|Contact:||Sunny Mindel/Matthew Higgins
|Frank McCarton (OEM)||(212) 442-2031|
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today joined numerous City, State, Federal and private organizations in a tabletop exercise to evaluate policy and operational responses to a hypothetical bio-terrorism attack on a major U.S. city. Federal legislation adopted in 1997 requires that regular exercises be conducted between Federal, State and local authorities as part of the Domestic Preparedness Program (DPP). New York City was selected by the U.S. Department of Defense as the venue for Operation RED Ex (Recognition, Evaluation and Decision-Making Exercise) due to its size and prominence and the City's level of emergency preparedness.
The Mayor was joined by OEM Director Richard J. Sheirer; Health Commissioner Neal Cohen; Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen; Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik; and numerous federal, state and local officials, who participated today in Operation RED Ex.
The exercise was conducted in OEM's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Months in the planning, and intended to determine the City's readiness to recognize, evaluate and respond to a bio-terrorist attack, Operation RED Ex represents a multi-faceted approach to a possible bio-terrorist event in the City of New York. Among its many objectives, RED Ex evaluated:
"Being chosen to host RED Ex is a testament to the fact that New York
City is at the forefront in emergency preparedness, whether the threat is natural
or man made," the Mayor said. "Considering the potential impact a
bio-terrorism attack would have on any city, it's essential that all levels
of government work in tandem to prepare for this and other terrorist scenarios
-- no matter how remote. Fortunately, New York City has demonstrated time and
again its ability to respond to a crisis. I'm confident this will prove to be
an invaluable exercise that other cities will be able to draw upon in developing
their own bio-terrorism response plans."
OEM Director Richard Sheirer said, "It is critical that all available resources are used to effectively coordinate the City's response to bio-terrorism. Operation RED Ex provided a proving ground and a great readiness training exercise for the many challenges the City routinely faces, such as weather events, heat emergencies, building collapses, fires, and public safety and health issues."
Operation RED Ex was divided into three distinct phases. Phase 1, named Recognition, presented participants with the challenges of identifying and recognizing a public health emergency. Phase 2, or Evaluation and Decision-Making, encompassed the period immediately following the detection of an emergent crisis and the decisions surrounding the initiation of the response to what is suspected to be bio-terrorism. Phase 3, Response and Coordination, focused on decisions and issues such as multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary coordination, request for assets from local communities, New York State or the federal government, and procedural issues associated with the receipt and integration of these assets.
OEM coordinated the efforts of 20 organizations, including the Mayor's Office, the New York City Law Department, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
The following agencies and organizations participated in Operation RED Ex: