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DPH simulating disaster relief in Sussex

Department of Public Health

Delaware’s Division of Public Health is running a mass care simulation exercise today.

DPH is testing its ability to manage a shelter for people displaced from their homes by a disaster event. A temporary shelter set up at Sussex Central High School and about 50 volunteer actors will play evacuees who will register with the Red Cross, receive simulated medical care and take shelter for themselves and their pets.

“We have people playing certain roles to make sure they get the right services that we’re asking people to provide. So we have specific actors that have an identified role and we’re using those actors to test different areas of the plan,” said Office of Preparedness Director Tim Cooper.

Cooper says drills like this provide an opportunity to take inventory of staff, equipment and resources needed if Delawareans are displaced from their homes by an actual event.

“If something doesn’t go right, it’s an exercise. So we would rather find out now and make improvements before we have to actually deploy all these resources for an actual storm or an actual event,” he said.

The state usually does a large scale exercise like this once a year, meant to help prepare emergency managers for any number of different events like a hurricane or hazmat release. But this year it is adding a new shelter manager position to the simulation.

The state is partnering with the Sussex County Emergency Operation Center and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency in the simulation.

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