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Mock exercise tests real skills
Imagine the situation: the Port of Portland has alerted emergency services to a structural ship fire within the port. Questions are being asked about a possible terrorist act as smoke begins to fill the air and blanket the CBD.
From the Portland Observer
This major accident was the hypothetical situation put forward to emergency services as they underwent a mock exercise at Heywood’s Incident Control Centre on Friday.
Over the course of two hours, representatives from 14 organisations including CFA, Victorian Police, SES, Port of Portland and Ambulance Victoria, formed two teams to assess and control the imaginary incident in real time. Issues such as changing weather conditions, effective and varied communication methods, and the best evacuation processes were evaluated to ensure the best possible outcome for all affected members of the community.
The mock exercise also allowed the Incident Management Team (IMT) and Emergency Management Team understand the potential impacts on the surrounding community, businesses and commercial operators and environments. Lastly, the IMT drafted a media release and took part in a media conference, with members of the press and community asking questions to test the Incident Controller and his team.
In turn, the high-level exercise of Glenelg Municipal Emergency Management Plan partners gave emergency services a thorough understanding of potential risk incident scenarios within a non-wildfire environment.
In conjunction with the mock exercise, the Port of Portland underwent a mass evacuation, with hordes of workers gathering at evacuation assembly points at the time of the accident.
CFA District Four Operations Manager Peter Novotny said the exercise was an important one, giving many agencies a chance to build relationships with each other and essential teamwork skills.
“It was an excellent opportunity for key agencies to work with key industries within Portland to develop a better understanding of how to deal with these potential situations,” said Mr Novotny. “The relationship between response agencies, relief agencies such as Department of Health and Human Services, and key industries is important as we consider potential impacts on the surrounding community, businesses, commercial operators and the environment.”