Training Together - Responding as ONE Event Date September 7-11, 2017  |   facebook icon youtube icon twitter icon    

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Yellow Command 2016
Continuing an exercise best practice

During this 10th anniversary of Urban Shield, we take the opportunity to look back upon the progress the entire program has brought to the Bay Area and our global partners. Notably, we see that the Yellow Command exercise has become a best practice which our local jurisdictions look forward to participating in each year.

Yellow Command is the portion of Urban Shield that focuses on emergency management and the support that Emergency Operations Centers provide for effective response and recovery efforts in the field. Each year Yellow Command tests one aspect of the Bay Area’s Regional Catastrophic Planning efforts. It is an opportunity to work collaboratively with Federal, State, and Local agencies along with public and private sector partners.

Looking Back

In 2013, we practiced a passenger train crash to test the Regional Mass Fatality Plan.

In 2014, we practiced a high explosive terrorist attack to exercise the Regional Donations Management Plan.

In 2015, we practiced coordinated terrorist attacks throughout the Bay Area testing the Regional Mass Transportation and Evacuation Plan.

Along the way, we’ve learned that it is invaluable for multiple local EOCs to practice an activation concurrently with State and Federal participation in the exercise. This allows us to test and improve our communication processes for resource requests and situational awareness in advance of a real world emergency. We have also learned that it is invaluable for first responders to exercise their response actions in field with live communications to the EOC.

Looking Forward

A catastrophic earthquake remains the number one hazard threat likely to cause the most damage to the Bay Area. For 2016, we have developed a deep focus on one very important aspect of disaster recovery: Commodity Points of Distribution (C-PODs). In 2017, we will exercise mass care and sheltering operations.

Commodity Points of Distribution

Our Federal, State, and local partners have agreed that one method for distributing life sustaining resources to the impacted population following a catastrophic earthquake will be through Logistics Staging Areas and C-PODs. C-PODs, which act as a first line of relief to survivors, are designed for large-scale, catastrophic incidents and typically operate for 3-7 days after an event while retail establishments work to recover. C-PODs have been widely used and tested in the southeast, where large hurricanes cause serious supply chain disruption, but there have been very few C-POD activations here in California.

During Yellow Command, four C-PODs will be set up to test actual processes and flow of distributing commodities (i.e. bottled water) to the impacted population. These will be set up and operated by local government using existing guidance materials such as the Regional Catastrophic Earthquake Logistics Response Plan and its companion Point of Distribution Field Operations Guide. Additionally, each of the Bay Area Operational Areas are developing customized C-POD Activation Guides with UASI funding.

Participating EOCs, will experience a two-phased exercise. During the first phase they will work through the process of planning for C-POD activation and the second phase will focus on supporting the operations of C-PODs within their jurisdictions. The result of Yellow Command 2016 will be improved readiness throughout the Bay Area for facilitating recovery through distribution of life sustaining commodities. 


2016 Yellow Command Participation Map


  • Contra Costa County EOC – Martinez CA
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District EOC – Oakland CA
  • City of Oakland EOC – Oakland CA
  • City of Oakland POD – Oakland CA
  • San Francisco EOC – San Francisco CA
  • Monterey County EOC – Salinas CA
  • Monterey County POD – Salinas CA
  • City of Palo Alto EOC
  • County of Solano POD – Fairfield CA
  • County of Alameda EOC – Dublin CA
  • County of San Mateo POD – South San Francisco CA
  • County of Sonoma EOC – Santa Rosa CA
  • County of Santa Clara EOC – San Jose CA
  • City of Santa Clara EOC
  • PG&E – Location TBD




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