CHHS to Support Preparedness Efforts for Maryland’s Star-Spangled Spectacular
As the Nation celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS) will be working behind the scenes to help Maryland prepare for potential threats, test essential equipment and plans, and evaluate the state’s emergency response efforts.
The three-year long bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812, including the writing of the U.S. National Anthem in 1814 by Maryland native Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry, will culminate September 10 – 16, 2014 with a Star-Spangled Spectacular. The events are expected to draw more than one million visitors and dignitaries to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
The CHHS Exercise and Training team has been secured by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to conduct two tabletop exercises prior to the festivities. Bringing together stakeholders who will be involved in safety and security during the Spectacular, CHHS will facilitate discussions regarding communications protocols, resource management, situational awareness, as well as command and control during the events. As the influx of tourists will affect more than just Baltimore City, federal partners and the Baltimore Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) – which includes the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard – will also be involved in preparation exercises. Additionally, a drill to test the use of communication equipment throughout the region is planned.
Assessment of the state’s real world response will also be conducted by CHHS staff during activation of the Statewide Emergency Operations Center. Key to emergency preparedness planning for future special events, CHHS will highlight strengths and potential areas of improvement for MEMA. Additional CHHS staffers, working through the Center’s many contracts with city and county emergency management agencies on a daily basis in Maryland, will also support the Star-Spangled Spectacular events during preparation, activation, and response if the need arises.
Past clients utilizing CHHS Exercise and Training team expertise have included local, state, and federal government organizations, as well as colleges and public health institutions. Specific to special event planning, CHHS provided management and operational support during the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations, and conducted exercises for the Maryland Stadium Authority to prepare for potential threats to Baltimore’s Ravens and Orioles stadiums. CHHS also offers planning services in continuity of operations, critical infrastructure protection, interoperability, mass evacuation and sheltering, and resource management.