The Coronal Mass Ejection Long-term Power Outage workshop was held in Seattle, Washington on May 23, 2019. Funding was provided by the Washington State Homeland Security Region 6 Critical Infrastructure Working Group from the FFY 2017 State Homeland Security Program from the Department of Homeland Security via Washington State Military Department and King County Office of Emergency Management. It was designed as a full-day workshop that included speakers presenting information on the Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) hazard and warnings systems, impacts from regional power outages, current planning efforts and engagement of the audience in breakout discussions exploring how to address the hazard and mitigate potential impacts.
This interdependencies workshop focused on a long-term electrical system blackout caused by a CME event striking North America. While most power outage planning revolves around other natural hazard events like windstorms, earthquakes, or terrorism, this exercise took a look at a long-term power outage with widespread impacts to urban, suburban, and rural communities. While concentrating on critical infrastructure, the human impacts to people and systems such as our healthcare institutions was also included in the workshop. Participants were briefed on the current planning the Washington State Department of Commerce Energy Office is conducting on fuel prioritization and hybrid electrical systems. The Washington State Emergency Management Division provided insight on the catastrophic planning conducted by the State to address a CME scenario.
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Warning Center estimates a G5 Geomagnetic Storm will cause the following types of impacts:
Washington State Workshop | Critical Infrastructure Reentry and Situational Awareness Project (CIRSAP) | 2019 Resilience Challenge Grant
Public and private stakeholders from around the region met in Seattle, Washington on May 7, 2019 for a workshop to discuss the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) improve situational awareness of critical infrastructure post-disaster. In attendance were participants from across many sectors including law enforcement, emergency management, transportation, communications, emergency services, fire, as well as private sector agriculture and infrastructure such as energy, communications, power, and utilities.
86% of the nation’s critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. Therefore, there is a need for rapid damage assessment of these critical infrastructures immediately following a disaster. Emerging drone technology is allowing for an expedited and detailed damage assessment of infrastructures by owners and operators. The private sector needs to access to disaster zones to conduct damage assessments and then be able to share information rapidly with state emergency management agencies so that a common operating picture can be established.
The workshop was funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) Challenge Grant program. Washington is one of four states that participated in the CRDR's Resilience Challenge Grant project. Learn more about the CRDR's Resilience Challenge Grant project here.