WALHALLA, N.D.—On March 1, 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel participated in a multi-agency tabletop exercise at the Walhalla port of entry to test emergency management coordination.
This exercise brought together approximately 60 individuals from CBP, Canada Border Services Agency, local law enforcement, emergency managers from Pembina, Cavalier, Towner and Ramsey Counties, and emergency responders from both Canada and the United States to discuss a hypothetical emergency scenario and inter-agency coordination.
The exercise focused on resource coordination, communication, public information and identification of critical safety issues.
Exercise facilitator and CBP Sarles, ND Port Director Bill Socwell stated "This exercise helped build capabilities that can be applied to a wide variety of incidents". Scowell was very impressed with the number of agencies that participated in this event.
The scenario was based on a CBP officer who was caught in an intense winter storm while traveling from the Sarles port of entry to the Pembina port of entry, and never arrived.
The tabletop exercise simulated incident notification, search operations, and rescue operations.
Discussion topics included logistics, operational decisions and impacts, communication between and among agencies, and with the media. Working through the exercise scenario helped fine-tune a bi-national response plan.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.