A Star-Spangled Spectacular!

A Star-Spangled Spectacular!

September 20, 2014

In September 2014, Maryland welcomed more than 1 million visitors to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the national anthem. The "Star Spangled Spectacular" included a packed schedule with activities in downtown Baltimore, at Fort McHenry and across Baltimore County. Festivities included baseball games, period reenactments, and a carnival, capped off with an extraordinary fireworks display stretching from Fort McHenry to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and beyond.

September 20, 2014

In September 2014, Maryland welcomed more than 1 million visitors to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the national anthem. The "Star Spangled Spectacular" included a packed schedule with activities in downtown Baltimore, at Fort McHenry and across Baltimore County. Festivities included baseball games, period reenactments, and a carnival, capped off with an extraordinary fireworks display stretching from Fort McHenry to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and beyond.

Ensuring the safety and security of so many visitors across such a large area was no easy task. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) started planning the massive event more than a year in advance. It quickly became clear they would need a central place to share documents, conduct meetings and track progress.The Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) provided the security and accessibility needed during the planning process and throughout the event. Approximately 150 agencies contributed to this effort.

“For the size and scope of this event, it was amazing how smoothly everything went,” said Kyle Overly with MEMA. “HSIN was a great tool for providing overall situational awareness and a dedicated common operating picture that was accessible to anyone we felt needed access.”

In addition to the primary HSIN site and virtual command center, event coordinators set up five additional HSIN Connect rooms as back up for the area command posts in case it was needed. As it happened, one of the command centers lost email for a portion of one day. Immediately, users were able to log in to their dedicated HSIN Connect session and continue communicating with one another via the chat function. “It couldn’t have been smoother,” said Overly.

The Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC) also relied on HSIN to specifically support sharing Law Enforcement Sensitive (LES) information throughout the event. The fusion center was able to set up the capability quickly without an additional burden on the primary event coordinators at MEMA.