Ventura County Public Works Agency disaster simulation training ensures county-wide state of storm readiness

November 9, 2017
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VENTURA COUNTY — Even in drought years, severe floods happen: preparation helps save lives and property. The Ventura County Public Works Agency (VCPWA) conducted Storm Day, an annual disaster simulation drill, on Nov. 1, which focused on preparation for flooding stemming from a natural disaster and infrastructure damage.

Storm Day 2017 simulated a severe storm of several days and a scenario depicting emergency response to structural damage to local dams in Ventura and Simi Valley triggered by an earthquake. In light of several recent natural disasters and the major incidents that have followed, this year’s exercise was created to assess VCPWA’s preparedness to address similar, potential devastating events in Ventura County.

The annual exercise underscores VCPWA’s role as first-responders. In floods, debris flows, fires, earthquakes, or any other emergency circumstances, VCPWA works alongside the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department, the Ventura County Fire Department, and emergency medical personnel to provide critical infrastructure support and maintain public safety. The exercise is used to create severe but plausible scenarios to test agency emergency response. The Storm Day 2017 training mobilized VCPWA to its emergency Field Operations Centers, Department Operations Centers, and Agency Operation Center.

“When a natural disaster strikes, Public Works is always one of the first and last responders on the scene to assess the damage and work around the clock until the area is safe again, so citizens can continue with their everyday lives,” explains Jeff Pratt, Director of VCPWA.

The specific objectives of the exercise included testing the agency’s emergency response plans and processes, evaluating information and communication procedures, analyzing the efficiency of department, agency, and field operations centers, and testing the process and procedure to proclaim a local state of emergency. The drill also helps identify any areas for improvement in the emergency response plans.

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