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Louisiana National Guard hosts annual All-Hazards Workshop

By Maj. Darren T. Herring Jr., Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

NEW ORLEANS – The Louisiana National Guard hosted its 17th annual All-Hazards Coordination Workshop at the Higgins Hotel New Orleans, March 26-28. The purpose of the workshop is to allow states to assess their worst-case emergencies, get potential supporting states plan to respond and assist, identify capability gaps and arrange Emergency Management Assistance Compacts commitments to fill the gaps.

During the 3-day workshop, representatives from all 54 states and territories engaged in an interactive agenda focused on disaster coordination, shared emergency response best practices during regional breakout sessions, participated in tabletop exercises and coordinated EMAC support.

“One of the key things that we do at this workshop is identify our gaps and try to fill them,” said Brig. Gen. Thomas Friloux, the adjutant general of Louisiana. “I can tell you from personal experience, while serving as the dual status commander in 2021, that the EMAC coordination and support that Louisiana needed during Hurricane Ida would have been extremely challenging to acquire had it not been for the necessary planning that had already occurred during this workshop.”

EMAC is the nation’s mutual aid system designed to help states and territories receive aid during a state of emergency or disaster response.

In 2005, more than 65,000 personnel from 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were deployed under EMAC in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The LANG organized its first EMAC conference by applying lessons learned from those response efforts. Since then, the LANG has now hosted 17 All-Hazards Coordination Workshops to provide EMAC coordination between all 54 states and territories.

“This is not just a regional or Louisiana conference, this is a national opportunity where you have the capabilities of breaking down barriers,” said Jacques Thibodeaux, Director of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “Pay attention to what you have, break down your jurisdictional boundaries on this EMAC process and build your capabilities. Governors and emergency managers will be looking to you, military service members, as subject matter experts.”

Regarding the importance of this year’s AHCW, Capt. Pierre Castaing, action officer of the workshop, stated, “This year’s workshop will continue to provide an opportunity for all 54 states, territories and the National Guard Bureau to coordinate and establish agreements for potential EMAC support during times of all hazards.”

Since 2018, the National Guard Bureau’s Plans and Policy and International Affairs Directorate, has hosted the National Joint Planners Course for the same planners and leaders who attend the AHCW.

“The takeaway and feedback that we normally get from all states, territories and NGB is that this conference is invaluable,” said Castaing. “It’s a great coordination piece and has proved to be very important in smoothing things over and making that “flash to bang” shorten in time of disaster. It is an honor and privilege for Louisiana to be the host of this workshop.”

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