CONWAY — Emergency responders on Thursday used a hurricane scenario to test the state's ability to receive out-of-state emergency aid.
Arkansas Department of Emergency Management officials gathered at the Conway Expo Center for the exercise, which imagined how the state would deal with a hurricane that first made landfall in Louisiana and then continued into Arkansas. Issues needing attention included responding to damaged areas and dealing with an at-capacity shelter system for those displaced by the storm.
Officials set up a command center at the expo center, where volunteers acting as arriving out-of-state aid workers had to sign in, get ID badges and be assigned where to go.
Yvette Smith is the agency's coordinator for the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which provides for states giving mutual aid to one another in the event of disasters such as hurricanes. She said practicing how it would work is important so Arkansas can be ready to receive or provide aid.
"If you're not ready, then everything is in chaos," she said. "And if you're ready and you've exercised it and you know how to do it, then when people come in, you have a smooth flow of you come in and process them through."