Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Curtis Spencer, U.S. 3rd Fleet Public Affairs
SEATTLE – Representatives from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Washington State National Guard, and federal and state emergency service agencies participated in a Defense Support of Civilian Authorities senior leadership seminar to discuss and build upon the capabilities developed in June of 2016 with Cascadia Rising, an at-sea catastrophic earthquake and tsunami functional response exercise, Aug. 3.
The seminar was based on several specific emergency response strategies, including operational communications, public health and medical services, mass care services, situational assessment, critical transportation, public information and dissemination strategies, incident action planning, services and resources, mass search and rescue operations, and on-scene security and protection.
“The DSCA event is about removing barriers to the success of future operations,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Todd Stansfield, lead DSCA planner, assigned to Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “A lot of what we are doing is generating buy-in within the community and shaping the plan going forward.”
The result of an actual disaster can cause exponential damage to a community. Circumstances may exceed the capability of local agencies to provide aid. The partnerships developed at leadership events like this help ensure optimal assistance can be provided.
“We need partners, and we know Department of Defense assets are some of the best partners,” said Barb Graff, director of emergency management, Seattle Police Department. “The working relationships we have with the Coast Guard, Army, Marine Corps and the Navy is invaluable to us. If we know each other well beforehand, we do a lot better when we really need each other.”
The seminar provided an opportunity for experts to convene and develop a better understanding of how to prepare a response to both general and specific real-world casualties.
“We really have an opportunity to sit down and talk through the threats we face in the Northwest,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander, Washington Army and Air National Guard and director of the Washington Emergency Management and enhanced 911 programs. “Our biggest concern is a potential earthquake, but there are other concerns as well, and we have the chance to talk about them. Everyone in this room or their predecessors have helped put a plan together”
Attendees had the opportunity to introduce new strategies and ideas on disaster response and to cement in place strategies that have worked in past evolutions.
“This is the 6th year that we’ve come to Seattle for this type of Senior Leadership Seminar,” said Navy Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “The exciting thing, from my perspective, is that we’ve built on each event so that this year we actually executed a critical piece of the maritime plan. I wish this wasn’t an annual meeting; I wish it was daily. These are conversations we should be having every day.”
For more information on DSCA, vist: http://www.dsca.mil.