Regional exercise tests national, state, local response
The 2022 CAPCOG homeland security regional exercise had dozens of federal agencies responding with state and local officials to a mock radiological event in Central Texas in mid-May. After three years of planning, the full-scale exercise became a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s three-year exercise cycle and tested communications as well as response and operations from tactical, investigative, hazmat, and public health teams and equipment. During the exercise, CAPCOG facilitated the use of WebEOC, a virtual emergency operations center that allows multiple agencies to track and share incident information; and the regional notification system and IPAWS to simulate warnings to response teams and the public.
“Exercise operations like these ensure systems are in place for responding to large-scale incidents, and that we all communicate and work together accordingly,” said Martin Ritchey CAPCOG homeland security director. “They are intended to find gaps that we can fill and improve our capabilities.”
Participating agencies included the FBI, FEMA, CDC, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, USPHS, the National Security Council, Texas DPS, TDEM, Austin Regional Intelligence Center, Austin and Hays County hazmat and radiological teams, the Capital Area Incident Management Team, local health departments and many local government public safety agencies. The participating stakeholders are providing exercise feedback which will be used to create an after-action report and spur future planning and policy efforts. The report is anticipated to be published in the fall by the U.S. Department of Energy with portions being made publicly available to participating entities.
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