The U.S. Army War College and Carlisle Barracks may, at times, feel separated from the surrounding Carlisle area. But an emergency on the barracks is an emergency for the surrounding area and vice versa.
That is why civilian and Army first responders and emergency personnel are teaming up Thursday for a large-scale drill on the barracks. The goal is to be prepared in the event the worst happens.
“We are part of the community. We live in the community,” said Thomas Zimmerman, public affairs officer at the Carlisle Barracks. “We have a vested interest in Carlisle and keeping it safe and secure. One of the ways we can do that is by conducting these exercises, which help us learn, train, refine our ideas and work with our community partners, so in the event of a real world incident we can work as a cohesive team.”
Thursday’s drill is part of Carlisle Barracks’ annual emergency response program. The drill brings together local law enforcement, fire crews, emergency medical personnel and other emergency response professionals with army personnel to run full-scale drills on possible emergency scenarios.
This year’s drill involves a “shelter in place” scenario and mock evacuation of the barracks, Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman said a “shelter in place” can occur in various situations including severe weather or a chemical spill.
“We know it’s important to actually physically go through the steps and planning of a real incident,” he said. “You don’t want the first time that you’re trying to execute a shelter in place or an evacuation of some part of the post when it’s real world, when you’ve never done it before.”
As part of the evacuation exercise, Claremont Road between Post Road and East Louther Street will be closed from about 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday.
All traffic during this time must enter the post through the Ashburn Drive gate, and Carlisle Fire Police will direct traffic.
The Carlisle Barracks will also use its external speaker system during the exercise.
Zimmerman said Army personnel and community first responders train together often. Many of those trainings are what Zimmerman described as table-top exercises where the scenario is discussed and thought through but not actually executed.