FRANKFORT, KY – On Monday, May 16, 2011, Kentucky and several Central U.S. states, along with federal government agencies, volunteer organizations and the private sector will begin a weeklong preparedness exercise based upon a catastrophic earthquake in the New Madrid Earthquake Zone, which is located in the heart of the United States.
The National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 11) is part of the National Exercise Program (NEP). The NEP provides the opportunity to practice existing capabilities to prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from major disasters, man-made or natural, and other emergencies in an integrated fashion.
Participation includes Federal to the State agencies, military, local governments, private sector, volunteer organizations, private citizens and the President of the United States.
NLE 11 exercise will practice initial incident response and recovery capabilities, and test and validate existing plans, policies and procedures, including the Federal Interagency Response Plan – Earthquake (FIRP-EQ 2011) and State and regional New Madrid catastrophic plans.
“Is Kentucky ready for a 7.7 earthquake? No. Are we more prepared than we once were? Absolutely,” said John Heltzel, director for Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM). “We learn something with each event or disaster, such as the historic flooding Kentucky just experienced. The trick is to take lessons learned and turn them into lessons applied. This is the overarching objective of this signature exercise.”
While the exercise is designed to assess response and recovery capabilities both nationally and regionally, Kentucky will use the exercise to update and rewrite the Commonwealth Earthquake Response Plan.
The NLE 2011 is expected to be the largest joint exercise in United States’ history, and for the first time it is being based on a natural threat. Everyone from private citizens, businesses, military, all private sectors and centers of government are invited to participate and exercise their own earthquake preparations.
The NLE 2011 will include activities with local responders, federal and state emergency management officials, private sector partners at multiple venues around the region, as well as in Washington D.C. and various FEMA regional offices. Private citizens who complete daily participation will be sent a link to a downloadable KYEM NLE 2011 Certificate of Participation recognizing their individual efforts to better protect and prepare themselves and family in the event of a catastrophic disaster.
For more information on the NLE 2011, scheduled daily participation links and to register as a participant, visit www.kyem.ky.gov/nle2011. You will also find external information, related social media sites and links to Kentucky’s Earthquake Preparedness Program.