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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Fort Leavenworth conducts tornado exercise

  • Officials at Fort Leavenworth spent much of Tuesday responding to a tornado. But the only casualties were those created in a simulation program.

    The fictional tornado was part of a two-day training exercise.
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  • Officials at Fort Leavenworth spent much of Tuesday responding to a tornado. But the only casualties were those created in a simulation program.
    The fictional tornado was part of a two-day training exercise.
    "We run a full-scale exercise every year," Tom Cowan said.
    Cowan is the director of the Directorate of Plans, Training and Mobilization at Fort Leavenworth. And he's the director of the exercise.
    He said the topics of the annual exercises change from one year to the next.
    This year's exercise, which wraps up today, involves a scenario in which a tornado passes through the southern portion of the military installation. This supposedly happened Tuesday morning.
    "We were going to run the (tornado) sirens," Cowan said.
    But the outdoor warning sirens on Fort Leavenworth weren't sounded.
    "I didn't want to cause any alarm," said Chuck Magaha, director of Leavenworth County Emergency Management.
    His office operates the outdoor sirens for the county. He said he didn't want to confuse people about whether there actually was severe weather. He said it was raining in the south end of the county at the time.
    As part of the exercise, people reported to the Installation Base Operations Center, the Family Assistance Center and the Joint Information Center Tuesday morning at Fort Leavenworth.
    Cowan said an incident command post was set up at a fire station at the fort.
    Late Tuesday afternoon, he said about 200 people were participating in the exercise at several locations on the military installation. But he said the entire post went through a tornado drill earlier in the day.
    Under the computer simulation used for the exercise, the tornado resulted in deaths and other casualties as well as damaged structures.
    The simulation used was created by Applied Training Solutions. Bill Bewley, president of the company, said this type of training can save lives as people become more prepared.
    Cowan said an after action review will follow the exercise. Officials will look at lessons learned, and training vignettes will be created. He said standard operating procedures ultimately will be updated.

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