A Hurricane Simulation for Tampa Bay Small Businesses & Emergency Management Agencies
What if a Category 5 hurricane struck the Tampa Bay region? How would the events unfold, and what would the region look like in the aftermath of the storm?
Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery is a facilitated training exercise that examines critical issues and capabilities of Tampa Bay area small businesses and emergency management agencies during disaster recovery. A series of videos supplement the exercise; illustrating a simulated Category 5 hurricane hitting Tampa Bay paralleled with lessons learned and words of advice from small business owners impacted by Hurricane Michael in 2018.
The tabletop exercise (TTX) leads participants through a facilitated discussion of roles, procedures, and responsibilities in the context of a Category 5 hurricane in the Greater Tampa Bay Area. The TTX is divided into four modules that cover a range of emergency preparedness and recovery topics, including:
- Module 1 – One Day Later: Immediate impacts and damage assessments
- Module 2 – One Week Later: Short-term recovery operations
- Module 3 – One to Six Months Later: Long-term recovery operations
- Module 4 – One Year Later: Long-term recovery operations
Exercise participants respond to questions that define the overlapping issues faced by small business owners and emergency managers, improving communications and preparedness efforts throughout the disaster scenario.
In 2009, TBRPC developed the Tampa Bay Catastrophic Plan: Project Phoenix, a plan to address the challenges of response and recovery during a catastrophic event in the Tampa Bay area. Hurricane Phoenix, a fictitious storm, was created to simulate the effects of a worst‐case scenario in our region; a direct strike from a Category 5 hurricane. A 10-minute video portrays the scenario using realistic weather reports and archived video footage.
Setting the Scene for a Training Exercise
Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery uses a series of videos to add realism to the exercise. The first video simulates Hurricane Phoenix forming in the Gulf of Mexico, small businesses throughout the Tampa Bay region getting prepared, the moment of impact, and the aftermath of the storm. The simulation video ends with an overwhelming sense of damage; in essence, it ends asking, “How do we begin to recover?”
The remaining videos feature true stories from business owners who experienced the devastation of Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida (2018). The stories parallel the timeline of the exercise by highlighting the “aftermath” between Module 1 and Module 2, the “digging-out” process in Module 3, and the businesses in “recovery” in Module 4. To wrap up the exercise on a hopeful note, the final video features the same small business owners who share their firsthand suggestions and recommendations on how to prepare now, so that whenever a Hurricane Phoenix does come, the Tampa Bay region is ready.
Host a Training Exercise with your Small Business Community
Train the Trainer Webinar
Small business organizations and local government emergency management staff are encouraged to apply the Hurricane Phoenix scenario for educational purposes. The following training materials and tools prepare trainers to develop and facilitate an exercise. These resources are designed to be easily customized for a specific audience and goals, and for a variety of in-person or virtual training events.
Watch the accompanying Train the Trainer Webinar to learn how to coordinate and facilitate a training exercise for small business disaster recovery using the Project Phoenix 2.0: The Recovery simulation.
Do you need assistance developing a Project Phoenix tabletop exercise in your community? Contact us.