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Funds to Exercise Large Planned Events

The Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (WRHSAC) current Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan (MYTEP) has identified large planned events as ideal opportunities to conduct inter-disciplinary drills or exercises. These events, such as the Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Mercy Sunday in Stockbridge, the Big E in West Springfield, and the numerous fairs, multi-cultural events, races, and more happening throughout the region, already bring many municipal, regional, and sometimes state and federal departments together in the planning and operational process.

A drill or exercise can be incorporated into an event, providing multi-discipline, multi-jurisdictional training. Planned event exercises provide an opportunity for leadership development of junior officers/officials/staff, with senior officers/leadership providing mentorship and evaluation. Planned event drills and exercises can bring together municipal and regional resources to test interoperability. Specialty teams and personnel such as the Northwest MA Incident Management Team and region COM-L’s and COM-T’s can use the planned events as opportunities to complete unit-level training, sign-off on task books, and gain hours towards credentialing. These specially trained teams and personnel can also serve as mentors or evaluators. Mentorship can also be provided across jurisdictions—leadership from one agency providing mentorship to junior staff of other agencies.

WRHSAC, through its Training and Exercise subcommittee, has funding available to assist departments and municipalities in planning, conducting, and evaluating exercises held in conjunction with large planned events. Municipalities that have incorporated exercises into planned events have often found the exercise process enhances event coordination and operations. It brings more diverse participation into event coordination and builds relationships with other disciplines or departments.

Entities interested in seeking funds to conduct drills or exercises to be incorporated in large planned events should contact WRHSAC through Raine Brown, Homeland Security Program Manager at or 413.774.3167 x138. Entities should allow at least six months, ideally nine months, lead-time before the planned event to apply.