EMA will simulate hurricane to test preparedness

Published 5:26 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

In the event of a hurricane, Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency wants to prepare everyone to adequately deal with the situation.

EMA External Affairs Officer Yasamie August said a simulated hurricane will test the state’s response to a Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday.

August said the simulation will be held at the EMA headquarters in Clanton and will begin at 10 a.m. and last for eight hours.

“The simulation will drill both of our shifts which is different than we have done it in years past,” August said. “Oftentimes, with an actual hurricane we have to activate 12- hour shifts so this exercise will allow us to test for the first half, have a shift change and test the second half. We want to make sure that both shifts understand proper procedures.”

The hurricane will be called Hurricane Juliet, named by a meteorologist with the Mobile National Weather Service.

August said during the exercise, the EMA along with other state agencies and private groups such as Alabama Power and the Alabama Region of the American Red Cross will simulate the activation of the agency’s new division offices in Mobile and Troy and Dothan.

“We are doing our divisions A and B out of the seven divisions from the state due to those areas being considered close proximity to places hit by a hurricane,” August said.

August explained hurricane season kicked off on June 1 and the peak of the season is not until September so the training will prepare everyone for the busy season.

The training sessions have been held each year from 2005 after Hurricane Ivan and follow certain tasks put forth by Gov. Robert Bentley on hurricane preparedness.

“Bentley tasked us with certain responsibilities and we want to make sure we are able to meet his tasks,” August said. “Some of the ways we can do that are in providing time and accurate information and making sure we have the ability to manage the flow of resources. We also want to make sure we are unified in our response to the situation and that we are properly using our efforts.”