The #SIQUAKE2020 Table Top Exercise (TTX) as one of the kay activities within the #SIQUAKE2020 project was organized by Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief between 4 and 7 February 2020 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The #SIQUAKE2020 TTX was based on the scenario of a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that would strike central Slovenian region with 32 municipalities. According to the exercise scenario, the earthquake with its epicentre 10 kilometres southeast from Ljubljana would happen in the early morning. Based on the preliminary data from the Geology and Seismology Office of the Slovenian Environmental Agency, the earthquake would reach an intensity of VII – VIII on the European Macro seismic Scale (EMS). Thirty-two municipalities from Central Slovenia with 600.000 people would be exposed to the consequences of such an earthquake.

Prior to the #SIQUAKE2020 TTX, several preparational events were organized and the participants have checked vulnerabilities of buildings and headquarters in which they work or live. Vulnerability assessment was supported by POTROG application, which is a national comprehensive web-based modelling toolbox. It includes many tools such as database of earthquake resistance and vulnerability of individual buildings, calculations about the population at risk and an application for self-assessment of individual buildings. Additionally the participants have checked their alternative working locations, working conditions, staff availability and set priorities of the planned response activities. The participants presented their findings at the final planning conference before TTX and received further instructions and materials for a successful TTX implementation.

The general TTX objective was to test the response capacities of the civil protection system in the event of a major earthquake in Central Slovenia, in accordance with the National Protection and Rescue Plan in the event of an earthquake and to test requesting procedures for the international assistance through Union Civil Protection Mechanism and initial assistance coordination. Additional TTX aims were to strengthen the awareness and understanding of different participating stakeholders about their tasks and responsibilities in case of major earthquake and in case of receiving international assistance. The exercise offered an opportunity to test and improve newly established Incident Command System (ICS) procedures in Slovenia, to network and to familiarize with other organizational structures and work procedures on different levels.

The exercise was divided into two parts for national and international stakeholders. All the stakeholders responsible for conducting the response activities, defined by the National Protection and Rescue Plan in the event of an earthquake and all the municipalities from Central Slovenia were invited to participate at the #SIQUAKE2020 TTX. That included the local communities of central Slovenia with 32 municipalities, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, ministries, government agencies, state-owned companies and institutes, Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief – ACPDR and civil protection commanders and headquarters on all levels. Altogether, 55 participants were invited to participate in national TTX, while 45 of them have responded which represents 82% of all stakeholders.

The national TTX activities included activation of emergency management structures on all government levels, response management, establishment of the incident command organisational structure, request for additional resources, early recovery management, recovery, rebuilding and development policy, decision-making activities for request for international assistance.

The international part of the #SIQUAKE2020 TTX included civil protection headquarters of the teams that will participate in the #SIQUAKE2020 Full Scale Exercise (FSX), such as Austria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia, emergency response centres within UCPT members like Romania and Emergency Response Coordination Center (ERCC) representatives. International #SIQUAKE2020 TTX – Part 1 was an immediate continuation of the national TTX, which has concluded with the official request for assistance sent through CECIS.

The exercise was closely observed and evaluated by the evaluation team, composed by representatives of the Inspectorate for Protection against Natural and Other Disasters, Red Cross Slovenia and Administration for Civil protection and Disaster relief. The evaluation of the exercise was conducted based on the pre-prepared evaluation sheets, focused on the achievement of the exercise purpose and objectives.

Last part of TTX was dedicated to the Debriefing Workshop for national participants, organized as a set of reports by participants, evaluators and organizers. Event was concluded with a group discussions and presentations of their feedbacks. Working groups covered following topics: search and rescue (USAR), first aid, mass shelters and accommodation, telecommunications, ruins and damaged buildings, security, animals and reconstruction.

At the Debriefing Workshop more recommendations and challenges were identified which need to be discussed and resolved by the national coordination body Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, part by the other stakeholders involved. One of the basic aims of the exercise was actually to identify these gaps and the possible ways to deal with them in the future. TTX represent a learning point and a benefit for the #SIQUAKE2020 project management team, especially for further development of other project activities and Full Scale Exercise.

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