Prepping for danger
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Staff of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will join members of the Iowa National Guard, state and local HazMat and emergency response crews, law enforcement, and volunteer “victims” in a statewide emergency preparedness exercise at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Wednesday May 16.
The exercise is spearheaded by the State of Iowa Weapons of Mass Destruction Response Team, which has held similar exercises near Sioux City and Des Moines to help communities assess their readiness for potential acts of terror.
“The goal of these exercises is to instill a sense of teamwork and give participants a chance to test their ability to respond to a significant disaster,” says UI spokesperson Tom Moore. “Everyone from law enforcement to medical personnel needs an opportunity to assess their operational strengths and weaknesses so they’re as ready as possible if and when a real disaster occurs.”
Organizers are keeping details about the planned incident confidential, to make the exercise as realistic as possible for participants. But starting Wednesday morning, and continuing throughout the day, passersby near Carver-Hawkeye may see ambulances, police cars, and medical personnel treating people or carrying them away on stretchers.
Participants in the exercise include the Iowa City Fire Department, Johnson County Hazardous Materials Team, Johnson County Emergency Management Agency, Johnson County Ambulance, UI Department of Public Safety, UI Hospitals and Clinics, State Hygienic Laboratory, Iowa National Guard’s 71st Civil Support Team, Salvation Army, and the State of Iowa Weapons of Mass Destruction HazMat Team (which includes representatives from the following Fire Department HazMat Teams: Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Sioux City, and Waterloo).
NOTE TO NEWS MEDIA: Media planning to cover the exercise should meet in the southwest parking lot of Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Lot 46), off of Hawkins Drive, between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Parking will be extremely limited, so consider parking in other public lots in the area, including the Dental Visitors Lot to the east of the arena.