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Simply possessing response plans is not enough to ensure effective response in the aftermath of a disaster. Plans must be regularly exercised. Gaps should be identified and closed. In this vein, the ODPM tries to execute national exercises every year. During the exercises, an emergency situation is simulated and the national response framework and standard operating procedures are tested.
Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias (FA-HUM) 2011 was a regionally-oriented command post/ field training exercise executed in Trinidad and Tobago between April 4 to 15, 2011. It involved practicing the national and international response to an imaginary earthquake of significant magnitude occurring in the vicinity of Trinidad and Tobago. The National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC), as well as other Emergency Operation Centres across the country, were activated to coordinate the response and relief efforts of various local, regionaland international participants. There would be
The Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago collaborated with the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Suriname for this exercise. The following local ministries and agencies were involved:
- Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management
- Tobago Emergency Management Agency
- Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force
- Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service
- Trinidad and Tobago Police Service
- Ministry of Health
- Ministry of Local Government
- Ministry of the People and Social Development
- Ministry of Works and Transport
The following regional and international organisations also participated:
- Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
- Caribbean Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU)
- Regional Security System (RSS)
United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM)
- Standing Joint Force Headquarters
- U.S. Army South CCP
- Air Force South EMEDS IHRT
- Delaware National Guard
- Conference of American Armies
- United States Agency for International Development(USAID)/ Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- Canadian Expeditionary Forces Command (CEFCOM)
- United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO)
Background of FA-HUM
The U.S Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) sponsors a number of regionally oriented command post exercises and training seminars. The largest of these is the FuerzasAliadas (Allied Forces) series of command post exercise which brings together Caribbean and Central American security forces and provides training on regional responses and procedures for peacekeeping and disaster relief operations. The primary mission is to conduct and support joint, combined and inter-agency operations to enhance regional cooperative security, as well as humanitarian and civic assistance, engineering and medical readiness exercises.
Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarian (FA-HUM) is a disaster relief field training exercise involving military and civilian agencies in the Caribbean and Latin American region and is typically held before the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. It is focused on potential disaster threats in the region. It provides a mission rehearsal exercise that tests and improves regional and national disaster response capabilities within Central America and the Caribbean Basin and whose purpose is to assist our partner nations with building usable, relevant, and enduring capabilities for executing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The FA-HUM regional disaster exercise usually represents up to 23 countries. It brings together national authorities, international and regional organizations as well as non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Red Cross, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
FA-HUM also involves local first responders, regional partner nation participants and, of course, key civilian regional and national disaster management agencies. It combines a command post exercise and field training for civilian and military disaster responders at simulated disaster site locations. The 2009 event saw participants from a 25-member body and evaluated reports from disaster simulations staged earlier in the year. Scenarios included a tsunami and an earthquake which caused building collapse and a pandemic which started in South America and spread to Central America and the Caribbean.
During May 12 - 14, 2008, the exercise was conducted in Trinidad and Tobago along with El Salvador, Costa Rica and Panama. The result of the exercise was to enhance military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian contacts between participating organizations and promote regional cooperative engagement. The exercise promoted and simulated regional responses to disasters.
This simulated a major earthquake. The efficiency of the initial response, ability to manage crowds, media relations and damage assessments were evaluated. The US Army South was also present during this national exercise.
Scarlet Ibis 2009
This simulated a plane crash and involved swift water rescue. The US Army South partnered with the ODPM to test our National Communications System and the National Response Mechanism.
This exercise was facilitated by the ODPM and the Chilean Embassy and aimed to enhance the effectiveness of the ODPM’s NEOC operations.
Scarlet Ibis 2008
This exercise simulated a flooding scenario. It tested the operating procedures of the National Operations Centre (NEOC) and was performed in collaboration with the US Army South.