Lubbock Prepares Mock Disasters To Protect the People - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/16/03

Lubbock Prepares Mock Disasters To Protect the People

There is nothing to be alarmed about. In fact, you should be relieved. More than 100 emergency crews with the city, county and state are working through a plan to protect the citizens of Lubbock.

"We just got a report. There's been a catastrophic rupture. Completely ruptured and there's 20 tons of liquid chorine on the ground at the airport," mock emergency banter over the scanners all day Tuesday. And game time. 9:30 a.m. This is a functional exercise. The emergency operations center, fully activated for this exercise. It's mostly done on paper and communication devices.

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"Radio check," says Emergency Operation Manager Ken Olson. "You go through the planning phases and then you exercise to test your plan," Olson said about the exercise.

One plan is to handle a derailment at I-27 and Broadway. In this exercise, a tanker car spills heavy amounts of chlorine. The bridge collapses and eight people have died. "Obviously, we're trying to get as close to the realistic event as we possibly can. All the people who would be involved are involved. We take planning from an all hazards approach," said Olson.

"Basically, we came in and overwhelmed their system allowed them to practice their system using resources from the state," said Hank Lawson, Program Coordinator of the Texas Engineering Extension Service. He and other employees have helped around eight other Texas cities with similar emergency plans.

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Lawson says they're receiving more requests for this type of exercise since 9/11, two years ago. Lawson says T.E.E.X. began the state's emergency operation in 1998, right after the Oklahoma City bombing. They do about 11 to14 exercises a year.

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