MOORE HAVEN, FL. -- On June 11, 2014 more than 70 emergency responders from the region joined forces with Glades County Public Safety, Local Emergency Planning Council, Florida Department of Health in Glades County and Wedgworth Fertilizer, Inc. to participate in an “Emergency Response Exercise”. After months of planning, Glades County Public Safety (along with support from responders in the region) demonstrated the ability to operate in response to a major incident that included scenarios involving real people with simulated serious injuries.
The Planning Team worked closely together with responders and the private industry to provide a learning environment that mirrored a realistic incident. The Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties coordinated “actors” by enlisting the help from sixteen Nursing Students at Florida Gulf Coast University. Some of the students role-played as “victims”, while others assisted with rapid triage. Kelly Brantley, Judicial Assistant for Glades County also volunteered to role-play in the exercise.
The simulated incident occurred at Wedgworth Fertilizer, Inc. in Moore Haven but also included the Florida Department of Health in Glades County which was used as a “medical staging site”.
The responders and other exercise participants trained in areas that focused on emergency management, healthcare, the fire service, law enforcement, emergency medical services and hazardous materials. Following a hazardous event, response organizations specializing in a variety of skills are mobilized to assist in the rescue and recovery.
“This type of training allows responders to deploy to an unfamiliar location and into an unknown situation and manage the incident on arrival,” said John Gibbons, Planner/Program Manager for Hazardous Waste/Materials Program of the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council.
“This was as realistic as you can make it. You respond like you train,” said Bob Kosiba, Exercise Facilitator and Regional Planner/Regional Consultant for the Florida Department of Health. “If you don’t have reality in training, when something happens you’re not going to be as prepared. We learned from each other and shared ideas. This training exercise provided the opportunity to learn together, get a common picture and spend time strengthening professional relationships.”
(photo: simulated victim receives aid from emergency personnel)