It’s mid August and emergency management coordinators are preparing for Hurricane Adam to make landfall within the next 48 hours. Road closures are taking place in Red Bank, and, evacuations are already in effect in Sea Bright, the coastal community known for its dangerous flooding. It’s a scenario emergency management officials hope they will not have to put into action any time soon, but if they do, they’re now more prepared, thanks to the tabletop exercise conducted by the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management. “Monmouth County fared well during Hurricane Irene,” said OEM Coordinator Mike Oppegaard. “With Hurricane season upon us, it is essential to prepare, by capitalizing on our strengths and by fine tuning what could be improved.”
The tabletop exercise which took place at the Monmouth County Fire Academy on May 11th and 12th was well attended by emergency management coordinators from the coastal, western and bayshore communities of Monmouth County, along with members of the Red Cross, Salvation Army, the United Way of Monmouth County and other agencies that assist during a disaster.
Each agency had the opportunity to assess their capability to communicate and coordinate response activities. The Hurricane Adam scenario dealt with operational planning prior to landfall, during landfall and post landfall. “An exercise like this is vital to Monmouth County,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “It provides towns with the opportunity to communicate, plan and prepare. Most importantly, this training helps ensure public safety should a disaster occur.”
The exercise also focused on determining and disseminating evacuation orders, procedures on how to forward resource requests to the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management, how to communicate the most up to date shelter information (openings, locations and occupancy) to the general public and OEM, and how to communicate municipal activities to the Monmouth County OEM.
The tabletop exercise was the first of its kind since Hurricane Irene. Each agency in attendance also had the opportunity to participate in the online version of the exercise which can be used as a reference guide in preparation for weather related emergencies.