News | Sept. 25, 2015

National Preparedness Month: DLA Energy participates in FEMA readiness drills

By Elizabeth Stoeckmann DLA Energy Public Affairs

Now is the time to take action and prepare for a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month, designed to raise employee awareness of the importance of being prepared for disasters.

Defense Logistics Agency Energy is doing just that as personnel participated in two Federal Emergency Management Agency drills this month, demonstrating their ability to support delivery of ground fuel products to locations designated on orders.

Each drill was carefully planned to ensure the capability is tested and evaluated in all FEMA regions covering the lower 48 continental U.S.

“While I hope we don’t have the catastrophic events where we need to use this capability,” said Richard VanSchoor, DLA Energy Plans and Operations chief, “I find these readiness drills extremely beneficial in getting all the key players involved at least a couple times of year to ensure we are at the top of our game when our nation calls."

Specifically, the FEMA-DLA Energy exercise scenario kicked off Sept. 15 with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Wasatch Fault segment of Salt Lake City, Utah. In the scenario it was estimated that 80 percent of Utah’s population were effected and approximately 2,487 fatalities. Salt Lake Emergency Management reported that 9,299 people were seriously injured and required hospitalization with another 26,931 people suffering minor injuries.

VanSchoor explained DLA Energy’s role included activation of the FEMA contingency fuel contract; ordering fuel trucks for FEMA Region VII, 1,200 gallons of diesel fuel, and representatives from knowledge operations and operations representatives to evaluate contractor proposal.

To assist in the exercise, Tooele Army Depot’s Garrison Operations in Tooele, Utah, participated in the drill because of the their location for response operations due to its proximity, energy self-sufficiency, available land and low likelihood for sustaining earthquake damage.

Additionally, FEMA and DLA Energy wrapped up their last FEMA readiness drill for this year Sept. 22. In this scenario, New England suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Erika, which was a Category 4. FEMA Regions I and II were directly impacted. Fuels terminals from Rhode Island to Massachusetts were not available for at least the first 10 days of recovery efforts because of the power loss, storm damage and road closures.

Westover Air Reserve Base, Massachusetts, was designated as a forward staging area for commodities.  The FEMA contingency fuels contract was activated and the contractor was required to deliver 1,200 gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel to Westover Air Reserve Base. DLA Energy, Headquarters FEMA, FEMA Regions I and II personnel were on hand to evaluate the contingency contractor perform tank truck-to-tank wagon resupply, retail operations to include vehicle serving and tank wagon issue-to-bulk tank.

“It was very important we conducted this drill in the New England area,” said Dan Baker, DLA Energy Contingency Fuel contracting officer. “As we witnessed a few years ago with Hurricane Sandy, this area is just as prone for hurricanes."

These exercises took months of planning and conference calls between DLA Energy and FEMA officials, VanSchoor said. It was important that the DLA Energy Direct Delivery Fuels division stayed in close contact with contingency contractors on all planning.

Additionally, the DLA Energy Mobility Fuels Customer Facing division coordinated to ensure all parties synchronized once the warning/activation order arrived and the processing of the fuel distribution orders began.

VanSchoor added these exercise provided a great opportunity to train newly assigned personnel in customer operations for future disasters and contingency operations.

Sponsored by FEMA, this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today,” which aims to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.