DHS holds table-top exercises to educate on emergency preparedness and hurricanes
| 05.05.2006 | 06:17:48 | Views: 3234 | ID:
May 5 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will begin a series of regional "table-top exercises" in the Gulf Coast, Mid Atlantic, New England and Southern states as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to help coordinate local, state and regional response and recovery officials in preparation of the upcoming 2006 hurricane season.
Among the areas that will be covered, the department said that "disaster response functions, including evacuations, sheltering, National Response Plan implementation, and National Incident Management System activation," will be addressed. Likewise, residents in the Gulf Coast region have been making their own plans according to USA Today that reported many New Orleanians "are making elaborate evacuation plans that would have been unheard of before Katrina."Such efforts by private citizens and community organizations include businesses buying remote-location leases so they can relocate in the event of an evacuation; the Archdiocese of New Orleans creating a checklist for students in parochial schools to help them make a transfer to another school should local ones shut down; start-up companies that board-up houses and help with evacuation preparations; and local government mandates which require a full-city evacuation for storms that have Category 2 (winds not under 96 mph) attributes, USA Today reported. DHS' George Foresman, the undersecretary for preparedness said in the press release it was essential that responder communities as well as state and local governments share responsibility for emergency preparedness. "By training together now," Foresman said, "we better integrate planning and response capabilities and make certain that roles and responsibilities are understood at all levels of government." Part of that planning will include the department's Hurricane Preparedness Exercise Press Kit which will help to educate state and local leaders. As well, the table-top exercises (TTXs) "will leverage identified lessons learned and best practices determined through an analysis of 2005 hurricane-related after-action reports (AARs)." The TTXs will began this week and included Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington DC. Other regions will have meetings throughout the month of May and into June.
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