News: Nashville District puts emergency management to the test
Story by Leon Roberts
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District held a preparedness exercise Oct. 13 to hone its processes for when natural disasters strike the local region.
The district stood up its Crisis Management and Crisis Action Teams and conducted a functional exercise to respond to a simulated inclement weather event.
Jerry Breznican, chief of the Operation Division’s Emergency Management Branch, said the objective of the exercise is to generate inter-agency communication between the commander, his senior staff and the respective divisions and sections.
“This affords us the opportunity to ensure we work together to achieve the task at hand,” Breznican said. “Exercise and training is the only way to test our ‘systems.’ Every time the staff and teams walk away from these types of exercises they have a better understanding of their role before, during and after a disaster event. We like to build upon each exercise to help us understand each situation better.”
This particular exercise scenario involved local flooding, a tornado strike, and damage to navigable waterways and Corps structures.
Each team member used the exercise to ensure currency of checklists, to coordinate responses, and to train new personnel for their roles on the response teams.
Lisa Robinson, a supply technician on the Crisis Action Team, said practicing during an exercise like this helps her with preparing for real-world events and incidents.
“It helped me get better organized,” Robinson said. “I realized that time is a big factor when preparing for a real-world event or incident. I can identify now things that I would need to accomplish the job quickly and accurately.”
At the conclusion of the exercise, Lt. Col. Anthony P. Mitchell, Nashville District commander, said it’s worthwhile to create a scenario and to generate discussion and to facilitate improvement of the emergency response process.
The colonel stressed that the district has to build upon what the team learned during this exercise and maintain the organization’s readiness level to respond to any contingency at any time.
“There was a lot of good discussion today. There were a lot of good ideas thrown out,” Mitchell said. “But there are still things we need to work on, so I’m looking forward to the next one. The more we exercise, the better prepared we will be should an event occur.”