October 02, 2019

DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES CONDUCTS ‘ELECTION DAY CHAOS’ EXERCISE TO TRAIN FIRST RESPONDERS HOW TO HANDLE A COMPLEX CRISIS

First Responders from the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York and Capital Regions Participating

Exercise Funded by FEMA Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack Grant

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today conducted a Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack Capstone exercise where first responders are faced with a series of physical attacks at polling places on Election Day and are tasked with working cooperatively across jurisdictions to respond. More than 115 command officials and 154 first responders from the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York and the Capital Regions participated in the exercise, which was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack grant program.

“Given the ever-evolving threat landscape in the modern world, it’s critical command level officials and their first responder teams have the real-world training they need to effectively respond to a complex attack, said Patrick Murphy, Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “While this exercise involved a crisis situation on Election Day, the fact is, a crisis can occur anytime and by utilizing the first-class resources available at New York’s State Preparedness Training Center, we are able to provide our local partners with an excellent opportunity to test and refine their response capabilities.”

The exercise was developed as a result of the Division being awarded a $1,379,000 grant under FEMA’s Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack program in 2017 to support the training of officials and first responders in these regions to respond to a complex attack. The Division paired with four upstate urban areas – Buffalo-Erie-Niagara; Rochester-Monroe; Syracuse-Onondaga and the Capital Region, plus the New York State Police, to apply for this competitive grant. This grant was the only one awarded in FEMA Region II (New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and eight tribal nations) and one of 29 given nationally.

The grant funds covered local planning, training and exercises in each region, a Capstone exercise at the State Preparedness Training Center, and the development of a ‘Managing Chaos’ workshop for senior and elected officials on handling complex crisis situations. The Division held its Managing Chaos workshops earlier this year in all four regions.

During the exercise, simulated attacks occurred in various types of polling stations such as schools and government buildings to provide a real-world scenario. Command officials and first responders from each region had to respond to an active shooter incident that included secondary attacks involving improvised explosive devices and hazardous materials.

Each of the four upstate urban areas sent emergency management officials, patrol officers, tactical team operators, explosive detection canine teams, bomb squad technicians, telecommunications staff, emergency medical services, and hazardous materials responders to participate in today’s exercise. In total, more than 400 people representing command staff, first responders, exercise support staff and role players participated today.

 

Participating Agencies

Buffalo-Erie-Niagara Region

AMR

Buffalo Fire Department

Buffalo Police Department

City of Lockport Fire Department

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management

Erie County Central Police Services

Erie County Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Services

Erie County Sheriff's Office

Lockport Fire Department

New York State Police (Regional Staff)

Niagara County Emergency Services

Niagara County HazMat Team

Niagara County Sheriff's Office

Orchard Park EMS

SUNY ECC Campus Police

Town and Village of Orchard Park

Town of Hamburg Office of Emergency Services

Twin City Ambulance

 

Rochester/Monroe Region

AMR

CHS Mobile Integrated Healthcare

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management

Monroe County Office of Emergency Management

Monroe County Public Safety

Monroe County Sheriff's Office

New York State Police (Regional Staff)

Rochester Fire Department

Rochester Police Department

Rochester/Monroe County 911

 

Syracuse/Onondaga Region

AMR-CNY

Dewitt Police Department

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management

New York State Police (Regional Staff)

North Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc.

Northern Onondaga Volunteer (NOVA)

Onondaga County 911

Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management

Onondaga County Health Department

Onondaga County Medical Examiner's Office

Onondaga County Sheriff's Office

SUNY Upstate Hospital

Syracuse Fire Department

Syracuse Police Department

Town of Manlius Police Department

 

Capital District

Albany County Sheriff's Office

Albany Police Department

Albany Police Department

City of Albany Mayor's Office

Colonie EMS

Colonie Police Department

New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management

FBI - Albany Field Office

New York State Police

NYS University Police

Schenectady County Emergency Management

Schenectady County Unified Communications Center

Schenectady Fire Department

Schenectady Police Department

Town of Colonie EMS

Troy Police Department

Watervliet Police Department

“The Albany Police Department is proud to partner with other Capital District Emergency Service agencies participating in the Statewide Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack training,” said Albany Police Department Deputy Chief Brian C. Hogan. “Cooperation and coordination of first responders is essential to the successful mitigation and management of local and large-scale emergencies. This collaboration with local, State, and Federal partners is an opportunity to strengthen our robust relationships and prepare ourselves to handle crisis situations.”

“The collaborative partnerships required to attain CCTA funding and ultimately execute the missions expected as deliverables has been truly rewarding,” said Dan Neaverth, Commissioner of Erie County Homeland Security and Emergency Services. “Equipping, training and planning across jurisdictional and agency specific disciplines makes us as a community and state better prepared for the complex challenges facing first responders today.”

"One of Monroe County's top priorities is protecting residents from both internal and external threats, and while we have made significant investments to our own public safety operation, it’s critical that we participate in statewide efforts like these and work together to prevent tragedies wherever they may occur,” said Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. “Our County OEM staff is proud to team with local law enforcement, fire service, and EMS to bolster our security as a state and a nation."

“Onondaga County was honored to participate in the Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack grant program with DHSES and the other large upstate New York cities,” said Daniel H. Wears, Commissioner of Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management. “This program, particularly the capstone exercise being held at the State Preparedness Training Center, has afforded our responders the ability to train and exercise collectively to better prepare our region for an event of this type. The outcomes of this program will have a tremendous impact on the capabilities of our first responders and their respective command staffs.”

About the State Preparedness Training Center

The State Preparedness Training Center operated by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, affords state, local, and federal agencies a complex of training venues to conduct the entire spectrum of training. From classroom lectures and discussions to reality- and high-performance scenario-based training, the SPTC offers opportunities for dynamic emergency first responder training. The SPTC offers agencies realistic training environments such as a simulated city, residential housing complex, collapsed building rubble pile, woodland structures and other settings. Now in its 13th year of operation, the SPTC annually trains thousands of New York’s first responders, including law enforcement, emergency medical services, and emergency management personnel, in a variety of areas including response to active shooter events, emergency vehicle operations, EMS special situations, and patrol officer survival.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services  provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism, natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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