Exercise Benefits / Facts
The Montgomery County Health Department undertook an effort to develop, conduct and evaluate a disaster exercise entitled “Infirmary Incineration – A COOP Tabletop Exercise”.
This exercise served as an opportunity for the employees of the health department to assess their ability to remain operational in the aftermath of a commercial fire severely damaging their facility. The primary purpose of this exercise will be to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the department’s Continuity of Operations Plan.
At 10:37PM on Sunday a motorist driving past the county health department notices smoke coming from a vent on the top of the building. Using his cell phone the motorist calls 911 to report a fire.
Within several minutes of notification the fire department has arrived. Upon sizing up the scene and establishing an Incident Command firefighters begin to battle the conflagration that is consuming the building.
Because the fire is proving more difficult to extinguish than originally thought, the Incident Commander asked for additional resources. A second alarm is sounded and the supplementary firefighters and equipment arrive. It takes another 21 minutes before the fire is extinguished.
At 7:49AM on Monday the first arriving staff members are shocked to see that their workplace has been severely damaged. They stand in the parking lot waiting for someone to give them directions as to what they should do.
The Infirmary Incineration Tabletop Exercise was held on the afternoon of September 21, 2011, at the Montgomery County Health Department in Norristown Pennsylvania.
This exercise is an example of the kind of exercises that comprise the nationwide Caduceus Shield Exercise Initiative. This initiative provides meaningful exercise opportunities for America’s health system.