USA: Navy Region Southwest FFSC Conducts Emergency Response Training

Navy Region Southwest FFSC Conducts Emergency Response Training

Navy Region Southwest Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC) conducted emergency response training in correlation with exercise Citadel Shield Feb. 28, 2013.

Citadel Shield is an annual anti-terrorism exercise conducted Navy-wide by Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces (USFF) and Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) designed to enhance readiness of Naval security forces in response to various types of threats.

The exercise is a four-day event consisting of several simulated scenarios across all six Navy regions in the continental United States.

Some scenarios included simulated active shooters, hostage situations and violent extremist attacks.

“In the scenario today, we had an attack take place at Point Loma and an attack take place at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado,”said Mary Kirby, FFSC director.

The exercise scenarios also branch out to involve local authorities, like the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), and regional organizations that provide emergency support.

“We have come together today to exercise our response to a crisis or disaster.” said Mary Kirby, FFSC director. “Today, specifically, we are focusing on a terrorist attack, and simulating how service members and families would be affected and what service we would be providing to assist them.”

FFSC has four crisis response capabilities. The family information call center operates 24/7 and updates various social media pages. The mobile response team is responsible for moving military families in need. The Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) assigns case managers to resolve individual cases. The fourth capability is the Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC), a place where families would gather in a crisis situation. All four response capabilities where exercised simultaneously during Citadel Shield.

“EFAC is where we are today,” said Kirby. “[In a real emergency] we would have certain resource agencies present and organizations like the region legal services office, the Chaplain corps, the American Red Cross and Armed Services YMCA.”

The EFAC drill simulated a response to the attacks at nearby naval installations. Role players acted as family members and media personnel seeking information from the EFAC. This helps train the EFAC staff for the kind of support they would provide for a real-life situation.

“We have to do drills like these because we need everyone to be ready to perform at any function,” said Kirby.

This type of training helps prepare local and naval organizations for almost anything.

“These partnerships are what make this successful and possible,” said Kirby.

“We all create one network of support together so that no one falls through the cracks.”

Naval Today Staff, March 4, 2013; Image: US Navy