XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – The city of Xenia practiced extensive disaster response scenarios Monday, in an effort to test its emergency response plan.
The city offices were closed for Columbus Day, but many city employees still reported to work for the disaster training.
“It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re providing for the safety and care for our citizens. Exercises like this really are an opportunity to test us to see how capable we are of just stepping in in the event of a catastrophic situation,” said Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman.
First responders tended to staged disasters across the city. Firefighters practiced extricating victims from serious car crashes, police, fire and EMS responded to nearly two dozen people simulating injuries from a tornado at the Athletes in Action football field, and the groups worked with city administrators during a staged “missing child” incident.
At an incident command center at the Xenia Fire Department, multiple city departments worked together to mitigate numerous emergencies and develop action plans on the fly.
Most of Xenia’s employees go through FEMA National Incident Management System training. The online course helps employees understand their roles and responsibilities before, during and after a large-scale incident. Monday’s training gave the staff an opportunity to practice those roles and test the city’s response plan.
Merriman said the city had been planning the exercise for months, but recent national crises, like the Las Vegas shooting and hurricanes that pummeled Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico highlighted the importance of being prepared.
“It doesn’t really matter how much training you have, every scenario is going to be different,” said Merriman. “It’s going to be a high-stress, high-risk situation. The more you drill things, the better I think our staff will be able to respond to things.”