The particular exercise is held every eight years, according to Cleveland-Bradley County Emergency Management Agency Director Troy Spence.
“It was designed to see how agencies respond together in a radiological incident shelter situation,” Spence explained.
Players in the group included the American Red Cross, the Pet Disaster team, Amateur Communications System, Cleveland Police, Bradley County Fire and Rescue, TVA, Bradley County Health Department and others.
The scenario played out as those in the mock Emergency Preparedness Zone around Sequoyah Nuclear Facility began making their way to the designated shelter.
Jeff Gunter of CBCEMA said that in a “real life” situation two shelters complete with monitoring equipment and decontamination units would be set up.
In the past, pet owners had no way to house their pets in the event of an evacuation.
One unique aspect of the graded exercise Tuesday was that the Pet Disaster team set up the trailer which was placed into service earlier this year by CBCEMA.
It provides kennels and care for pets during the event of evacuation emergencies.
“Striker” was placed into service as his owner, Carla Boudrot, acted as a victim who had fled the mock contaminated zone.
Both Boudrot and Striker were assessed by members of the Bradley County Health Department and then entered a decontamination area where they showered and would have been provided suits in the event of a true emergency.
Officials utilized dosimeters to check the amount of radiation of the player’s shoes, clothing, body and face.
Even the vehicle used by the player to get to the shelter was monitored by officials.
CBCEMA Administrative Officer Curtis Cline said he believed utilizing an animal during an exercise was a “first.”
After the exercise, FEMA officials offered comments.
“We are very pleased, and FEMA was very complimentary, and they were surprised with the use of the Pet Disaster response,” Spence said. “This was one of many types of exercises we train and educate ourselves for and our community of first responders.”
Spence said an overview of the exercise will be presented in the future.