May 27, 2020 - PTB Hosts Annual Hurricane Preparedness Tabletop Exercise


WHERE: Virtual Only Event *login will be provided to all registrants. 

WHEN: May 27, 2020 - 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. 
WHO: Port Tampa Bay & local agencies, area leaders
WHY: Getting ready for the upcoming hurricane season - which begins June 1, 2020.

Port Tampa Bay realizes the importance of preparing for an emergency before it strikes. While our community, nation, and globe continue to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is critical that we remain vigilant and proactive against another threat, Florida’s hurricane season. Hurricanes and tropical storms are probably the last things we want to think about right now and the impact of severe weather immediately following a pandemic has the potential to be absolutely devastating. This is why it is so critically important to prepare to the greatest extent possible before hurricane season begins.

Port Tampa Bay will be hosting its 8th annual Hurricane Preparedness Tabletop Exercise. This is one of many choreographed exercises to best prepare all Tampa Bay area agencies for all possible hurricane and/or tropical storm scenarios. As we well know, Hurricane Irma targeted the Tampa area two years ago, prompting significant challenges. Port Tampa Bay continued to operate at its highest level, providing fuel to the state of Florida and beyond. Port Tampa Bay, in its constant effort to improve its response, holds this drill every year.

Each year, the Hurricane Preparedness Tabletop Exercise is held with the National Weather Service to refine and improve our response to a storm. The port invites several external partners including the United States Coast Guard; Customs, Border and Protection; Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office; CSX Railroad; various tug companies; and port tenants, among others. The meeting is open to the public and designed to help several emergency response agencies talk through a response to a severe storm.

This year, there will be a presentation by the National Weather Service which will introduce a scenario of tropical storm conditions with heavy floodwaters and a possible tornado.

The tabletop exercise is a meeting to discuss a simulated emergency situation. There is no fieldwork. A tabletop exercise is intended to generate and inspire feedback of hypothetical, simulated emergencies in a "no-fault" environment. Participants are encouraged to engage in conversations, challenge one another, and know it's okay to not have an answer to every situation presented. Ultimately, the idea is to brainstorm and contribute to a safe environment, inspiring new and different solutions. Tabletops can be used to enhance general awareness, validate plans and procedures, rehearse concepts, and tighten prevention and recovery systems. Port Tampa Bay leaders use the time to solidify planning and execution of all scenarios, along with other agencies and local leaders.

Leaders aim to identify strengths and possible improvements in the development of an aftermath response. The exercise ends when all actions have been discussed or when the time limit is reached. Participant learning is reinforced and feedback provided through a "hot wash" at the conclusion of the exercise.

As we approach hurricane season, Port Tampa Bay will continue to work with outside agencies to keep operations moving productively. At the same time, the port continues to minimize risks to keep our communities running and our citizens safe.

Port Tampa Bay is honored to serve the state, our community, and most importantly, you – our neighbors. Stay safe and start your own preparations now! As a community, we are stronger together.

Hurricane Table Top Exercise

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