We had a hurricane hit Belize today - more accurately, we pretended to have a hurricane hit Belize today in order to prepare for such a crisis. The exercise was put together by the crisis management team in DC. They put together a crisis exercise and then simulate phone calls and e-mails from the public, the department, the press and Members of Congress. We work on inputting the information into the Crisis Task Force software, develop talking points and generally get an idea for how chaotic such a situation can be.
I actually had it a little bit easy this morning. I was on Congressional and media duty so I got all the phone calls from Congressional staffers and the press. All my callers were calm and collected. Other people in the section were getting calls from friends and family, as well as American citizens affected by the hurricane. The callers really get into their roles and really amp up the stress level when someone is yelling at you or crying or doesn't speak English.
Although the exercise was useful and went pretty well overall, I really don't want a large scale disaster to hit us while I am here. We'd figure it out, but it'd be messy.