Mock Disaster to Strike Kissimmee

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KISSIMMEE, Fla., March 31, 9:30 am — As Florida prepares for another hurricane season beginning on June 1, Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) will conduct a large-scale mock disaster drill on Thursday, April 1, to test emergency equipment, measure response time, and evaluate communication within the utility.

At approximately 8:00 am on Thursday, a general alarm will sound and employees will respond to a simulated hurricane strike. The exercise, which is expected to last approximately four hours, will be treated as if it were a real-life disaster. Casualties and a simulated evacuation of facilities will form part of the exercise.

The drill will involve a wide range of activities, including a simulation of cyber terrorism, a hazardous chemical spill, power line and substation damage, repair of utility vehicles in the field, power outages, production of sandbags at both power plants, and the testing of all emergency generators. During the drill, an evaluation team will also throw out unexpected scenarios to test the readiness of utility employees.

Although it’s a drill, utility employees are taking it seriously, following the same procedures they would if the disaster was real. “These drills prepare our employees to respond to any emergency,” said Jef Gray, KUA’s vice president of information technology and this year’s drill coordinator. “They are crucial to KUA’s emergency planning.”

Hurricane season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science has predicted 13 named storms in 2004, seven of which would be hurricanes with three major or intense storms.

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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Chris Gent
Manager of Corporate Communications
(407) 933-7777 ext. 1116