Yellow Command 2016
Sustaining Regional Catastrophic Pans and Enhancing Situational Awareness
By Craig Dziedzic
Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
For the third year since the inception of Yellow Command, we continue to enhance the Bay Area region’s preparedness capabilities through the exercise and evaluation of regional catastrophic plans.
The Regional Catastrophic Planning Grant Program (RCPGP) was established by Congress to enhance catastrophic preparedness in selected high risk urban areas with an emphasis on regional planning. In 2008, the San Francisco Bay Area Region received one of 10 national grants under the RCPGP, which ended with the FY11 allocation. The grant required a full-scale exercise and a plan to sustain future activities in the region. The mission of the region’s sustainment plan is to increase the San Francisco Bay Area Region’s level of preparedness from catastrophic incidents through stakeholder collaboration.
A total of eight plans were produced through the RCPGP to address the following functional areas:
Debris Removal Interim Housing Mass Care and Shelter
Mass Fatality Donations Management Logistics
Volunteer management Mass Transportation and Evacuation
Under the RCPGP sustainment plan, regional planned training and exercises is leveraged as a means to evaluate the region’s catastrophic plans. A component of the Bay Area regional training and exercise program is Urban Shield, an annual full-scale exercise, which is conducted throughout the Bay Area UASI region for 48 hours. In the Urban Shield exercise, thousands of first responders are mobilized and deployed to dozens of different exercise scenarios hosted by various agencies. These scenarios address the core competencies and response capabilities of law enforcement tactical teams, emergency medical services providers, hazardous materials/urban search and rescue teams, communications, etc.
In 2013, the Bay Area Regional Catastrophic Planning Team (RCPT) collaborated to establish a “Yellow Command” component to Urban Shield to complete a full-scale exercise to test the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Mass Fatality Plan.
In 2014, the Yellow Command regional full-scale exercise evaluated EOC/Hospital coordination on medical surge/patient tracking with the exercise and evaluation of the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Donations Management Plan. SWAT teams performed drills in coordination with the Yellow Command scenario adding a “live play” component.
The goal of Yellow Command 2016 is to engage Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) throughout the Bay Area Region and promote coordination across agencies and jurisdictions in response to a complex coordinated terrorist attack. It will involve live communication from two field play sites to local EOCs, driving regional coordination regarding needed resources and mutual aid. The exercise will focus on validating the roles and responsibilities of regional transit agencies per the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Mass Transportation and Evacuation Plan. Yellow Command also provides an opportunity for Bay Area agencies to practice the use of regional tools such as Cal COP (CA Common Operating Picture) and Web EOC for maintaining situational awareness and communications with regional partners during planned and unplanned events. The Bay Area UASI’s instance of Cal COP has more than 500 users.
Yellow Command 2016 will exercise a two-way integration between Cal COP and Web EOC.
Cal COP leverages local and regional risk management and critical infrastructure assessments—layered with real-time, intentional, technological, and natural hazard threat information—to create a common threat awareness picture. The platform is available to all public safety agencies within the Bay Area UASI footprint. Web EOC is the crisis information management system used by emergency management officials during an activation of their Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Emergency managers, planners, and disaster preparedness coordinators in the EOC are responsible for monitoring events, supporting field operations, coordinating resources, and providing public information. A two-way integration of Cal COP and Web EOC would significantly enhance situational awareness across emergency management and public safety agencies, better posturing the region to execute major events, including Super Bowl 50.