Capstone 2014 national exercise begins

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and its partners began the Capstone 2014 national exercise on Thursday to test, assess and improve U.S. preparedness and resilience from catastrophic disasters.

The multi-event design is meant to prepare the participants for all possible hazards to ensure the objectives of the National Preparedness Goal are met. The Capstone 2014 exercise includes five component events, Silver Phoenix, Eagle Horizon, Nuclear Weapon Accident/Incident Exercise, Ardent Sentry 14 and Alaska Shield.

"In order to be ready for disasters, as a nation, we have to practice how we would respond," Craig Fugate, the administrator of FEMA, said. "In Capstone 2014, FEMA joins state, tribal and local government, along with our partners in the non-profit, faith-based and private sectors to test and assess our joint preparedness for a disaster. Preparedness is a team effort, and every family and business can take steps to be ready for disasters by learning your risks, making a plan and having a kit."

The exercises are the culmination of a two-year cycle designed to educate and prepare participants for potential emergency situations. The training scenarios challenge participants from all levels of government, non-governmental organizations and private sector organizations. The exercises test the emergency response to mass casualties from earthquakes, hazardous materials spills and infrastructure and coordination challenges.

The National Preparedness Goal is to develop a secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.