Tallahassee, FL -- May 24, 2012 --
The State Emergency Response Team (SERT) today concluded the 2012 Statewide Hurricane Exercise at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) in Tallahassee. Organized by the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM), the exercise is designed to ensure Florida’s emergency responders are prepared for the upcoming hurricane season, which begins June 1 and lasts through November 30.
“Our annual hurricane exercise allows the SERT to review procedures for planning and responding to a disaster impacting Florida,” said FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon. “I’m pleased with the proficiency of each player in this week’s exercise and I’m confident Florida is ready for hurricane season.”
On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll visited the SEOC to tour the operations and emphasize the importance of hurricane preparedness during a press conference. Lt. Governor Carroll stressed the importance of Florida’s families and businesses having a plan, knowing their evacuation route and preparing a disaster supply kit. The Adjutant General Major General Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. also spoke at the press conference, confirming that 9,000 Florida National Guard troops will be available and ready for action during hurricane season. The Lt. Governor also applauded the success of the 2012 Statewide Hurricane Exercise, as well as the professionalism and expertise of the State Emergency Response Team.
Emergency support functions (ESF) within the SEOC simulated response to the impacts of the fictitious Hurricane Gispert, including providing logistical support to impacted counties through disseminating needed supplies, deploying search and rescue teams, simulating social media and public information messaging, sheltering and evacuation orders and more. FEMA assisted with the simulation of pre-disaster and major disaster declarations, which would allow funding for recovery efforts after the storm.
“Building relationships ahead of a disaster ensures our federal assistance team is familiar with Florida’s emergency response procedures prior to an incident,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Allan Jarvis, acting as the federal Incident Management Assistance Team leader. “We were able to talk through the process this week and learn how best to support the Governor and the State of Florida when needed.”
In addition to multiagency coordination through simulated response, the four-day long exercise also hosted special guests. Chester Spellman, the new Chief Executive Officer for Volunteer Florida played in the exercise in ESF 15, Volunteers and Donations. Florida’s new State Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong, visited today to observe operations in ESF 8, Health and Medical.
The 2012 Statewide Hurricane Exercise centered on the fictitious tropical system, Hurricane Gispert, named in honor of former Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Larry Gispert. The scenario includes the fabricated storm making landfall in Florida in the Tampa Bay area during a time with an increased population. Players from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, state agencies across the United States, FEMA and private businesses, as well as nongovernmental and nonprofit organizations, converged at the SEOC to simulate response to Hurricane Gispert.
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