PORT EVERGLADES (CBSMiami) – If you heard about a dangerous and potentially deadly chemical leak at Port Everglades Wednesday, there was no need to panic; it was only a drill.
Broward County’s Emergency Management and Port Everglades conducted Operation Resilient Response, a multi-agency disaster drill. It’s designed to test the response and capabilities of the participating agencies to a significant ‘weapons of mass destruction’ incident.
The exercise simulated a county-wide emergency response to a reported deadly chemical that was leaking from a container at Florida International Terminals, which operates a cargo terminal within Port Everglades. Not only was a quick and thorough response important for people who live in the area, it was also import for those who work at the port.
“This is very important to Port Everglades,” said port spokeswoman Ellen Kennedy. “We are an economic engine for our county. The businesses here at the port provide $26 billion worth of business activity every year. There are a lot of people who work here. There are over 11,000 people who are direct employees of companies here at the port.”
The participating agencies included Broward County Emergency Management, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Florida National Guard, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue, City of Hollywood Police and Fire Departments, American Red Cross and several regional health care and law enforcement agencies.
Dock workers from the International Longshoremen’s Association, Port Everglades Department staff and other volunteers role played as the victims.
Operation Resilient Response is funded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program and is designed to evaluate the region’s capability to respond to such an incident, and meet the Federal Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program planning requirements.