Briefing Room: the 2024 tabletop emergency exercise

This was only a drill

Hi Seal Beach. This week’s article is brought to you by Emergency Services Coordinator Sergeant Brian Gray. Sergeant Gray’s job involves a wide array of responsibilities aimed at ensuring effective emergency management and coordination. These duties span across various phases of emergency management including preparedness, response, relief, and recovery. Coordinators are tasked with planning, developing, and implementing emergency management systems and procedures to ensure efficient response during disasters and emergencies. In order to help prepare for disasters and times of crisis, the city of Seal Beach hosts multiple tabletop exercises each year. Here is Sergeant Gray with an overview of our recent exercise:

“In the wake of recent disasters, communities across the nation are increasingly turning to tabletop exercises to bolster their emergency preparedness. These simulated scenarios, which bring together key stakeholders to simulate responses to various crises, are proving to be invaluable tools in ensuring effective coordination and response in times of need.

“One of the foundational frameworks for these exercises is the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized approach to command, control, and coordination of emergency response. ICS provides a common language and organizational structure that enables different agencies and jurisdictions to work together seamlessly during emergencies.

“Similarly, the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) provide additional guidelines and best practices for emergency management, ensuring that all levels of government and the private sector are able to effectively respond to and recover from disasters.

“Last Thursday, February 29th, the city of Seal Beach held a tabletop exercise in its Emergency Operation Center (EOC), focusing on a fire scenario based on the recent Maui fires. The exercise brought together City staff, including Department Heads, the City Manager, City Council members, and representatives from McGaugh Elementary School. The scenario allowed participants to test their response plans, identify areas for improvement, and enhance coordination among different departments and organizations. We partnered with the Orange County Fire Authority as they provided valuable assistance and expertise in the science of disaster mitigation and fire response.

“Tabletop exercises like these are essential for ensuring that all stakeholders are familiar with their roles and responsibilities during emergencies. They provide a low-pressure environment to test plans and procedures, identify gaps in communication or resources, and strengthen relationships among participants.

“In the event of a real emergency, the benefits of these exercises are clear. Participants are better prepared to respond quickly and effectively, minimizing the impact of the disaster and ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.

“As we continue to face new and evolving threats, tabletop exercises will remain a critical tool in our preparedness arsenal. By investing in our emergency preparedness now, we can ensure that we are ready to face whatever challenges may come our way in the future.”

For more information about how the city of Seal Beach prepares for emergencies, please visit: