The Knox County Emergency Management Agency in conjunction with the city of Rockland and Maine Lobster Festival organizers held a table-top preparedness exercise July 7.

The purpose of the exercise was to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities to potential incidents at the 2011 Maine Lobster Festival, according to a news release.

The 40-plus participants included agency representatives from fire, EMS, state, county and municipal law enforcement and emergency management, along with representatives from Penobscot Bay Medical Center, American Red Cross, U.S. Coast Guard, county and municipal elected and appointed officials, and the Maine Lobster Festival Board of Directors.

This marked the third consecutive year a pre-festival preparedness exercise has been conducted. The exercise, using national response standards presented under the National Incident Management System and Incident Command System, focused on emergency responder command, control and coordination, emergency policy making efforts by elected officials, emergency public information, and the integration of assets necessary to save lives and protect public health and safety.

The group worked on plan and resource coordination to determine strengths and weaknesses in the current city of Rockland Maine Lobster Festival Emergency Management plan governing the emergency public safety response to potential festival-related emergencies. They also discussed options for providing rapid and accurate information to the public to assist in minimizing chaos.

The four-hour exercise featured locally scripted scenarios ranging from demonstration activities to a law enforcement action and included festival ride emergencies. Exercises of this nature contain certain artificial conditions meant to set the stage for participants. Those included perfect weather for the duration of the festival and significantly lower gasoline prices presumed to encourage greater than expected regional tourism.

According to the Knox County Emergency Management Agency, exercise organizers are confident the city and county are ready for the 64th annual Maine Lobster Festival (Aug. 3-7) and are hopeful the artificial conditions used in the exercise will be realized and bring many visitors to the region during festival week.