Training Provides Key Insights to Disaster Management

After hearing the news of a giant fireball erupting from the Golden Nugget casino, Las Vegas authorities called for a press conference to comfort a city under siege. Dozens of officials began to coordinate the evacuation of local citizens. Thankfully, this scene was only a two-day, real-time disaster simulation facilitated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Management Institute.

Seventy-two officials recently came together from across Southern Nevada for four days to train and test their emergency response capabilities. During the drill, officials also dealt with several explosions, a reported gunman, and suspicious packages.

According to a report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the exercise was part of a FEMA training program for regional emergency responders at a campus 65 miles north of Washington, D.C.

Las Vegas Emergency Manager Carolyn Levering said she has been applying for a slot since the last time the group underwent training in 2003.

“Every emergency manager will tell you that you can always improve,” said Las Vegas Emergency Manager Carolyn Levering as quoted in the article. “You can improve your communications and your resource allocation. And we haven’t practiced recovery before.”

The city had previously participated in a 2003 training session. Immediately after the training, the city was hit with major flooding. Officials said that their newly learned skills from the training proved indispensable during the flooding.

Prior to the recent Las Vegas drill, FEMA training specialists traveled to Nevada to study the city’s emergency response plans. They also examined possible vulnerabilities of emergency response plans, as well as the types of disaster that could strike.

“Their goal is to develop a realistic exercise that tests the ability of emergency responders to handle a large-scale disaster through clear communications, teamwork and efficient resource allocation,” according to the report. The 72 drill participants were divided into three groups, including operations, coordination and policy.

For more information about the recent Las Vegas emergency response FEMA drill, visit: