KISSIMMEE, Fla., April 2, 5:00 pm — Power outages, chemical spills, critical injuries and limited time confronted the participants in Kissimmee Utility Authority’s annual disaster drill on April 1. After a thorough review of the results of the four-hour exercise, officials announced today that KUA and its emergency-response plans were deemed “fully acceptable” and contained “no serious concerns.”
“Overall, we were very pleased,” said Jef Gray, KUA’s vice president of information technology and this year’s drill coordinator. “It was a learning experience for everyone involved, and we saw areas where improvements can be made.”
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 200 “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 plant and substation failure, repair of utility vehicles in the field, removal of downed trees and the testing of emergency generators. Throughout the drill, dozens of unexpected scenarios were introduced to test the readiness and spontaneity of utility employees.
Gray led an evaluation team who witnessed and numerically scored each scenario. Those scores and other written observations made during the drill will be shared with the respective utility departments. Representatives from Osceola County’s Emergency Management Department, Kissimmee Fire Department and the U.S. Federal Courts Office in Orlando observed this year’s drill to gain insight into disaster drill planning.
Founded in 1901, KUA is Florida’s sixth largest community-owned utility providing electric, water, and telecommunication services to 170,000 residents in five Central Florida counties.
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Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116