Skittle hazards

This semester, our class is responsible for designing and controlling 2 functional exercise and one full scale exercises. Our clients include municipalities and private companies. My group is responsible for a county not too far from where our school is located, and I’m specifically in charge of creating the Master Scenerio Events List (or MSEL) for one municipality within the county.

We decided to simulate an ice storm, since a weather event can cover a large geographic area and allows us to have staggered activation times. It’s been fun coming up with different problems that could arise during the disaster, but its also been challenging because we want to make sure the scenario is realistic. We also have to make sure that all of our scripts co-ordinate somewhat with each other–since EMS and Social Services are county responsibilities, the events in my municipality (including prompts for Police and Fire) need to correspond to the EMS prompts in the county MSEL. We also want to make sure that the Emergency Control Group is kept busy for two hours, without being overwhelmed, and that everyone has something to do.

My biggest challenge has been figuring out where I can place my different events. Car accidents and downed trees are a simple prompt I can insert, but I need to make sure that the roads I’m targeting aren’t county roads. I also need to make sure that when I take out power lines, I’m taking them out on a road that actually has power lines!

To help me conceptualize, I’ve been sitting on my floor for the past couple of hours with my maps, trying to make sure my prompts make sense. I couldn’t find any post-its, so I improved–with skittles!


Some of my residents came in and ate a car crash and a couple of downed trees, but fortunately I snapped these on my phone before all the hazards got eaten!

I’ve been noticing how much more time I spend on the ground in college than I ever did in university! I really like how I can physically see the things that I’m doing and get out and actually do them, rather than spend hours at my desk writing essays (although, don’t get me wrong–I do plenty of that too!)


My MSEL still needs a bit more work. I’m not an expert at first response procedures, so we are consulting with some police officers as well as the CEMC’s of the municipalities we’re working with. At the moment, I have a fairly detailed Excel spreadsheet listing all of the prompts that will be called in from the Sim Cell on the day of the exercise. I’m definitely grateful for my summer job at Foreign Affairs last summer–even though all those hours struggling with Excel almost killed me, I feel like an expert now!

I’ve also got a floor meeting tonight in which I have to address some awkward issues–namely the use of derogatory terms and stolen food. Usually my floor is pretty good about showing up for these things, but I’m not sure how receptive they’ll be–especially this close to midterms.

In the meantime, though, I’m going to go snack on a traffic jam.