The City of Purcell recently hosted a severe weather tabletop exercise, designed to better prepare the city and its partners in the event of a disaster.
David Hogg, a research associate with the University of Oklahoma’s Cooperative Institute for Severe and High Impact Weather Research and Operations (OU-CIWRO), assisted City of Purcell public safety officials in developing and facilitating the exercise.
The scenario simulated a damaging tornado, which affected power, water, transportation, and other services.
Participants worked through the scenario in functional groups where they were able to collaborate with other partners within the city and discuss how they would handle each challenge.
“This exercise would not have been as successful without the participation and input from our partner agencies,” said Rachael Huey, Purcell Emergency Management Director. “It was great to be able to work as a team with Purcell Public Schools, The Chickasaw Nation, Wadley’s EMS, AirEvac, Purcell Hospital, the National Weather Service, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management & Homeland Security, David Hogg and everyone else who came out.”
Representatives from the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Norman participated in the exercise by utilizing and testing their new and improved communication platform, NWSChat 2.0.
This communication tool allows emergency managers, first responders, public safety officials, and members of the media to communicate directly with NWS meteorologists during severe or inclement weather.
Since NWSChat 2.0 is a new tool, having only come online this summer, this exercise allowed NWS meteorologists to experiment with new ways of information sharing during an active severe weather event.
Purcell City Manager, Dale Bunn, said there was good collaboration at the exercise.
“There is sincere interest shown by senior leadership in the institutions of Purcell,” Bunn said. “It was obvious looking at the roomful of 53 participants who were willing to invest their time. The interaction and feedback to continually improve our performance by building relationships and knowledge will give Purcell area families a powerful union to address a crisis.
“I am proud to be a part of the leadership group that care about each other being successful. That accomplishment is measured by how we can minimize harm and facilitate recovery from a disaster,” Bunn continued.
“Each communication quality and reaction time is critical, performed with care and perfected by training and collaboration.”
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