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SGTC hosts tabletop emergency operations exercise

AMERICUS — South Georgia Technical College (SGTC) officials participated in a tabletop emergency operations exercise recently with approximately 30 individuals from the Sumter County Emergency Management organization, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, the Americus Police Department, Georgia State Patrol, Phoebe Sumter Medical Center, the local emergency planning committee, community response team, Middle Flint Regional Enhanced 911, and other organizations.
“South Georgia Technical College appreciates the support that we receive from the law enforcement and emergency operations organizations in our service area,” said SGTC President John Watford, Ed.D. “Each of you and your organizations are crucial to our communities and to this college. We appreciate you and thank you for giving your time to this type of exercise that we pray none of us will ever be called upon to implement.”
Don Smith, special assistant to the president, organized the event with SGTC Campus Safety Director Sammy Stone. Nigel Poole, Sumter County Emergency Management director, conducted the tabletop exercise with the assistance of the other emergency organizations.
“The Emergency Operations Drill is a serious activity and we are so grateful to each of you in the room today for your commitment to this exercise,” said Smith. “This drill allows South Georgia Technical College to gain from your experience because we know that your knowledge is vital in the event of an emergency situation.”
Safety Director Stone echoed Smith’s comments and asked each of the participants in the room to introduce themselves and their roles with their organizations.
After the introductions, Sumter EMA’s Poole began the drill that featured numerous scenarios in which the SGTC personnel were expected to respond. The observers or other participants and subject matter experts from the emergency response organizations, also gave input to the scenarios.
“We covered the exercise roles and responsibilities as a team,” said Poole. “We are training. This is not a test. These exercises are designed to identify what South Georgia Technical College and other agencies would need to do in the event of an emergency.”
After the tabletop exercise was completed, Poole conducted an after-action review. Questions such as “what would make this exercise better?” and “what action steps do we need to take, based on lessons learned?” were asked and answered.
“Overall, I think the exercise and assessment went very well,” said Poole. “Additional steps were identified or proposed for the college to consider implementing such as building safety briefings into classroom induction sessions and more training for all faculty and staff members. Training is something that has to be constant and consistent when attempting to maintain security.”
SGTC has conducted three actual emergency operations drills on the Americus and Crisp County Center campuses over the past three years as well as held internal tabletop exercises.