NORTHBROOK, Ill., Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Northfield Township Road District brought together first responders from the villages of Northbrook, Northfield and Glenview, along with the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, to participate jointly in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Virtual Tabletop Exercise.
The exercise was hosted by Allstate Insurance Company as part of its ongoing efforts to establish and strengthen collaborative public-private partnerships in disaster response and recovery. The simulation allowed Northfield Township's local jurisdictions to gather together and discuss collectively how they would manage the emergency as presented.
"Allstate was pleased to partner with first responders in our community and host this event," said Brandi Landreth, director of facilities, security and BCP for Allstate. "Planning and preparation before a crisis strikes can have a substantial effect in improving response and mitigating damage during an event."
Northfield Township Road District's application on behalf of the participating local jurisdictions was part of a competitive selection process by FEMA's training arm, the Emergency Management Institute. The Road District's application was one of just 10 sites selected from more than 60 applications nationally to participate in today's exercise. Northfield Township's combined application was selected as a host site "due in large part to the multi-jurisdictional approach," said training specialist Todd Wheeler of the Emergency Management Institute.
"Communication, coordination, and collaboration are the keys to a successful response and recovery from a disaster situation," Wheeler said. "Participation across boundaries as well as up the ladder at the county level and reaching across to the private sector demonstrates that the response organizations in local government in this area already have a big head start. We don't always see that."
The table top exercise focused on a weather disaster, the scenario being that a tornado struck portions of Northfield Township, Glenview, Northfield and Northbrook. Teams were charged with initiating their responses to injuries, power outages, damaged homes and businesses, blocked streets, and media inquiries, all while coordinating their efforts with other agencies and non-governmental bodies like the American Red Cross.
The event gave participants an opportunity to assess and improve their preparedness, response and recovery plans, which is the core intent of Emergency Management Institute exercises. By allowing first responders to match their plans against a detailed exercise scenario, participants were able to evaluate the key challenges posed by the scenario, and they could then share their outcomes and observations with EMI facilitators who would bring that new information back to the Institute.
Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Executive Director Michael Masters said, "Under the leadership of President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County is working to ensure that we are prepared for all incidents, whether man-made or natural. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Events such as this – which bring together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, at all levels – place us in a better position to ensure that we do not fail. We commend this effort, and appreciate the opportunity to participate."
The exercise was just one step in an ongoing process for Northfield Township's jurisdictions to work collectively together to raise the area's level of preparedness and improve its capabilities to respond and recover from a local or regional catastrophic event.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE :ALL ) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate branded insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services are offered through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com, www.allstate.com/financial and 1-800 Allstate®, and are widely known through the slogan "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®." As part of Allstate's commitment to strengthen local communities, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate employees, agency owners and the corporation provided $29 million in 2012 to thousands of nonprofit organizations and important causes across the United States.
SOURCE The Allstate Corporation