Emergency officials preparing for hurricane season with multi-state training exercise

The hypothetical scenario and coordinated response will involve officials from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut as well as federal and local emergency management agencies.

By: Tim Studebaker

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins June 1st, and emergency management officials are hard at work preparing.  Part of the prep work: An upcoming multi-agency training exercise, scheduled for later this month.

Thomas Guthlein is the Acting Director at the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency.  Guthlein says, “Using some of the new products coming out of the Hurricane Center to help us forecast the impacts of a hurricane on Rhode Island and what action we would have to take during what time frame.”

In the exercise, the Rhode Island EMA will coordinate with officials at the local, state, and federal level, as well as officials from Massachusetts and Connecticut, to simulate the response to a hypothetical category 3 hurricane called “Hurricane Thompson,” making landfall in southern New England on Labor Day weekend.

Guthlein says, “We actually have evacuation modeling for times of the year when we have a lot of tourists in the state versus times of the year when we don’t, and what those times look like to get people out of the danger areas.”

The exercise is designed to help officials fine tune their emergency response.

Guthlein says, “Mainly, a lot of it is communication.  How do we make sure that we communicate, not only with the state and the federal government, but also all the locals.”

And while officials prepare their plans, they’re hoping you at home have your emergency plans ready as well.

Guthlein says, “I think the other part of the story is making sure that people are prepared to help themselves.”

The exercise will take place May 24th as a hybrid event, partly in person at the EMA headquarters in Cranston, and partly virtual.

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Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island