KUA Pleased with Mock Disaster Results

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., April 3, 12:30 pm — If practice really makes perfect, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) should be more than prepared when the next disaster strikes Osceola County.
Employee deaths. Chemical spills. Fire alarms. Building evacuations. Media rushing to the scene. Well, not really. But in theory, all those events happened on April 1. In reality, it was part of an annual mock disaster drill orchestrated by KUA.
At the conclusion of the exercise, KUA and its emergency-response plans were deemed “fully acceptable” and contained “no serious concerns,” according to Jef Gray, KUA’s vice president of information technology and this year’s drill coordinator.
“It is important to provide our employees with the opportunity to test response and coordination ability in the event of an actual disaster,” said Gray. “We appreciated the public’s understanding and cooperation during the drill.”
This year’s mock disaster was a large-scale exercise designed to be as realistic as possible, in order to present utility employees with over 175 ‘real life’ challenges. It also allowed employees to test emergency equipment, measure response time, and evaluate communication within the utility — all in preparation for the start of hurricane season on June 1.
The drill involved a wide range of activities, including a simulation of cyber terrorism, a hazardous chemical spill, power line and substation failure, repair of utility vehicles in the field, power outages, production of sandbags at both power plants, and the testing of all emergency generators. Throughout the drill, an evaluation team threw out dozens of unexpected scenarios to test the readiness and spontaneity of utility employees.
Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted 12 named storms in 2003, eight of which would be hurricanes with three major or intense storms.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s 6th largest community-owned utility serving 58,000 electric, water and internet customers in five Central Florida counties.
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Contact: Chris Gent, Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116
cgent@kua.com