Ready. Set. WAIT!!
The November 2011 full scale exercise, Operation Runway Rumble, got off to a very rocky start. As usual, we were having trouble getting a location for the exercise. We had previously decided we would like to do a tornado exercise and were planning around that, but we needed a location. Gary Freeman, the deputy exercise coordinator, and Dave Cook, had been working diligently on a site location.
At one point, we thought we had a location. However, it was too small and had very little parking. Looking at a secondary location, we also found it to be unusable. While looking for a location and planning the exercise, we were also helping out with Operation Mountain Guardian. Though this was a lot of work and effort, it was a blessing in disguise. Jenn Scott worked with Pony Anderson and got us permission to use the Lowery 900 building. We now had a location!!
Planning continued. Due to prior commitments, the exercise coordinator was not available for a two week period just prior to the exercise. This left the planning to the deputy. Gary stepped up to the challenge and did an excellent job.
Nursing students from the Denver School of Nursing volunteered to be our role players. Based on pre-registration, the role players out numbered the responders at about a 4-to-1 ratio. The responders had their work cut out for them.
We had plenty of participants. We had a plan. We had a date. We had a location. We were set to go.
A little over a week before the exercise, campus personnel informed us that the restroom facilities open on weekends were not equipped to handle 200 people. We needed to find an alternative. We needed to find port-a-potties at a reasonable rate (can you say cheap or even free?). We were within five days of having to cancel the exercise when Carolyn Bluhm, Denver Office of Emergency Management, came through for us. She was able to find two port-a-potties, have them delivered before the exercise started and picked up when all was said and done. The exercise was back on.
Many people think planning our exercises is easy and there are no issues. This is not true. All exercises have their challenges. What makes planning the exercises a success is the planning team working together to work through the issues. What makes the exercises a success is the participants.
Check out the O.M.E.G.A. website at http://www.OMEGAresponders.org/ for more information and to find out about our next exercise.