Test of Cordova’s Disaster Preparedness Coming

Cordova is preparing. Its citizens are beginning to stockpile emergency rations and prepare family disaster plans. Its emergency planners are meeting monthly for training. And its city departments are gearing up.

This phase of preparation leads us naturally into the next phase, which is to test our infrastructure…to test our training…to test our readiness. The absolute best way to identify our abilities and our weaknesses is test them. So…to that end, the city will be participating in a statewide disaster drill next spring. Cordova, mark your calendars. April 30th, 2010 will be a busy day, indeed, for this small coastal community. This disaster drill will make any we’ve staged in prior years appear miniature in comparison. The last large disaster drill Cordova had, in the summer of 2008, involved 56 “patients” lying and wandering around the Mudhole Smith airport, simulating an airplane crash. The drill we are about to participate in will be significantly larger.

The State of Alaska will be initiating this mock statewide disaster drill the week of April 27- May 1, 2010, entitled Alaska Shield. It is coordinating with numerous communities across the state as they each test their emergency capabilities. The drill has been in the planning stages for many months and will include military support and specialized teams from the lower 48.

At this point, plans for Cordova include a testing of our basic communications, our ability to feed people in our shelters, our ability to establish an Emergency Operations Center, and our ability to deal with hazardous materials.

As per usual with our community disaster drills, we will be looking for volunteers who don’t mind getting “moulaged” and having fake blood dripping off of their clothes as they pretend to be hurt. We also hope to be “moulaging” 30-40 National Guardsmen who will be flown into Cordova the night before the drill, positioning themselves as actors in the scenario.

Our local shelter volunteers will have Red Cross training in “how to cook” in the shelters just prior to the drill, and will actually culminate their training by feeding all the responders of the drill for a day.

Yes, it will be an eventful day for Cordova. More details will be forthcoming as they are confirmed. Until that time, start mentally preparing for April 30th.

Be prudent. Be ready. Be prepared. For the big drill.