Tybee officials take part in an emergency operations drill.
TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -
Tybee Island is better prepared for a big storm now than it was Thursday morning.
City officials working with the Chatham Emergency Management Agency completed an emergency storm exercise that focuses on efforts after a storm. It took more than six months to plan Operation Coordinated Recovery, which focuses on what the city of Tybee would do if a hurricane or bad storm were to strike.
The training experience was like no other.
"This involves, very uniquely, the recovery after a hurricane. we looked all up and down the east coast and could not find another one like this," said CEMA Director Clayton Scott.
The exercise ran all morning long with team members completing different tasks such as damage assessment and medical help. Teams were in constant communication with city officials. Even some residents volunteered their time to help act as stranded survivors.
In the control room, team members worked and represented an agency such as the American Red Cross, fire department, police department the hospital and dispatch. The teams doing the exercise were called in and simulated talking with these agencies.
The mayor of Tybee said the purpose of the drill was simple.
"What are the gaps in are recovery plan? What can we do better? Sometimes the best way to understand is by actually simulating a disaster," said Mayor Jason Buelterman.
CEMA's director said the simulation was planned long before Hurricane Sandy, but that storm served as a tragic reminder.
"It has shown residents that have watched what happened up north just how devastating it would be if a storm hit here. What happened in New York and New Jersey would pale in comparison if one hit. With a Category 1 hurricane, Tybee is completely under water," Scott said.