OLD HICKORY, Tenn. (Dec. 2, 2015) – The Cumberland River Operations Center at OId Hickory Lock and Dam in Hendersonville, Tenn., recently served as a training ground for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Crisis Action Team.
CAT team members participated in an eight-hour exercise Nov. 17, 2015, which included accountability drills, lectures on continuity of operations, updated information, logistics planning and response team and manned operations stations at the alternate Emergency Operations Center. The refresher class is part of a series of emergency management classes scheduled within the year and the crisis action team consists of employees from various departments.
“Today is a great opportunity for our team to understand where they would go and what they would do in a given situation,” said Jerry Breznican, Nashville District Emergency Management Branch chief. “We have a big responsibility when it comes to disasters around the district and exercise like this provide insight to various situations and information.”
Breznican said one goal is to familiarize team personnel with one another, the Emergency Operations Center, and the alternate Emergency Operations Center, with its capabilities and systems.
Led by officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division in Cincinnati, Ohio, the exercise provided disaster preparedness personnel and emergency managers an opportunity to rehearse their roles and response plans.
According to Delia Rivera, Nashville District Emergency Management specialist, one of the CAT team’s missions is to provide consolidated communication and information for the command during an emergency. As the principal point for the commander's response, the CAT is responsible for collecting data, analyzing various situations, allocating resources, and disseminating information, she said.
This preparation is an important aspect for personnel that are recalled for exercises and to respond to actual real-world emergencies when required.
“I like that sometimes we sit down and break down the scenario, and that's really great to be able to think about what you're going to do,” said Janelle Powell, a budget analysis in the Resource Management Office. “When we're in a real-world situation, we'll have a more broken down way of looking at it. For me, that's extremely vital.”
Michael Gafford, logistics planner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Logistics Activity in Millington, Tenn., spoke to trainees about communication and logistics. Gafford said communication is one of the key issues during any emergency; pre-planning of communications and training is key to help prepare for logistics.
“This training is a perfect opportunity to get everybody in one area and everybody share ideas and know what they will be doing in the event of an emergency,” said Gafford. “Knowing how to obtain hotels, equipment and vehicles in an emergency are absolutely necessary because we don’t want to wait until the last minute for something like this to happen and everybody not knowing what to do.”
During a disaster, the Corps relies upon trained CAT team workers to coordinate emergency operations and deliver fast, efficient service in support of the Nashville District commander.
“There's no way to fully understand what you're getting yourself into without fully doing what we do, coming out here and getting the rhythm down,” Breznican said. “So the more exposure to the different units that you have, the more you learn the tricks of the trade.”
Breznican added that the goal of the training is to improve overall preparedness to respond to any catastrophic emergencies and understand event response flow.
“We have to make sure we are ready and do everything possible to make sure we are ready to respond,” said Breznican.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)