DALLAS-The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division, joined by Corps Headquarters personnel, State of Texas officials, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other federal agencies, held a hurricane "table top" exercise today to help prepare for response in the event of a hurricane making landfall along the Texas Coast.

The Corps is part of the federal government's unified national response to disasters and emergencies, and assists the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency as the primary agency for public works and engineering-related emergency support. In addition, under Public Law 84-99, Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies, the Corps repairs federally authorized flood control, flood fighting, and hurricane protection projects.

"We are prepared and ready to respond to a hurricane," said Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Kula, SWD commander. "As part of the federal government's unified national response to disasters and emergencies, we have three top priorities:

• Support immediate emergency response priorities;
• Sustain lives with critical commodities, temporary
emergency power and other needs; and,
• Initiate recovery efforts by assessing and restoring
critical infrastructure

"Our role in assisting our local communities is one of our primary missions and shows the value that the Army Corps of Engineers brings to the Nation and to the region," Kula added. "The Corps' regional response is coordinated and managed by the Southwestern Division in Dallas, in cooperation with our many federal, state, and local partners. All of us are dedicated to ensuring that the needs of our local communities are met."

Some of the missions that could be assigned to the Corps by FEMA include debris management, water procurement, commodities distribution, temporary housing, temporary roofing, emergency power, infrastructure assessment, and support to urban search and rescue.

The goal of the exercise was to develop a complex disaster scenario to synchronize and capture each organization's efforts to an operational period and the decision process and activities during a particular "trigger point." The end state result was to demonstrate a comprehensive partnership with each organization in support of FEMA Region VI and assist the State of Texas, when requested, to respond to and recover from a disaster event.

Hurricane season is June 1-Nov. 30, with the peak threat period from mid-August through October. An "active or extremely active" hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.