Bureau of Reclamation Banner
Great Plains Region
Billings, Mont.
Media Contact:
Greg Gere
(701) 250-4242
Patience Hurley
(701) 250-4242

Released On: September 10, 2004

Reclamation Tests Emergency Evacuation and Continuity of Operations Plan
If practice really makes perfect, the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) should be more than prepared if an event were to occur and force Reclamation to evacuate its office building. Today, Reclamation tested its emergency evacuation procedures and continuity of operation plans with a mock bomb/anthrax threat exercise. In these types of exercises, worst-case scenarios are contemplated to better prepare for any level of emergency that could possibly occur. The purpose of emergency exercises is to help ensure appropriate notifications are made, to promote agency response and to provide an opportunity to evaluate emergency plans.

"It is vital to provide our employees with the opportunity to test response and coordination ability in the event of an actual evacuation or threat," said Reclamation's Dakotas Area Manager Dennis Breitzman.

The scenario involved a wide range of activities, including a simulation of a bomb threat, an anthrax threat, emergency evacuation of the facility and moving Reclamation operations to an alternate location. Throughout the drill, an evaluation team tested the readiness and spontaneity of Reclamation employees.

"It's important to recognize that some federal offices have actually had to implement their continuity of operation plans following building fires and other events, including 9/11, so 'exercising' them makes sense," said Breitzman.

In addition to its many responsibilities, Reclamation's Dakotas Area Office manages nine dams in North Dakota and South Dakota. Functional exercises are essential in ensuring the security of Reclamation facilities in both states. In staying with Reclamation's mission to manage, develop and protect water and related resources, the Dakotas Area Office will continue to conduct exercises of this nature.

For more information, contact Greg Gere at 701.250.4242 extension 3105, or 701.226.6679.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.