The Blue Cell set up of Chelsea County/Tyler Town allowed IMT’s, hazmat teams and search and rescue teams an opportunity to work together and to work through the scenario in an as realistic situation as possible without having put people in harm’s way. The scenario was a tornado struck Tyler Town’s industrial park, airport and town. The town is a metropolis of 1 million people and encompassing 85,000 square miles. Now, of course, you cannot set up a diorama that reflects that actual size or you would need several buildings to accomplish that feat. However, with The Blue Cell’s recent purchase of Command School TTX, a company specializing in Table Top exercises, the exercise was very realistic.
The day started out with setting up cars in the model town. This was like a dream come true for a big kid like myself. Playing with Matchbox© cars and scale version buildings on giant canvases allowed the teams to see a situation, lay hands on it, and own it. A cadre of radios was utilized to give realistic communications problems between too many people with radios, dead batteries and people walking over the top of each other. COML's had to work hard to rectify some of these issues. I heard one of the team members grumbling about having to waste his time “driving to another part of town” because no one was listening to the radio. There were several command trailers set up in the parking lot of KDEM and, realistically, the worker had to leave the command center and respond inside the building to find the team leader to get the information he needed, but in a real life situation he would have been driving a long distance to check on the welfare of the team leader and his team.