By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran

California State Prison, Corcoran, (COR) recently held an Emergency Operations Exercise with the assistance of; Emergency Operations Unit (EOU), Emergency Planning and Management Unit (EPMU), and In Service Training (IST). The exercise was set up to evaluate the preparedness of the institution in setting up the Incident Command Post, and readiness of the Crisis Response Team (CRT) to include all areas of the institution that would play a role in an actual emergency situation. The training exercise took place on Facility 3C, West side exercise yard and Vocations area.

This tabletop exercise was sponsored by CDCR, Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) EPMU, following the guidance set forth in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP).

The scenario dealt with an escape plan hatched by ex-military inmates. Their fictional plan involved a drone, a staged riot and a hostage situation. CDCR negotiators were used to communicate with the hostage-takers. The exercise also involved public communications procedures, partner agency notifications such as the Corcoran Police Department and establishing an Incident Command Post (ICP) led by Associate Warden Dan Goss.

AW Goss insured briefings were held in the ICP to ensure everyone was up to speed on the situation. The information developed rapidly and briefings with the ICP managers and communication with the CRT was instrumental in gathering intelligence and continue providing the needs of the institution non-affected inmates during the situation.

The emergency operations exercise indexed at about noon, followed by a debrief form Warden Ken Clark, followed by an evaluation by the EPMU evaluators Mandy Johnson and Dave Lewis.

The overall evaluation of the exercise was given a “Ready for action” grade, with ideas to keep in mind if this had been an actual situation. Warden Clark said this exercise was needed to show our preparedness in an actual situation.

CSP Corcoran was the first institution to bring this type of exercise back, getting all staff involved from Medical, Education, Plant Operations, Administrative staff and support.