Pennsylvania State University (PSU) desired a HSEEP-compliant functional exercise for the Centre Region Continuity of Governments (COG), a voluntary association including State College Borough and five other townships.
The COG was established to provide “cost effective and high quality public services” to its nearly 100,000 residents. The region encompasses 150 square miles, and since 1990 there has been a regional emergency management program. However, in October 2008, Subchapter C was added to Pennsylvania Title 35, effective immediately, and it mandated “mutual cooperation among the participating subdivisions in conducting exercises, testing or other training activities.”[¹] Hagerty was hired to help meet this obligation.
The Hagerty team, along with a hired subcontractor, Mission Critical Partners, met with representatives from PSU and COG to develop a regional scenario that would necessitate all six townships working together to provide mutual aid and multi-jurisdictional cooperation. Together they developed a functional exercise built around an extreme weather-related event, in this case a tornado. Hagerty drafted and produced all of the materials (Exercise Plan, Master Scenario Events List, Controller/Evaluator Handbook, Exercise Evaluation Guide) and directed the functional exercise.
After the exercise, the team conducted an after action review (also known as a ‘hotwash’) of the event. The main purpose of the review is to identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as specify what could be improved. All of these observations were included in the After Action Report distributed to the Exercise Design Team.
The final report presented to COG and PSU included an Improvement Plan for plans, processes, and procedures. The exercise improved the coordination between and preparation of COG and PSU to deal with a potential emergency, and in doing so improved the public safety of the Centre Region and the university population.