Grenada Holds Field Training Exercises for Emergency and Disaster Preparedness
A Whole Society Approach
Grenada's Tradewinds 2016, a joint combined field training exercise with partner nations, was held June 4 - 14. The 10-day event included first responders, U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Washington State, and participants from American Airlines. Private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), chaplains, volunteers, and other humanitarian personnel also participated.
Seeking a whole society approach, the exercise was designed to teach law enforcement and other first responders enhanced capabilities for addressing human-caused threats and natural disasters, along with how to provide humanitarian relief in a coordinated and cooperative manner.
Hostile takeover & tsunami
The exercise began with a hostile takeover that included incendiary devices that resulted in multiple explosions and fires to test the nation's 911 system and its first responders. The focus was on real-world training to help responders understand what they might face when encountering such a threat.
The next exercise included a tsunami that was threatening the island. Many tourists and citizens, including a large school filled with children, were at risk from the imminent tsunami and warnings to evacuate at-risk locations and low lying areas had to be issued quickly.
"The challenges we face in this region can not be addressed by any one nation or any one organization." -- Nivia Butler, chief of the public private cooperation division of the U.S. Southern Command
American Airlines & Amerijet
American Airlines, in conjunction with Amerijet and the Maurice Bishop International Airport, had to address a large number of individuals that stormed the airport seeking to leave the island devastated by the tsunami.
Part of the scenario also indicated that due to the recent tsunami disaster, unsolicited food and clothing donations blocked portions of the runway, similar to what occurred in Haiti, requiring its removal before flights could resume. Amerijet was tasked with handling this issue and it included gaining customs clearance for the goods before they could be removed.
Tropical Shipping handled the design of a potentially real-life port and cargo scenario, in partner with the Seaport Authorities. The scenario included multiple ships laden with disaster relief supplies that were coming into the port, but could not be unloaded until proper clearance was received.
All of the various scenarios were meant to simulate a real-life disaster incident and were designed to pressure the National Emergency Operations Center into prioritizing threats and organizing the appropriate responses in order provide an efficient, effective, and rapid response.
It also helped those organizations involved in the exercise to evaluate their emergency and disaster response plans to see where gaps existed, and helped foster working relationships among the many and diverse sectors.
Phase II of Tradewinds
Phase II of Tradewinds is underway in Jamaica, and will span eight days, from June 20-28. It is hoped that all individuals and organizations involved will realize that many response efforts for these smaller and more isolated nations will require a multi-national, multi-organizational effort. Tradewinds offers a comprehensive platform for increasing response capabilities and coordination.