On December 15 and 16, 2020, the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management (OEM), in partnership with FEMA Region 8, conducted a virtual, two-day tabletop exercise. Activities, led by FEMA facilitators, focused on hypothetical scenarios and their impacts on human resources, technology, and facilities. More than 80 participants, including BOLDplanning representative, Will Minkoff, CBCP, joined in online. (South Dakota Office of Emergency Management relies on the BOLDplanning’s online platform for Continuity of Operations, or COOP, planning, as well as its expert consulting services.)
According to FEMA and its Ready.gov campaign, exercises “enhance knowledge of plans, allow members to improve their own performance, and identify opportunities to improve capabilities to respond to real events.”
Further, exercises are a great method to:
- Evaluate the overall preparedness program
- Identify planning and procedural deficiencies
- Test or validate recently changed procedures or plans
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Obtain participant feedback and recommendations for program improvement
- Measure improvement compared to performance objectives
- Improve coordination between internal and external teams, organizations and entities
- Validate training and education
- Increase awareness and understanding of hazards and the potential impacts of hazards
- Assess the capabilities of existing resources and identify needed resources
“The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management has long been a BOLDplanning customer, and we stand ready to support them every step of the way,” said Minkoff. “It was a pleasure being on hand to answer any questions regarding the BOLDplanning platform during this all-important virtual exercise.”
Special thanks to the FEMA facilitators who did an excellent job handling a complex virtual environment with such a large group.
FEMA Region 8 encompasses 29 tribal nations and the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. Its headquarters is located in Denver, Colorado.
The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management strives to create a rapid, effective, and compassionate emergency management system that wholly prepares its citizens, communities, and the state to be self-reliant when facing emergencies and disasters and rely less on government. Like other emergency management agencies across the country, the OEM focuses on key pillars to plan for emergencies, coordinate response, aid in disaster recovery, and, through mitigation, reduce or eliminate loss if the same event should happen again.