Vice Adm. Nora W. Tyson, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, speaks during a Defense Support of Civil Authorities Seminar in San Pedro, Calif., Aug. 30. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Kory Alsberry)

LOS ANGELES - Representatives from the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, California National Guard, and California Office of Emergency Services, participated in a Defense Support of Civilian Authorities senior leadership seminar to discuss and build upon the roles, responsibilities and capabilities of emergency services during a catastrophic event, Aug. 30.

The seminar was based on several specific emergency response strategies, including operational communications, public health and medical services, mass care services, situational assessment, critical transportation, public information and dissemination strategies, incident action planning, services and resources, mass search and rescue operations, and on-scene security and protection.

“There are certain scenarios and certain hazards where it’s going to need to be ‘all hands on deck’,” said Crystal R. Chambers, emergency manager, City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department. "We need the full strength of everyone’s resources to minimize the losses that come with catastrophic disasters.”

The result of an actual disaster can cause exponential damages to a community. The damages of the disaster may exceed the capability and readiness of local agencies to provide aid. The partnerships and relationships among emergency respondeners developed at leadership events like this help ensure optimal assistance can be provided.

“At these seminars, we build on the roles and responsibilities and relationships of all the emergency services and government entities,” said Chambers. “We get a better idea of who’s doing what and what all they’re capable of. Knowing the organization that a person will be working with beforehand always seems to make the process go smoother.”

The seminar provided an opportunity for experts to convene and develop a better understanding of how to prepare a response to both general and specific real-world casualties.

“It’s not if, but when something's going to happen or when there’s going to be a natural disaster,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Jose Acosta, U.S. 3rd Fleet surgeon. “It’s important that we have conversations between all the different groups before something bad happens. That way we can have a much more effective response.”

Attendees had the opportunity to introduce new strategies and ideas on disaster response and to cement in place strategies that have worked in past evolutions.

“I was here last year for the first DSCA symposium, and it was incredible,” said Navy Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. “To the entire team who has been a part of putting this together, these discussions, this is what it’s all about and truly is a team effort.”

For more information on DSCA, vist: http://www.dsca.mil.