Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2013 Vol. 60 No. 9

TDEM Exercise Unit to Launch Texas Virtual Tabletop Series

Virtual Tabletop Series

Inspired by the Emergency Management Institute’s (EMI) successful Virtual Tabletop Exercise Series (VTTX), the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) proudly introduces a Texas version of the Virtual Tabletop Exercise Series, aptly named the TX-VTTX.

During the FY2013 exercise series, TDEM’s Exercise Unit successfully secured for Texas 11 out of 12 of the highly competitive federal VTTXs. This in turn saved local jurisdictions an estimated $165K in exercise costs.  TDEM’s logistical support and administrative attention to detail ensured that more than 225 Texans were properly recognized for local participation in this groundbreaking program.

Virtual Tabletop Series

By expanding existing Video Teleconferencing (VTC) technology the TX-VTTX provides more opportunities for Texas responders and state-wide emergency management professionals to participate in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion simultaneously. This proven format allows for the common delivery of exercise materials, scenarios and modules. It also encourages the free exchange of lessons learned and best practices necessary to conduct all-hazards emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efficiently and effectively.

Virtual Tabletop Series

Unlike the national program, which is currently “played” from the nearest Disaster District VTC, the TX-VTTX allows up to five Texas community-based groups to participate from their VTC systems. Groups will be able to participate with their responders, in their Emergency Operation Centers, with their facilitators.  We believe that the prospect of local VTC participation will drive down travel expenses while increasing local play.

Each TX-VTTX scenario is designed to be customized for each community and its local emergency plans.  Each tabletop exercise lasts for about four hours.  The TX-VTTX simulated incidents include earthquake, winter storm, tornado, wildland fire, flood, and hurricane.  The first tabletop exercise is scheduled to kick off September 18, 2013 with the remaining five dates extending into 2014.

For more information about the TX-VTTX visit preparingtexas.org or contact TDEM.Exercises@dps.texas.gov or call James Kelley at 512-424-5347.

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