Accomplishments for Core Goal #7: Training and Exercises
Training & Exercise
We placed a priority on coordinating training and exercises across State government and between local jurisdictions to ensure that first responders are prepared and capable of providing first-line and mutual aid response during large-scale or unusual emergencies, such as a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) cooperates with State partners and local jurisdictions to provide targeted homeland security training based on likely threats scenarios and collects data to identify and fill potential training gaps across the state. Following are key projects and accomplishments:
- Developed a new Active Learning and Exercise (AL&E) branch that focuses on producing regional preparedness exercises for Maryland’s local and state first responders and implementing a formal improvement plan following real-world emergencies or full-scale exercises. In 2012, the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) redoubled its efforts to deliver emergency response training and exercises to state and local first responders. As a result, MEMA has developed and is now implementing a strategic plan that sets statewide goals for delivering relevant preparedness exercises to the State’s local and regional emergency response partners on a regular basis, responding to all requests from local jurisdictions for emergency response training, and executing a formal After Action Review and Improvement Plan process for all real-world events and planned exercises.
- Implemented a comprehensive After Action Review (AAR) process for the 2012 Derecho, Hurricane Sandy, and the CSX Train Derailment in Rosedale, MD. MEMA identified 146 specific action items that were either best practices or can be improved upon from the State’s response to the 2012 Derecho as well as 119 from Hurricane Sandy. The After Action Review of Maryland’s response to the 2012 Derecho storm was an unprecedented collaboration with state and local first responder agencies. The resulting report identified specific recommendations that Maryland’s state response agencies have committed to implementing to improve the way state agencies share information, assist vulnerable populations, and deploy resources during an emergency. After Action Reviews are conducted for all significant real-world incidents and major exercises, and MEMA has instituted a new performance management system to track completion of the resulting improvement actions.
- Established a cycle of cabinet-level preparedness exercises that evaluates and strengthens the State’s response to a disruption of government operations and Maryland’s likely human-caused and natural threats, including hurricanes, winter weather storms, and terrorism. MEMA has partnered with federal and local emergency response agencies and experts to increase the effectiveness of Maryland’s quarterly cabinet-level preparedness drills. Outside participants in 2012 and recent years have included local emergency managers, the National Weather Service, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security Exercise team, the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- Developed a three-year Statewide Training and Exercise Plan that identifies the training and preparedness exercise needs of State and local stakeholders as well as those based on recent investments in equipment, plan revisions, After Action Reports, and improvement plans. MEMA conducted regional Training and Exercise Planning Workshops with local jurisdictions, Federal, State and private partners in each region of the state to identify an aggressive schedule of training and exercises based on needs identified from After Action Reports (AARs) and Improvement Plans (IPs) from real world incidents and exercises conducted over the prior year. The schedule identifies priorities for Maryland, addresses DHS’s five mission areas (prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery), and integrates the objectives for each training and exercise with state and locally identified core capabilities to better prepare for future events.