Urban Shield has grown into a comprehensive, full-scale regional preparedness exercise.
BAY AREA UASI
Continuing an exercise best practice
During Urban Shield, we take the opportunity to look back upon the progress the entire program has brought to the Bay Area and our global partners. Notably, we see that the Yellow Command exercise has become a best practice which our local jurisdictions look forward to participating in each year.
Yellow Command is the portion of Urban Shield that focuses on emergency management and the support that Emergency Operations Centers provide for effective response and recovery efforts in the field. Each year Yellow Command tests one aspect of the Bay Area’s Regional Catastrophic Planning efforts. It is an opportunity to work collaboratively with Federal, State, and Local agencies along with public and private sector partners.
In 2013, we practiced a passenger train crash to test the Regional Mass Fatality Plan.
In 2014, we practiced a high explosive terrorist attack to exercise the Regional Donations Management Plan.
In 2015, we practiced coordinated terrorist attacks throughout the Bay Area testing the Regional Mass Transportation and Evacuation Plan.
In 2016, we’ve learned that it is invaluable for multiple local EOCs to practice an activation concurrently with State and Federal participation in the exercise. This allows us to test and improve our communication processes for resource requests and situational awareness in advance of a real world emergency. We have also learned that it is invaluable for first responders to exercise their response actions in field with live communications to the EOC.
A catastrophic earthquake remains the number one hazard threat likely to cause the most damage to the Bay Area. For 2017, we have developed a deep focus on one very important aspect of disaster recovery: Commodity Points of Distribution (C-PODs). In 2018, we will exercise mass care and sheltering operations.
Commodity Points of Distribution
Our Federal, State, and local partners have agreed that one method for distributing life sustaining resources to the impacted population following a catastrophic earthquake will be through Logistics Staging Areas and C-PODs. C-PODs, which act as a first line of relief to survivors, are designed for large-scale, catastrophic incidents and typically operate for 3-7 days after an event while retail establishments work to recover. C-PODs have been widely used and tested in the southeast, where large hurricanes cause serious supply chain disruption, but there have been very few C-POD activations here in California.
During Yellow Command, four C-PODs will be set up to test actual processes and flow of distributing commodities (i.e. bottled water) to the impacted population. These will be set up and operated by local government using existing guidance materials such as the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Logistics Response Plan and its companion Point of Distribution Field Operations Guide. Additionally, each of the Bay Area Operational Areas are developing customized C-POD Activation Guides with UASI funding.
Participating EOCs, will experience a two-phased exercise. During the first phase they will work through the process of planning for C-POD activation and the second phase will focus on supporting the operations of C-PODs within their jurisdictions. The result of Yellow Command will be improved readiness throughout the Bay Area for facilitating recovery through distribution of life sustaining commodities.