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Image taken at Exercise Cross Borders, a multi-agency discussion exercise involving representatives from the North Metropolitan and Wheatbelt DEMCs. The exercise was based on a level 3 cyclone and involved 39 agency representatives.

 

Exercise Cross Borders deemed a success  


​24 August 2017


Exercise Cross Borders, which was carried out by two District Emergency Management Committees (DEMCs) based on a level 3 cyclone event, has achieved its key objectives and been deemed a success.  


The discussion exercise conducted in June involved representatives from the North Metropolitan DEMC and Wheatbelt DEMC.  A total of 39 participants attended from a range of agencies.

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The aims of the exercise were to:

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  • ​​​​​Develop cross boundary emergency coordination arrangements between agencies in major emergencies. 

  • Explore, verify and build inter-agency and inter-emergency management district relationships.

Credible worst case scenario using lev​el 3 event ​


The scenario for Exercise Cross Borders was built on a credible worst case scenario using a level 3 natural hazard event (tropical cyclone). Special ideas were presented at intervals and participants were required to formulate and present a response on behalf of their agency based on the issues and challenges faced at the time. 


The capability areas from the Emergency Management Capability Framework were used as a measure for evaluation of the exercise. Qualitative information was collected during the exercise both from the participants and also from observers who recorded discussions during the exercise. At the end of each special idea and at the end of the exercise, participants had the opportunity to reflect on key issues learnt and actions to be taken. 

Participants were asked what they learned from being involved in the exercise. Some of the responses included: ​​

  • It can be very complicated when incidents run over boundaries of different agencies.

  • The exercise has highlighted the role of the service and need for pre-planning / preparation.

  • For such a large scale event, agencies would very quickly become depleted - you would need very good fatigue management strategies put in place and agencies need to have deputies for the many roles/meetings that they would be involved with.

  • The importance of networking. 

  • The importance of the Comprehensive Impact Assessment document.

  • The impacts of agency standard operating procedures on each other; complications caused by differing district boundaries. These issues are best explored in an exercise environment which allows for remedy during actual incident.

  • Strengthened the need for formalised Mo​Us.

 

​Participants were also asked "What will you change when you return to work as a result of this exercise?"  

Responses included:

  • Ensuring that I have sufficient people trained and authorised in taking on some of the Liaison Officer roles for the various committees without reducing the number of people to undertake our core role in emergencies.

  • Make sure I have access to our own EM procedures and are up to date.

  • Include more examples in our local government training on preparations (MoU) that they should undertake with their adjacent Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the event of the need for an evacuation centre outside their own boundaries.

  • Understanding of other agency expectations, Incident Support Group (ISG) / Operational Area Support Group (OASG) players in large scale multi-agency incident.

  • Work on the requirement for an MoU between neighbouring LGAs.

The exercise provided an excellent opportunity for multi-agency networking and relationship building, with many participants sharing their processes, capabilities and limitations during the exercise.