- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The first 36 hours after mock-Hurricane Zoe pummeled the District were the hardest for the city. Evacuation attempts were blocked in Southeast. Thousands of residents were sleeping on cots underneath gymnasium roofs and officials were struggling to move 37 bodies from a flooded morgue.

In the parking lot of RFK Stadium on Wednesday, these chilling scenarios were real worries, as emergency and rescue organizations took part in a citywide natural-disaster simulation.

“In D.C., … there’s always the potential for something to happen,” said Randy Moses, emergency management officer for the District’s Department of Human Services. “We are in the business of taking care of people.”

To ensure agencies such as the Red Cross and the city’s departments of Mental Health and Fire and EMS are prepared for a natural disaster, every few months they review procedures and walk through hypothetical situations.

The problems created by the pretend, Category 2 Zoe were worse than those created by an Aug. 23 earthquake, a hurricane and tropical storm, which all hit the region within a two-week period.

Northwest resident Felicia Pearson, 35, said she volunteered to play the role of an elderly woman frightened and alone inside the shelter because she wanted to share with others what she learned.

“We had the earthquake, which was a scary situation for a lot of people,” Ms. Pearson said. “This will be helpful to my family, and I can share at work how could we handle it a little better.”



Click to Read More

Click to Hide