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Renton Emergency Responders Participate in Disaster Simulation

"Disasters are times when people - business owners, city officials and staff, and neighbors - truly come together in a spirit of community, " said Renton Mayor Kathy Keolker.  I'm very proud of the fact that more than 70 city staff, private and community partners expressed that important sense of community early - before the crisis."

Renton tested its readiness for a disaster, specifically a major earthquake, in a simulation conducted in early May 2006.  The training program was offered by the Department of Homeland Security - Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Integrated Emergency Management Course (IEMC) at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The course was funded through a federal grant that awards the cost of airfare, lodging and registration for all participants.

Through the training program, participants implemented and evaluated the city's existing Emergency Management Plan in a controlled environment. Groups focusing on policy, coordination and operations focused on specific jobs based on the positions they hold in their own jurisdictions. During the exercise, the three groups face a variety of emergencies and function as part of a team to respond to the situation and are tested to manage the emergency response effectively. A critique session followed the scenario to assess how well the team functioned during the emergency.

The course built awareness and skills needed to develop and implement additional policies, plans and procedures to protect life and property in the event of natural and man-made emergencies. In addition, by working together in a simulation, various stakeholder and responders had the opportunity to develop and strengthen cooperative relationships.  The lessons learned from this training are already being used to improve operation of the city's Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) for any type of disaster. 

Local participants in the course represented:  city of Renton staff; King County Emergency Management; Valley Medical Center; the National Weather Service; Valley Communications; the Salvation Army; the City of Kent; the Renton Housing Authority; the Boeing Company; the Washington State Military Department Emergency Management Division; Seattle-King County Department of Public Health; the American Red Cross; Puget Sound Energy; King County Medic One; Renton Technical College; and the Kennydale Neighborhood Association.