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Disaster exercise ‘very positive’

Jason Ferguson
Published: Thursday, May 29th, 2014

U.S. Forest Service officer Nancy Martinz participated in the regional emergency management exercise at the courthouse last Thursday . She and other officers searched each room in the basement for the “gun man” and “hostage.”

 

A shooter with a hostage. Jammed phone lines. An evacuation of the Custer County Courthouse. An evacuee with a broken leg.
To say there were flies in the ointment for first responders to deal with last Thursday afternoon during the regional emergency management exercise would be an understatement.
In a scenario that kicked off under the pretense of a county taxpayer angry over property taxes and a perceived lack of accountability for county expenditures which escalated to a hostage situation and bomb threat, Custer County emergency management director Mike Carter said all of the entities that participated in the exercise performed well and gained valuable experience through their participation.
“Both I and the evaluators thought it was very positive,” Carter said.â��“There are always lessons learned, but that’s the reason you have an exercise. Until you do it, you don’t know where your deficiences and strengths are.”
Prior to the start of the exercise, all of the entities involved met for a briefing to explain some of what would happen. Other scenarios that popped up, such as jammed phone lines and the need to quell rumors springing up on social media websites, were unknown wild cards first responders had to respond to on the fly. 

A shooter with a hostage. Jammed phone lines. An evacuation of the Custer County Courthouse. An evacuee with a broken leg.

To say there were flies in the ointment for first responders to deal with last Thursday afternoon during the regional emergency management exercise would be an understatement.

In a scenario that kicked off under the pretense of a county taxpayer angry over property taxes and a perceived lack of accountability for county expenditures which escalated to a hostage situation and bomb threat, Custer County emergency management director Mike Carter said all of the entities that participated in the exercise performed well and gained valuable experience through their participation.

“Both I and the evaluators thought it was very positive,” Carter said.â��“There are always lessons learned, but that’s the reason you have an exercise. Until you do it, you don’t know where your deficiences and strengths are.”

Prior to the start of the exercise, all of the entities involved met for a briefing to explain some of what would happen. Other scenarios that popped up, such as jammed phone lines and the need to quell rumors springing up on social media websites, were unknown wild cards first responders had to respond to on the fly. 

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