Disaster response drill prepares city of Fulton
FULTON - No one expects the unexpected to happen until it's too late. A tabletop disaster exercise was held Tuesday in Fulton to prepare city leaders on what to do in the event of a natural disaster.
Emergency Operations Control Michelle Kidwell hosted the round table discussion with about twenty leaders from across Fulton and Callaway County.
She said today's lesson is an important one because in the past, training sessions have come in handy.
"We did a mass casualty exercise that was functional and my communications personnel attended the exercise and did the radio control on site and we did that to review some protocols that were just put in place," Kidwell said. "A few days after the exercise we actually had an incident on I-70. It wasn't a disaster proportion but they fell back on the exercise."
Fulton Mayor Leroy Benton said this is the first training specific for tornado preparedness for the city.
"Our particular role as administrators is to coordinate with law enforcers on responding to various emergencies, clearing roadways and trying to move traffic, coordinate and all that," Benton said. "So it's all a big team effort and again typically teams are not effective unless they practice and that's why we're here today."
During the exercise, Kidwell presented a hypothetical situation of a tornado touching down. She asked attendees how they would respond as time progressed and as more information became available.
"Hopefully after this exercise it'll provide some tools for emergency preparing to where they'll have some questions and maybe some discussion on developing plans with the private sector to help build a resilient community," Kidwell said.
The training exercise lasted almost two hours and provided time for collaboration and feedback.
Jerry Sorte, left, the City of Fulton's assistant director of administration, examines a map of Callaway County with Fulton Utilities Superintendent Darrell Dunlap, right, on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Fulton, Missouri. Sorte and Dunlap were part of a tabletop disaster exercise to strategize how the city would respond to a natural disaster. (KOMU/Hannah Lazo)
Fulton Police Chief Steve Myers explains how his department would respond if a tornado were to endanger residents at a tabletop disaster exercise on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Fulton, Missouri. This was an exercise to strategize how the city would respond to a natural disaster. (KOMU/Hannah Lazo)
Fulton Mayor Leroy Benton, left, addresses Fulton City Administrator Bill Johnson, right, on what to expect at a tabletop disaster exercise on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Fulton, Missouri. Benton said this was the first tabletop exercise held specifically for responding to a tornado in the city. (KOMU/Hannah Lazo)
Michelle Kidwell, the director of emergency management for Callaway County, discusses what the City of Fulton's response to a tornado would look like at a tabletop disaster exercise on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014, in Fulton, Missouri. This was an exercise to strategize how the city would respond to a natural disaster. (KOMU/Hannah Lazo)