I was just wondering if anyone else is participating in this "Top Off" disaster drill? I got the opportunity to volunteer to be a patient during my First Responder course. It sounds like it should be pretty interesting. We had our orientation for the drill this past saturday, and to be honest, I learned more about it from watching the news. I was originally under the impression that this was supposed to be a "surprise drill", but the news has done a pretty good job of giving all of the details. Either way, it should prove to be a good learning experience for all...
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Thread: Nationwide Disaster Drill
05-12-2003, 09:24 PM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
- Northern IL
Nationwide Disaster Drill
05-13-2003, 05:14 AM #2
Note: My agency is not involved with the current set of scenarios.
SEATTLE (AP) - A national bioterrorism drill for hundreds of
firefighters, police and other emergency workers began Monday with
a mock explosion of a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a car in a
Seattle industrial lot.
Meanwhile, volunteers at Pacific Lutheran University near
Tacoma, about 40 miles to the south, simulated a second,
simultaneous attack. The attack involved a car bomb as well, but
the scenario also called for a terrorist to run into a campus
building and take hostages.
The five-day drill, combining the Seattle disaster with a mock
bioterrorist attack in Chicago, is aimed at testing the readiness
of local, state and federal authorities. It is the nation's first
large-scale counterterrorism exercise since the Sept. 11 terrorist
The idea, said Mayor Greg Nickels, is for regional and national
agencies to see where strengths and weaknesses lie.
"When a disaster occurs, people do not call the White House,"
Nickels said. "They call 911."
The exercises, which are being spearheaded by the Homeland
Security Department, will cost an estimated $16 million and involve
more than 8,500 people from 100 federal, state and local agencies,
the American Red Cross and the Canadian government.
On Monday afternoon, fire and police personnel in Seattle began
arriving as spot fires were set throughout the industrial site.
People trapped on a smashed bus cried for help. There even was a
fake news crew.
In Washington, D.C., officials were running the entire drill
from a hotel ballroom. About 80 federal workers from 26 agencies
sat at long rows of tables, working phones and laptops and
directing their agencies' work. Computers projected maps of Seattle
and Chicago onto large screens.
Over the next few days, a number of "patients" are to show up
at hospitals in the Chicago area, suffering from flu-like symptoms.
In the script, a terrorist group releases a deadly plague in
A detailed, 200-page scenario has been written for the drill,
which officials said will be as realistic-looking as possible.
Stand-ins will portray President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney
and even press secretary Ari Fleischer.
Some details have been kept from the participants to make the
exercise more realistic.
The Office of Domestic Preparedness has been planning the event
- dubbed "Topoff 2" for "top officials" - since the first such
drill, "Topoff 1," was conducted three years ago in Denver and
Seattle's mayor said he is not worried that the security
exercise may cause panic, noting that the event has received
extensive publicity locally. Emergency agencies reported no calls
from people worried they might be witnessing the real thing.
Hundreds of evaluators will watch the exercise and report their
findings for later study.
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