A major hurricane makes landfall near Hampton Roads, Va., and continues on to cause severe damage to homes, businesses and critical infrastructure all through the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware. A nightmare scenario?
It is the scenario that five states — Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia — and the District of Columbia will face during the first two weeks of May while participating in a National Level Exercise (NLE).
The exercise will examine the ability of all levels of government, private industry and nongovernmental organizations to protect against, respond to and recover from a catastrophic Mid-Atlantic hurricane.
Multiple agencies in Delaware will be involved in response to the simulated disaster over the two-week period, including: Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA); Delaware Division of Public Health; Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT); Delaware State Police; Division of Communications (DivComm); Delaware National Guard; Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC); Delaware Department of Education; Delaware Solid Waste Authority; New Castle, Kent, and Sussex County Emergency Management offices; American Red Cross; Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD); U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III.
Participants will test their capabilities related to pre-landfall protective actions and warning, sustained response and recovery planning, continuity of government and essential functions during a major disaster, and management of long-duration power outages and critical interdependencies.
The National Level Exercise was mandated by Congress in the Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
While officials in Delaware prepare for and test their capabilities to respond to a major natural disaster, they said there are actions that individuals, businesses and community organizations can take in order to sustain themselves in the event of an actual emergency: Make a plan and make a kit.
“For individuals, simple actions, such as developing a family communication plan, purchasing flood or wind insurance, and making an emergency kit, can go a long way toward being prepared. Businesses also need to assess their risk and make an emergency plan. Civic organizations, homeowners associations, and other community groups can work together to make plans and share resources.”
For information on how individuals, businesses and organizations can prepare for emergencies, visit ready.gov or preparede.org.