TULSA, Okla. – On Tuesday, November 19, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), in coordination with public and private sector partners, held a tabletop exercise in Tulsa, Okla. to test emergency response plans. This exercise brought together operational leadership, security and first responder teams from a number of groups including Emergency Medical Services Authority, Tulsa’s Police Department, Fire Department, and Sheriff’s Office, Oklahoma Information Fusion Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and other local, state, and federal partners, to test incident response capabilities in a hypothetical complex and coordinated attack at BOK Center and Cox Business Center, two popular event venues in downtown Tulsa.
“Protecting soft targets and crowded places is a priority for CISA. This is why we partner with industry and government at all levels to exercise our plans under blue sky conditions. We cannot wait for an emergency to assess security vulnerabilities,” said Brian Harrell, CISA Assistant Director for Infrastructure Security. “Such exercises represent an investment by all participating groups in enhancing our collective defense capabilities.”
Casey Sparks, BOK Center and Cox Business Center general manager added, “These exercises are key to testing prevention, response, recovery, and overall business continuity capabilities. It is essential that we test our collaboration, responsiveness, and security processes and procedures. We appreciate CISA’s support in training and exercising with our teams to ensure we are prepared as possible.” Sparks continued, “The safety and security of our employees and patrons is at the center of everything we do.”
The exercise included a number of objectives related to pre-incident information sharing of plans and procedures, response efforts, communication and coordination, including integrating the private sector into the incident command structure, managing crowds and evacuation and shelter–in-place decisions.
More than 110 participants and observers participated in this exercise over the course of several hours. The exercise demonstrates the commitment of CISA, state, and local partners to ensure a secure and safe environment for everyone.
CISA facilitates exercises at all levels, in partnership with critical infrastructure owners and operators, as well as government partners. Testing and exercising response plans is a good practice for any organization and helps increase participants’ understanding of mutual capabilities in a crisis response.