Barletta: FEMA Offers Power Outage Scenario Simulation
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today alerted local governments and community-based first responders to upcoming simulated power outage scenarios designed to assess the viability of plans and policies in place to react to such emergencies. The Emergency Management Institute within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will offer the four-hour simulations on November 29 and 30 and December 1, 2016. The content will be the same in each session, so participants need only take part in one of them.
“As we have learned from cyber-attacks here at home and around the world, our infrastructure can be vulnerable to outside assault,” Barletta said. “With the possibility of our power grid failing in the face of a cyber-attack or another cause, a little preparation can go a long way. I encourage all localities and first responders to take this opportunity to assess the plans they have in place, or craft new ones to fit evolving possibilities.”
The FEMA program is a “Virtual Tabletop Exercise” designed to help communities examine their responses to long-term power outages. The sessions will run from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Interested organizations should send an email to Doug Kahn of FEMA at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-447-7645. It is also requested to send a courtesy copy email to the Integrated Emergency Management Branch at email@example.com or call 301-447-1381. The application deadline is October 31, 2016. Additional information is available at https://training.fema.gov/programs/emivttx.aspx.
As Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Barletta held a hearing earlier this year to examine how well prepared the United States is for a cyber-attack on the electrical grid. The testimony from utilities and emergency management personnel indicated that states and localities should be prepared to face weeks, rather than days, of power outages following such an assault.
“State and local governments, who are on the ground, will be the first ones charged with the protection of people and property,” Barletta said. “Whether it is a category 5 hurricane hitting Miami or an 8.0 earthquake in Los Angeles, the federal government has realistic estimates or scenarios for states to plan. The federal government does not have this basic planning scenario for a cyber-threat to the power system and there is a huge disparity in what different groups think is a potential scenario for which states and local governments should prepare. These exercises from FEMA will be an excellent learning tool.”