Emergency Managers Practice for Emergencies, and So Can You

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If you work in the emergency management field, you’ve probably heard about the 2014 Capstone National Exercise.

For those who haven’t, it’s a complex activity comprised of five distinct, but linked, component events: Alaska Shield , Ardent Sentry 14, Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise, Eagle Horizon and Silver Phoenix. Together, these activities help us examine the core capabilities described in the National Preparedness Goal.

More specifically, the events and participants include the following:

  • Alaska Shield: State emergency management agencies and FEMA will commemorate the anniversary of the 1964 9.2 magnitude Great Alaskan Earthquake with an exercise that tests response, recovery and mass casualty care.
  • Ardent Sentry 14: In conjunction with Alaska Shield and other exercise sponsors, the Department of Defense will exercise its Defense Support to Civilian Authorities’ mission.
  • Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise: The Department of Energy will participate in the Capstone with a scenario that tests response and recovery following an accident during secure transport convoy of nuclear weapons.
  • Eagle Horizon 2014: During this exercise, many federal departments and agencies will activate their continuity of operations and reconstitution planning to test their continuity plans and ensure that primary mission essential functions can take place from alternate facilities.
  • Silver Phoenix 2014: This recovery focused event is threaded across the entire Capstone and explores challenges associated with prioritizing, and conducting recovery activities involving multiple geographically-dispersed and competing events using the National Disaster Recovery Framework.

We plan activities like Capstone to help our participants think through how to respond to and recover from a catastrophe. Many different people play a role in how our nation responds to disasters, so these exercises include not only FEMA but also our partners in federal, state, tribal and local government, the private sector, and non-profit and faith-based-organizations.

Exercises are facilitated by FEMA’s National Exercise Division, which is where I work.  Just like FEMA’s role with coordinating these exercises, everyone has a part to play in building our nation’s reliance to disasters. For example, you can visit Ready.gov right now for simple steps to prepare yourself, your family and your community for whatever emergency may come.

This April you can also participate in America's PrepareAthon! It’s a chance to hold your own exercise or participate in one in your community—almost like what FEMA is doing right now.

While we can’t prevent disasters, it’s important we all do what we can to prepare for them. Everyone can do their part, so I encourage you to learn more about America's PrepareAthon! and consider how you and your community might get involved.

Last Updated: 
03/27/2014 - 16:40
Posted on Thu, 03/27/2014 - 16:40
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