The Emergency Management Bureau of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) participated in the Annual Statewide Hurricane/EOC Activation Exercise Wednesday, May 22nd at the Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center in DeFuniak Springs. The annual exercise serves to practice Walton’s emergency plans and procedures for a potential hurricane making landfall in the panhandle, in preparation for the upcoming Atlantic Hurricane Season. Along with federal, state and private-sector partners, the Emergency Management Bureau simulated emergency response efforts to manage an evolving hurricane scenario. “I was very pleased by the representation and cooperation of the various Emergency Service Function participants. Every one worked together toward the common goal of preparing our community for potential storm impact,” said Major Joe Preston, Director of Emergency Management.
The 2013 Statewide Hurricane Exercise scenario centered on the potential landfall of two fictitious storms, Hurricane Kirk and Hurricane Lay. Hurricane Lay, named in honor of the late Brevard County Emergency Management Director Bob Lay, made landfall directly in Walton County.
As part of this year’s exercise, the Florida Department of Health deployed a Forward Operating Base and Healthcare Facility Assessment Team to Walton County. This was the first ever deployment of these two assets and their participation was deemed a huge success. “Working with our state partners to deploy these new resources helps to ensure that Walton County will be able to respond to the health and medical needs of our county post-disaster. We were grateful to have had the opportunity to host these teams as part of our exercise,” commented Russell Beaty, Assistant Director of Emergency Management.
The 2013 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins Saturday, June 1. Make sure your family and business are prepared to follow the instructions of local officials if a hurricane threatens our community by knowing the nearest shelter, making an evacuation plan, having a disaster supply kit, and having business continuity plan. More information on family disaster planning can be found at: http://www.floridadisaster.org/family and information on business continuity planning can be found at: http://www.ready.gov/business-continuity-planning-suite.