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  4. Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, City of New Orleans Hosts Readiness Event

Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office, City of New Orleans Hosts Readiness Event

Release Date: March 18, 2024

In partnership with the City of New Orleans, with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD), is hosting a multiday readiness event from Monday, March 18, through Friday, March 22. The purpose of this initiative is continuous collaboration, preparedness, and improvements for local, state, and federal first responders to address tactical, radiological, nuclear, and chemical scenarios and to enhance future operations.

The City of New Orleans will remain proactive in ensuring continued public safety preparations for all major special events, such as Mardi Gras and the upcoming Super Bowl LIX, slated for Feb. 9, 2025. For instance, Mardi Gras is a designated Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) 2 event. SEAR ratings determine the risk level for events that may be considered potential threat targets and help to determine the security resources needed. This SEAR 2 rating allowed the City to receive additional federal support and public safety resources.

"CWMD and DHS have a proud history of leading federal efforts – in close coordination with state and local officials – to ensure the public safety during special events, such as the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras,” said Assistant Secretary for CWMD Mary Ellen Callahan. "Providing equipment and training to state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement and first responders is one of CWMD's primary functions to protect the nation from weapons of mass destruction. We truly appreciate the City of New Orleans' inclusion in this exercise and their proactive steps to ensure their readiness for Super Bowl LIX."

"The City of New Orleans is proud to host our state and federal partners for these critical exercises and discussions,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “As all our major cultural events continue to draw larger crowds, and as we prepare for Super Bowl LIX, it is vital that our local agencies remain in lockstep with all partners at the table. These preparations are necessary to continue to demonstrate how New Orleans is an international model for hosting and executing major events and festivals safely and successfully."

DHS’s CWMD spearheaded coordination efforts for this week’s initiative, working closely with approximately 13 federal, state, and local public safety agencies within New Orleans. Together, they identified operational needs, aligned strategic goals, and devised a comprehensive event for the entire region.

To ensure seamless integration and consistency across events, DHS's CWMD collaborated with regional partners, meticulously selecting scenarios that would test and enhance preparedness for multiple potential threats.

The weeklong event in New Orleans will showcase the collaborative efforts from every level of the nation’s protective infrastructure, from local first responders to federal assets. It aims to bring agencies together under realistic conditions, promoting a managed, coordinated response. This achievement underscores the importance of professional relationships across agencies, collaborative support within the National Response Framework, and the diligent pursuit of bringing all stakeholders together.

Last Updated: 03/19/2024
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