The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) hosted a county-wide exercise at NRG Center on Tuesday, July 25, to test and train on Point of Distribution (POD) operations.
This full-scale exercise focused on the recovery phase following the landfall of a category 4 hurricane. The exercise helped assess coordination and communication between local partners, operational areas and the Harris County Emergency Operations Center.
“The exercise was developed for staff and partners to learn about the POD plan in place following a disaster,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Drills and exercises help work out any kinks, so that during an actual event operations run more smoothly.”
PODs are established post-incident for distributing life-sustaining commodities. The need for a POD is based on lack of infrastructure to support normal distribution of food, water, ice and other supplies.
After a disaster, HCOHSEM in coordination with local cities determine the need for a POD, the location, and the commodities to be distributed there. When recovery has reached a point where the local community can sustain itself, the POD closes.
“This POD exercise provides an excellent opportunity for participants to become familiar with their roles and responsibilities,” added Emmett. “Lessons learned from the exercise will help improve our plans to better serve the residents of Harris County.”
Training and exercises are integral parts of community readiness and preparedness. Last year, HCOHSEM hosted 69 training opportunities and participated in more than 25 partner exercises throughout the region.