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Sarasota Fla--Disaster Training Exercise

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  • Sarasota Fla--Disaster Training Exercise

    Real-life emergency interrupts City's participation in disaster exercise

    SARASOTA -- A city of North Port task force was rated as one of the two top-performing teams during "Hurricane Jay," an emergency preparedness exercise held last Wednesday, at Sarasota's North Metro Park.

    The 14-member local task force -- made up of city employees and amateur radio and K-9 search and rescue volunteers -- was among the first to arrive at the "disaster scene," despite having to stop briefly on Interstate 75 to assist with a real-life emergency Police Lt. Kevin Sullivan, the task force leader, was directed to stop the eight-vehicle task force when an accident occurred just minutes north of the convoy's route to Sarasota. Another driver had struck a vehicle and forced it off the road, and then sped north without stopping. North Port Fire Rescue EMT's, riding with the convoy in a fire engine, quickly determined that the vehicle's occupants had suffered no injuries.

    After the brief but necessary delay, the task force arrived at the exercise site and was assigned to attempt a search and rescue. Driving off-road to reach the search area, the task force had to negotiate safely around a downed power line. The safety officer for the exercise awarded points to the task force for recognizing the hazard, using the expertise of a Verizon employee and task force member to evaluate it, and detouring around the hazard at a safe distance of at least 50 feet.

    The North Port task force included the following participants: North Port Fire Rescue District - Chief Bill Taaffe, firefighter/EMT John Ambrozic and Lt. Earl Conrad; Sarasota County Parks and Recreation - Dennis Ellison; North Port City Manager's office - Stan Frank; Police Department - Lt. Kevin Sullivan; Road and Drainage - Gary Bujnowski and Mike Renzulli; Bill Norris, amateur radio operator; Utilities - Gary Puckett; K-9 search and rescue volunteers Penny Buchanan and Terry Mindykowski and their dog, Blue; Verizon - Tim Aleshire; and school bus driver Jan Reichert.

    According to Sarasota County Emergency Management planner Tom Shaw, about 328 people participated in the 11th annual exercise, which was cut short due to weather conditions. Next year's exercise will be expanded to two consecutive days. It will take place at two sites, one in South County and another in North County.

    Other area task forces that participated in the exercise were: Oak Park School; Doctors Hospital; Venice Police Department; Bon Secours Venice Hospital; Taylor Ranch School; and the Town of Longboat Key. The Sarasota Sheriff's Department, with the cooperation of the Sarasota County Emergency Management Department, organized the exercise.

    Staff Report
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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