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OEM Press Release: OEM Hosts HURREX

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Release 06-019
October 22, 2006

NYC OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT HOSTS “HURREX,” A MULTI-AGENCY FIELD EXERCISE

The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and the New York City Department of Homeless Services (DHS) today hosted HURREX, a major multi-agency field exercise designed to test the City’s response to a hurricane or large scale storm. HURREX was staged at New York City College of Technology and two other New York City Department of Education facilities in Brooklyn.

HURREX is part of the City's continuing efforts to test and refine its preparedness plans and emergency response protocols, as well as to strengthen coordination between emergency responders at the city, state and federal levels.

Coordinated by OEM, the seven-hour, real-time drill focused on the components of the City’s Coastal Storm Plan (CSP) that relate to the setup and operation of hurricane shelters for evacuees. The drill, which involved the opening of an evacuation center and two hurricane shelters, was staffed by over 130 City employees from the 18 agencies that would participate in sheltering operations during a real coastal storm emergency. They played the roles of both shelter managers and evacuees. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) from around the City provided assistance as mock evacuees.

Over 800 people participated in HURREX. The drill began with several hundred mock evacuees entering the City’s evacuation center at NYC College of Technology. There they were registered and screened for medical conditions before being transported to hurricane shelters. Arrangements for family reunification and pet sheltering were also available at the evacuation center.

“Today, HURREX allowed us to put the key parts of the City’s Coastal Storm Plan into practice,” said OEM Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno. “Exercises like this help make New York City the most prepared city in the country.”

“Although New York City isn’t usually struck by hurricanes, good emergency management means being prepared for every eventuality,” said Deputy Mayor for Administration Edward Skyler. “This exercise tested an incredibly comprehensive response plan, so that if the real thing ever happens, we are ready.”

“We especially want to thank the men and women who came out today. This was a great opportunity for us to continue to learn and improve our hurricane sheltering system,” said DHS Commissioner Robert Hess.

Joining Commissioner Bruno was Deputy Mayor Skyler, DHS Commissioner Hess, Deputy Schools Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, New York City Department for the Aging Commissioner Edwin Mendez-Santiago and New York City Human Resources Administration Commissioner Verna Eggleston.

Designed to specifically test the sheltering component of the City’s CSP, HURREX examined the issues of facility set up, staff training, evacuee registration and transportation, medical screening and pet care, among other issues.

Today’s component is the third in a series of exercises designed to determine the effectiveness of the City’s Coastal Storm Plan and to identify areas for improvement. The first, held in June 2006, was a tabletop exercise involving over sixty City, state and federal agencies, non-profit organizations and private sector partners. It traced the movement of a hurricane from its initial development to the decision to evacuate portions of the City. The second, held in July 2006, focused on the evacuation of special needs populations from healthcare facilities.

Agencies participating in HURREX include:

  • American Red Cross of Greater NY
  • City University of New York
  • NYC Community Emergency Response Teams
  • NYC Administration for Children’s Services
  • NYC Department for the Aging
  • NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services
  • NYC Department of Design and Construction
  • NYC Department of Education
  • NYC Department of Environmental Protection
  • NYC Department of Finance
  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • NYC Department of Homeless Services
  • NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development
  • NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications
  • NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
  • NYC Department of Probation
  • NYC Department of Transportation
  • NYC Fire Department 
  • NYC Fire Department – Emergency Medical Service
  • NYC Housing Authority
  • NYC Human Resources Administration
  • NYC Law Department
  • NYC Mayor’s Office
  • NYC Office of Emergency Management
  • NYC Police Department
  • NYC School Construction Authority

City officials will evaluate the objectives of this exercise and study the response and decisions made by the participants for future training in New York City and in other jurisdictions. HURREX was funded entirely by the City of New York and is part of an ongoing series of tabletop and field exercises coordinated by OEM to further preparedness efforts.

CONTACT: Andrew Troisi/Jarrod Bernstein (718) 422-4888