Lyons Prepared, a group that was organized as a result of the aftermath of the 2013 flood, and Lyons Fire Protection District teams held their annual joint disaster exercise on Saturday, October 14. This year's exercise simulated a damaging wind event that had caused downed trees and power lines to block roads into most neighborhoods and had cut off all normal channels of communication (cellular service, landline phones, internet, etc.). In the exercise, the winds were also causing
extensive property damage like roofs blown off, panel trucks overturned, and a small plane crash with leaking fuel, as well as medical emergencies in the neighborhoods such as broken bones and a cardiac arrest.
At one point in the midst of all the normal emergency event chaos, the responders were also accosted by an actor giving a very convincing performance as an aggressive and tenacious local newspaper reporter getting in their faces with a barrage of questions before being politely escorted to a conference room by one of the officers so that the incident command team could get on with their work uninterrupted. (Thanks, Carolyn, for your great performance!)
At the conclusion of the live exercise, everyone gathered at the fire station for a debriefing followed by a delicious lunch. The debrief gave the participants an opportunity to discuss what went well and, more importantly, areas where both Lyons Prepared and Lyons Fire can institute improvements to their capabilities.
Altogether, nearly forty people participated in this year's training exercise, and the general consensus was that it was well worth doing, and is something that should be repeated. A big thank you to all of the Lyons Prepared and Lyons Fire volunteers who gave up a beautiful, sunny autumn Saturday to participate, and especially to Chief JJ Hoffmann for being fully supportive of this event and all the chaos it visited upon his fire district.