Power Outage in
Lenora G. Borchardt
This is not a test. Varying viewpoints, even
disagreements, are expected. This is intended to be an
open, low-stress environment.
This setting is the ideal opportunity to consider different
approaches that might be improvements to your current
resources, plans and training.
Relax and participate/ask questions – you will get out of
this what you put into it.
Tabletop exercises do not solve problems, they identify
issues that should be resolved in another forum.
The purpose of this exercise is to discuss potential
activities that might occur in the preparation, response
and recovery phases of a power outage in rural
Activities might include:
Notification and activation
Interagency coordination and communication (e.g., ICP, EOC, JIC,
hospital) and Public Information
Resource management (incl. staging)
Needs assessment (critical facilities, individuals…)
Special needs support
It is the week before the Christmas
The National Weather Service has issued
a hazardous weather outlook for three
days from now.
Snow and sleet are expected.
This storm will have dangerously cold
temperatures/wind chills associated with it.
Activation of a Planning Team
What are the risks What elements might be
associated with this storm? included in the plan of
Who is responsible for action to mitigate the most
recognizing the potential dangerous/serious of the
problems associated with complications?
this storm and instigating How are you structuring the
actions? management of this incident
What agencies should be (multiple ICs, UC?) Is the
invited to a meeting to EOC activated? If so, to
prepare for the upcoming what level?
storm? What public information is
being released? Are you
utilizing a JIC? If so, what
agencies are being
The Storm Strikes…
It is the Friday before the Christmas holiday
The storm began at 10:00 am with sleeting and
icing of the roads and is expected to end
Dispatch is reporting:
Many traffic accidents tying up the first responders
Widespread power outages due to lines coming down
An electrical substation that powers ½ of your
county is down and it is unknown when a
replacement will be found and made operational.
School is in session today but it is an early
dismissal (2:00) day.
Most children will be bussed to their homes
where their parents will meet them after work.
Many of the homes are without power and heat.
The Winter Snowflake Dance is scheduled
tonight after the basketball game with the
The Senior Center is The center also provides
open today for lunch and a “Meals-on-Wheels”
cards but the power has service to those with
gone out. Many seniors mobility impairments. For
are there but the center many it is their only hot
director is unsure if it is meal. The director is
safe for them to drive unsure if it is safe to send
home – especially if their out drivers but is
houses are without power concerned about the
and heat. clients, who may also be
without power and heat.
The hospital is running on back-up power
The generator only powers critical outlets
The contracted fuel company is unsure if they
will be able to deliver additional diesel
The ED is filled with accident patients
People are seeking warmth at the hospital
Workers are having difficulty getting in to work
The local nursing home is without power
Your EOC is without power; dispatch is on
The rest of the government offices are without
Officesare being closed early and employees are
being sent home
Several first response vehicles have had
accidents or are stuck
The jail is without power
The highway crews have been out since the
storm hit and are reaching their CDL time limits
Several water mains have frozen and broken
The fire chief is concerned that there may not be
adequate pressure in the system if there is a fire – a
common occurrence with Christmas trees and
chimneys in use
Roads near the breaks are thickly iced
Some residents are now also without water
People are reporting that:
They have no power/heat
They have no water
They are looking for late/missing/isolated
Trees have fallen on their homes, exposing
them to the elements
Driveways and roadways are blocked with
trees or are impassible due to ice
The local stores are out of staples; deliveries are on hold
until the roads are cleared and the freezers/refrigerators
are out of food and are out of power.
The local industrial plant has cancelled shifts because of
power and water outages and treacherous roads. Some
critical equipment employees must remain at the plant.
Remember, the benefits of
these exercises are not fully
realized until we take the
lessons learned and update
our plans and training.