On July 24, the Woodbridge Campus hosted the VERTEX (Virginia Emergency Response Team Exercise) State Transfer Drill for the region. The drill gave officials in the area a chance not only to test the plan but also to see the staging area they would use during an emergency in Washington, D.C. The Campus was set up with cots for a mock sleeping area and registration tables for the Virginia Department of Social Services.
Director of Emergency Management and Planning Will Flagler said, “The importance of the VERTEX drill is that it allowed various stakeholders in the National Capital Region and the Commonwealth to actually see how multiple agencies would come together on the Woodbridge Campus to operate a State Transfer Point. The State Transfer Point is a vital component of the Northern Virginia Evacuation Plan which would be activated by the Governor in the event of an evacuation from Washington, D. C. The Office of Emergency Management and Planning would like to thank the Woodbridge Campus for working with us to ensure a successful drill.”
Written by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the plan divides the nation’s capital region into segments radiating out from the city toward specific transfer points. The locations are designated transfer points because this is where cabinet level officials will be transported, registered and reassigned to other areas in the Commonwealth. The drill group involved state officials, police officers and many volunteers who started the day with a trip from the Woodbridge Campus, up the HOV lanes to Arlington County and back south in the HOV lanes.
The buses were stopped along the route for a presentation by the Virginia Department of Transportation regarding transportation and evacuation in the event of an emergency. From there, the group traveled back to the Woodbridge Campus where the Virginia Department of Social Services practiced registering participants and the group took part in a question and answer session.
The drill was a joint effort by Office of Emergency Management and Planning staff (Flagler, Tom Mayhew and Brenda DeRamus) as well as NOVA police including Chief Daniel Dusseauand many other NOVA police officers.