August 23, 2017
Mission: EARTH EX is designed to improve community resilience to large scale, long duration power outages through multi-sector exercises
Today’s lifeline infrastructures are interconnected and resourced on unprecedented scales, with supply chains spanning the nation and, increasingly, the world. With this growing integration and global reach, they have brought us remarkable capabilities.
At a price.
Concerns have grown over the potential for severe malicious or natural “Black Sky” hazards associated with subcontinent scale, long duration power outages, with cascading failure of all our other increasingly interdependent infrastructures. This creates a grim and difficult dilemma: Restoration of any sector will only be possible with at least minimal operation of all the others.
To deal with this deadlock, careful sector by sector and cross-sector resilience planning is crucial. However, such plans, to be effective, must be exercised. With the diversity and the national and global scale of the infrastructures we now depend on, this requires an unprecedented, multi-sector, national and international exercise series.
WHAT IS EARTH EX?
EARTH EX is an evolving, distributed, collaborative partner-developed exercise designed to meet this need. Hosted by EIS Council as part of the EPRO® Resource Family, these annual multi-sector, international exercises are being developed to evaluate and improve restoration support, preparedness, response and recovery plans for severe hazards. As the series continues, it will provide increasing opportunities to enhance coordinated planning across all infrastructure sectors, and their corporate, government and NGO partners.
WHY EARTH EX?
A locally facilitated, “Come as you are” exercise, EARTH EX offers participants a unique opportunity to examine preparedness, response and restoration postures for severe hazard scenarios without extensive preparation for the exercise. As an out-of-the-box senior level exercise, it also provides an opportunity to examine and rehearse critical executive and operational decisions required before a full operational exercise.
EARTH Ex will also provide opportunities to integrate cross sector requirements into the decision-making cycle in a way that adds realism and weight to the consequences, helping enhance local, state, federal and public/private partnerships in preparing for response, restoration and recovery in Black Sky events and complex catastrophes with a power outage component.
EARTH EX 2017 PRIORITIES
In 2017 EARTH Ex will focus on four primary areas.
- Executive and senior operational decision-making
- Initiating and coordinating initial sector response and restoration actions
- Multi-sector emergency communication and coordination
- Developing sector recommendations for Improved restoration support and resilience
Decision Making for Disrupted Scenarios: EARTH EX simulates a subcontinent-scale, long duration power outage, with cascading failures of all other infrastructures. The exercise format offers executive and senior level operational decision makers the opportunity to review critical decision-making policies, processes, roles and responsibilities – essential to the success of all other response and recovery operations.
Develop or Review Resilience Policies and Plans in a “Come as you are” Exercise: Participation is voluntary and open to all organizations that need to be prepared for long duration power outages. The exercise is designed for self-evaluation, with distributed play conducted using electronic tools, and local facilitation for feedback and execution.
Prioritization and Coordination across Multiple Sectors: EARTH EX is constructed as a multi-sector scenario. Participants receive situational awareness updates from each of the critical sectors, providing a broad immersive environment simulating real world impacts of the scenario.
Specific features for different sectors include:
- Electric Subsector: Provides opportunities to evaluate interdependencies and priorities for situational awareness and resource prioritization for generation, transmission and distribution.
- Other Sectors: For other infrastructure sectors and for corporate, government and NGO partners, provides opportunities for internal assessment, resource accountability and evaluation of needs and priorities for coordinated, cross-sector support.
Individual and Family Lane: Evaluate personal preparedness and train for severe outage scenarios.
Dynamic, Multi-Phase Four-Hour Exercise: EARTH EX 2017 includes three one-hour dynamic exercise phases representing different aspects of the response and recovery timeline, and one reflective phase. Each phase begins with a framing scenario inject, using sector-specific injects for each exercise “lane,” developed by key stakeholders in that sector.