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OTTAWA — La Salle County Emergency Management Agency is grading itself and local agencies after it conducted Operation Community Assisted Rail Exercise, a full-scale exercise where manpower and material resources are deployed in a mock scenario.
The goal of Thursday’s exercises is to test capabilities listed in emergency plans and procedures in a facilitated, controlled, and no-fault environment. The capabilities tested during Operation CARE were citizen evacuation and shelter in place, emergency management operations, emergency operation center management, emergency public information and warning, firefighting operations, onsite incident management, public safety and security response, and weapons of mass destruction — HazMat response and decontamination.
La Salle County EMA volunteers had many roles from registration and photography to being utilized as victims at the scene along with people classified as “worried-well” that walked in to local health clinics to enhance the realism of the scenario and its potential. An after action report from the evaluations will be compiled over the next eight weeks.
Connie Brooks, Director at LaSalle County Emergency Management Agency stated “During the hotwash after the exercise, participants were pleased with how things went and felt their level of involvement was appropriate. There were some strengths and weaknesses identified during the exercise, but that’s why we exercise, so we’re not trying to figure it out in the middle of a response.”