Disaster exercise to be held Wednesday

March 4, 2013

On Wednesday, March 6, a comprehensive disaster exercise will be held in Mason, Lake, Newaygo and Oceana counties. It will be held in cooperation with Consumers Energy, the National Weather Service Office in Grand Rapids, and the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.

The purpose of the exercise is to test local County Emergency Operations Centers’ capabilities to communicate, coordinate, and exchange information during a catastrophic disaster. An Emergency

Operations Center, or EOC, is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the

principles of emergency preparedness and disaster management functions at a strategic level in an

emergency situation. The EOC represents the jurisdiction’s highest level of coordination and is staffed by the jurisdiction’s highest-ranking officials, allowing it to make high-level policy decisions and emergency protective actions.

As this exercise is testing emergency response plans for Consumers Energy Ludington Pump Storage Facility and the Hardy and Croton Hydroelectric Dam Projects, it meets a regulation requirement of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Dam Safety Program. As a part of the program, licensees (dam owners/operators) must have an Emergency Action Plan on file with FERC and a comprehensive review of the EAP must be completed at least annually. In addition, an annual orientation seminar and drill must be conducted and over a five year period, at least one comprehensive exercise (a functional or full scale exercise) is required with active participation by state and local emergency preparedness agencies along with the dam owner’s personnel.

Mason County Emergency Management Coordinator Elizabeth Reimink said there will be no “field level” activity during this exercise. “Only the emergency operations center will be involved. If the public has a scanner, they will hear the scenario related radio traffic.”

 

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