Patriot Center to House Emergency Command Post Exercise

Posted: May 25, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Graham

On Thursday, June 2, approximately 100 personnel from local police, fire stations, emergency medical teams, sheriff’s offices, and health departments (including Fairfax County and Fairfax City) will descend on the Patriot Center for a command post exercise simulating a major catastrophic event involving hundreds of injuries and fatalities.

Organized by the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management, this event will test the interoperability and operating procedures of local community emergency units’ command centers. In addition to local teams, representatives from the FBI; Red Cross; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will also participate.

The command centers, ranging from recreational vehicles and buses to modified vans, will begin arriving in the early evening on June 1 and park in Lot L and portions of Lot K and Lot A closest to the Patriot Center. These parking lots, or portions thereof, will be closed.

According to John Callan, emergency plans officer at George Mason, Fairfax County Emergency Management asked the university to host the event because of the Patriot Center’s large capacity both inside and outside.

“We appreciate the opportunity to be involved in events with local community resources,” said Callan. “These exercises allow our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to solidify our procedures and increase compatibility with first responders.”

George Mason’s EOC will be activated and housed at Mason Hall during the exercise. EOC includes representatives from Mason’s Physical Plant, Office of Housing and Residence Life, University Police, and other operational departments, all under the direction of University Police Chief Michael Lynch. Members of George Mason’s Community Emergency Response Team will also be involved during the exercise.

In addition to the command post vehicles, standard emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, police cruisers, and ambulances will also be on hand for the exercise, which will be conducted with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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