Homeland security drill focuses on response to 'large-scale incident' at APG

More than 100 police, fire, first responders, military and civilian personnel participated in a one-day Homeland Security exercise on Feb. 4 at Battelle in Aberdeen.

Those attending included representatives of federal, state, county and local governments, as well as military representatives from the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Fort Meade.

The exercise was coordinated by the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations in cooperation with the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security and Aberdeen Proving Ground.

The objective of the Homeland Security exercise, formally titled "Public Safety Impact Study" was to examine and reveal county and regional gaps in resources necessary to safely mitigate a large scale incident. The tabletop exercise served to review current roles and responsibilities, resources and communication mechanisms that would be required to effectively respond to an incident involving Aberdeen Proving Ground and surrounding communities.

The day-long exercise emphasized coordination between military and civilian response personnel within Harford County as well as regional response throughout the Baltimore Region Urban Area Security Initiative.

The exercise included components of several major objectives for evaluation, including intelligence and information sharing, mass casualty care, on-site security and protection, operational coordination and public information and communication, among others.

"The exercise was successful and proved to be a valuable tool for emergency management, law enforcement and our military partners in assessing current readiness capabilities. We look forward to conducting similar exercises in the future to help us be better prepared for acts of terrorism or other serious events," Russell J. Strickland, manager of the Harford County Division of Emergency Operations, said.

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