Preparing for worst-case scenarios
Jumper cables, a flashlight and a spare tire are common items people keep in their cars in case of an emergency.
Just like a flat tire or dead car battery, you can’t predict when a severe storm or catastrophic event will occur. To be prepared for such incidents, ComEd organized Operation Power Play – a statewide drill that tests how agencies coordinate in an emergency.
More than 80 state, county, municipal and private entities gathered at Illinois Tech and locations throughout Illinois to participate. The drill consisted of a comprehensive, multiagency response to simulated disasters, including extreme flooding and related damage and a cyberattack. During the drill, agencies conducted tabletop exercises and showcased equipment and vehicles, like mobile command centers and a SWAT van.
Participating agencies involved included the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Argonne National Laboratory, Peoples Gas, North Shore Gas, Illinois Tech, Ameren Illinois and MidAmerican Energy.
“It brings the representatives of organizations that have a response and recovery role to the same table and lets us actually work together to coordinate what we’re going to do in a catastrophic event,” said Illinois Emergency Management Agency Operations Manager Darryl Dragoo. “It gives us an avenue to communicate across the table to see each other’s faces and become familiar of who we would be working with.”
Operation Power Play is the only exercise of its kind led by a power company in the U.S. When disaster strikes, the drill helps the state prepare to respond effectively so that critical infrastructure is protected and can be restored quickly.