Wapello County departments test emergency management strategies

Operation KaBoom tests Wapello County's emergency healthcare preparedness.

Representatives from various Wapello County agencies participated in a collaborative emergency management training session.

The purpose is to test the county's emergency plan to see if anything needs to be changed or modified. This particular exercise, Operation KaBoom, simulated a chemical release, so it involved groups like public safety, public health, the fire department and the hospital.

The benefit of tabletop sessions like these is the collaboration between the different groups involved in disaster mitigation.

"The time to figure out plans and procedures aren't during a disaster, it helps to know what's going to happen upfront," said Josh Stevens, Wapello County Emergency Management Coordinator. "It also gives our first responders an opportunity to understand and know what our response plans are and what we're going to do during events. So it actually helps everybody refine their own plans and work together to mitigate a disaster."

Stevens said tabletop exercises usually involve 12-15 people in order to keep the exercises manageable. Varying training sessions are held at least three times a year.