FEMA will conduct hurricane readiness exercises in the District and other regions. (Courtesy of FEMA.gov)
FEMA will conduct hurricane readiness exercises in the District and other regions. (Courtesy of FEMA.gov)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that the agency has started conducting the 2018 National Level Exercise for the whole community, inviting individuals, government agencies, private sector and nonprofit organizations to participate in the biennial exercise.

The exercise, which includes activities in D.C. and takes place April 30 through May 11, represents a key step toward implementing FEMA’s recently released 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, officials said in a news release.

The exercise will test lessons learned from the unprecedented 2017 hurricane season across all levels of government and the private sector.

“The National Level Exercise provides an opportunity for those living in vulnerable areas to participate by understanding their risk and taking action to prepare now,” said FEMA Administrator Brock Long. “Resiliency goes beyond just strengthening infrastructure, it is ensuring that citizens, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments have the tools and skill sets necessary to reduce the impact of future disasters.”

The 2018 National Level Exercise tests federal, state, and local governments’ ability to respond to catastrophic incidents; Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and the District of Columbia will join departments and agencies across the federal government for this exercise.

The exercise is based on a mid-Atlantic hurricane scenario, where a major hurricane makes landfall near Hampton Roads, Virginia, causing severe damage to homes and businesses.

The scenario will include power outages and cascading effects to critical infrastructure systems, including impacts to communications, transportation, water, wastewater and hospitals, officials said in a news release.

This exercise also represents ongoing engagement with the private sector and infrastructure to test our coordination through all levels of government in exercise play, from engagement with the National Business Emergency Operations Center, to the regional level with FEMA Region III’s Regional Business Emergency Operations Center, and the state level with our state partners’ State Business Emergency Operations Centers.

The private sector plays an invaluable role in helping communities respond to and recover from disasters, and this exercise empowers FEMA to work closely with those organizations and strengthen our partnerships for future events, Long said.

The 2018 National Level Exercise is the first exercise of its kind following the release of FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

The exercise supports the three goals of the Strategic Plan: build a culture of preparedness, increase readiness for potential catastrophic events, and reduce the complexity of FEMA, he said.

“This exercise provides an opportunity for individuals to join with FEMA and prepare for the 2018 hurricane season,” Long said. “By congressional mandate, the National Level Exercise represents the culmination of the two-year National Exercise Program cycle and is designed to educate and prepare participants for potential catastrophic events.”

For more information, go to www.fema.gov/nle.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *