Redstone Arsenal staff can expect some interruptions to the workday on Wednesday 25th August.
That’s because the arsenal is completing a full-scale exercise, a simulated emergency scenario designed to test and evaluate emergency response measures. Tameline Black, a Garrison emergency management specialist and senior exercise planner, said this year’s simulation will be a severe weather event.
Every 18-24 months, comprehensive exercises take place in accordance with the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program and have been developed taking into account the most likely threats to the facility. The installation response is assessed by representatives of the Installation Management Command.
The exercise won’t just affect Redstone Arsenal tenants – Black said community stakeholders will also be involved, including Madison County EMA, Huntsville Utilities, and HEMSI.
While they weren’t able to provide many details about the event, Dan Huber, manager of the Black and Antiterrorism program who helps plan the exercise, wants to make sure the people in the arsenal are prepared for the event. Emergency messages are sent through the alert system and are preceded by the phrase “practice, practice, practice” to indicate that the message is part of the full drill and not a real emergency message.
The benefit of the exercise is that various agencies throughout the installation can ensure that their emergency logs are up to date to ensure the safety of Arsenal personnel in the event of an emergency.
“The most important thing for the tenant organizations is that you implement the communication, accountability and contingency plans,” said Huber.
The system as a whole is also able to identify strengths and weaknesses in emergency plans and to address them accordingly. This includes not only the people and organizations in the facility, but also community institutions that can be called in in an emergency.
“It is an opportunity for the installation to test their bulk notification systems for installation and the tenant organizations to test their public address systems,” said Black. “It also enables us to work with the local community through MOUs (Memorandums of Understanding) and MOAs (Memorandums of Agreement).”
Ultimately, the extensive practice of the installation management and IMCOM will help ensure that Redstone Arsenal personnel are safe and that communications are clear in the event of an emergency.
“We’ll identify the installation’s response to an event to see if there are any gaps,” said Huber.
Services like One Stop and Fox Army Health Center will continue to operate, so people with appointments on the day of the exercise should not cancel or postpone. Individuals may experience disruptions throughout the duration of the exercise, but no prolonged interruptions are expected.