Main Post.
"People will still be able to get to Henry (Access Control Point) in and out of post," said Ward Philips, chief, Plans and Protection Branch, DPTMS. "But they're not going to be able to just drive through (exercise areas)."
Signs also will indicate areas designated for the exercise; however, community members are encouraged not to stop as that could cause further delays or interfere with the exercise, Crusinberry said.
This year's full-scale exercise will feature an insider threat active-shooter scenario.
"We have to be prepared for the full spectrum of threats that (could face) the installation," Crusinberry said. "We just need to be sure that we're prepared to respond to just about anything out there. I think we do a pretty good job of that."
In the past, full-scale exercise scenarios have included chemical accidents, tornadoes, aviation accidents, terrorist attacks and more.
"We try to do something different every year that's going to help us work our processes in different things," Philips said. "There's a variety of challenges that we need to be prepared to respond to – anything from a weather event to a criminal event to some type of chemical accident to a large traffic accident ... This year, we're doing more of a law enforcement shooter (scenario)."
During the exercise, participants will test and evaluate the command and control, or C2, nodes, including the emergency operations center, incident command post, Family assistance center, press information center, casualty assistance center and the Fort Riley Operations Center, Crusinberry said.
Additionally, nearly 20 off-post partners will be involved in the exercise including the Red Cross and Army North's Region VII Defense Coordinating Element staff out of Kansas City.
"They're helping us manage the event in addition to the mutual aid type response," Philips said of their community partners. "They're important to help us pull this off because they're providing a lot of the manpower to make it happen behind the scenes as well as participate in the actual response piece."
Irwin Army Community Hospital also will be involved by testing its mass casualty response as well as medical evacuation procedures.
"By testing all of our C2 nodes, by testing the hospital with the mass casualty exercise, working with our regional partners – it helps to coordinate all of our efforts so we understand what needs to occur when we have a large-scale disaster or emergency. We're going to train it, and we hope that we never have to execute it on this type of scale. By training it if we do have to ever do it on a large scale, we're better prepared, Crusinberry said.
"Our whole goal is to respond, mitigate and get the installation back to normal and the region back to normal just as quickly as we can. What's the bottom line? We just want to take care of our Soldiers and our Families. That's what it's all about."