Year End Summary and Future Thoughts
2017 has seen a very robust hurricane season, strong storms across the nation, large and very dangerous wildfires with many fatalities, and devastating terror attacks. Many communities are still recovering, and may be for a long time, from these and other natural and man-made disasters.
REDITM users need to keep in mind as we approach a new year that there remain many emergency management challenges. You need to evaluate your plans in-light-of each emergency or disaster. One guidance element we all should consider is about how long to plan to be “self-sufficient” and support you and your family. The past guidance of being self-sufficient for up to 72 hours may not meet the current situation. Recent events, particularly those dealing with hurricanes, would indicate you might want supplies for you and your family longer than 72 hours!
Holiday Safety Concerns
The holiday season is upon us. The season can bring strong storms, the potential for terror events, fires, and other natural and man-made incidents.
Holiday safety tips are available from the U.S Fire Administration at www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/holiday.html. The site includes outreach materials using shared social media messages, handouts, posters, PSA’s and video clips.
There is also a Holiday and Travel Safety Toolkit available at www.ready.gov/holiday-toolkit.
Available resources for use include:
• Holiday Preparedness Social Media Toolkit;
• Hash Tags & Emojis (images on a smartphone);
• Graphics & Promotional Content;
• Travel Safety;
• Cyber Safety;
• Cooking Safety; and
• Fire Safety
The materials can and will support your efforts to educate students, faculty, and staff during the holiday season.
Planned Events, Use of NIMS/ICS, and Interoperable Communications
This year, BowMac Software, Inc. has highlighted both the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) and interoperable communications issues and resources. The REDITM software is based on and is compatible with NIMS and ICS. Planned and special events should be planned and conducted using the concepts of NIMS/ICS and within your REDITM plan.
Several small communities, colleges and universities experienced politically and racially charged demonstrations this year resulting in damage, injury, and death. One such city was the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, home of the University of Virginia. Demonstrations during the summer grew progressively more violent as the year went on. Recently, two reports were released – one by the State of Virginia, and the other by the City of Charlottesville – dealing with the demonstrations. The two reports can be found at the following sites:
Governor’s Task Force on Public Safety Preparedness and Response to Civil Unrest, Final Report and Recommendations, December 1, 2017: www.pshs.virginia.gov/media/9737/task-force-on-public-safety-preparedness-and-response-to-civil-unrest-final-report.pdf.
Final Report: Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia, prepared by Hunton & Williams LLP: https://www.charlottesville.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=59615.
REDITM users should consider reviewing these reports and assessing your organizations processes and procedures used for planning and executing a Special Event Plan. Several quotes below highlight key issues associated with NIMS/ICS and communications.
Governor’s Task Force Report
• Page 6, Summary of Findings, Preparedness and Response Work Group: “In assessing the Commonwealth’s ability to successfully prepare for and carry out a coordinated response to incidents of civil unrest, the Preparedness and Response Work Group focused on the need for further multi-jurisdictional and cross-disciplinary coordination and collaboration. Key components of this discussion involved the use of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), including the Incident Command System (ICS) and Unified Command to coordinate incident responses and increase information sharing among agencies.”
• Page 8: “The Work Group discussed the benefits of utilizing the following resources to successfully prepare for and carry out a coordinated response to incidents of civil unrest.” The report goes on to highlight information about:
Incident Action Plans (IAPs)
Incident Management Teams (IMTs)
Joint Information Center (JIC)
• See Appendix I: After-Action Review, Virginia’s Response to the Unite the Right Rally, After-Action Review, Prepared by International Association of Chiefs of Police, December 2017. Consisting of 34 pages, the AAR includes “…observations and recommendations grouped into three categories, each with several subcategories: Adherence to National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) Standards…Maximizing Use of Related State Assets and Resources…Inter-Governmental and Community Coordination”.
• The IACP Review made observations and recommendations dealing with: Lack of unified Command, Multiple Command Posts, Public Information Management, Lack of Joint Training Before the Event, Communications Interoperability, and much more. Regarding communications interoperability the IACP Review stated on Page I-23: “Limited communications interoperability was an issue and a concern raised repeatedly through the review process. The issue of effective communication is historically a challenge in major operations. The ability to establish an interoperable communication is part of planning leading up to the event and should be included in IAP. The goal is to establish the ability for all similar functions to communicate on the same radio frequency, despite what agency is involved. In the interview process it was learned that this was not accomplished.”
Final Report: Hunton & Williams LLP
• Page 167, Recommendations, I. Preparation for Civil Disturbances, A. Emergency Management and Coordination: “The City of Charlottesville should follow Incident Command System (ICS) procedures implemented by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in anticipation of all future large protest events. These nationally-recognized standards provide the crucial blueprint for managing emergencies. The ICS standards use standard nomenclature and help ensure a unified command structure to govern a multi-agency response.”
• The report goes on to list five bulleted items dealing with training, using standard NIMS/ICS terminology, designating a City Emergency Manager, using an Incident Management Team, and adhering to any agreed upon Incident Action Plan.
• Under “What Went Wrong” starting on Page 153, see Page 164 4) “The Charlottesville Police Department and Virginia State Police Failed to Operate Under a Unified Command, Resulting in Delayed and Ineffective Responses to Critical Events”.
2017 NIMS Refresh Released
On October 17, 2017, FEMA released the refreshed National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine. FEMA’s website summarizes the use of NIMS: “The intended audience for this section is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and local, state, tribal, territorial, insular area, and Federal governments. NIMS provides a common, nationwide approach to enable the whole community to work together to manage all threats and hazards. NIMS applies to all incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity.”
The refreshed NIMS document can be downloaded from: www.fema.gov/nims-doctrine-supporting-guides-tools.
The refreshed NIMS:
• “Retains key concepts and principles of the 2004 and 2008 versions of NIMS;
• Reflects and incorporates policy updates and lessons learned from exercises and real-incidents;
• Clarifies the processes and terminology for qualifying, certifying, and credentialing incident personnel, building a foundation for the development of a national qualification system;
• Clarifies that NIMS is more than just the Incident Command System (ICS) and that it applies to all incident personnel, from the incident command post to the National Response Coordination Center;
• Describes common functions and terminology for staff in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), while remaining flexible to allow for differing missions, authorities, and resources of EOCs across the nation; and
• Explains the relationship among ICS, EOCs, and senior leaders/policy groups.”
REDITM users should review their plans after examining the material in the last two bullets particularly. One of the more difficult concepts to clarify in emergency planning has been the interface between command (ICS) and coordination (EOC) elements during an incident or event. The refreshed NIMS will assist you in putting the interface relationship into practice.
Supporting reference material to assist with fully implementing NIMS and addressing questions can be found at the following sites:
• NIMS Supporting Guides & Tools: https://www.fema.gov/nims-doctrine-supporting-guides-tools
• Training: http://www.fema.gov/training-0
• Resource Management & Mutual Aid: http://www.fema.gov/resource-management-mutual-aid
• Implementation Guidance & Reporting: http://www.fema.gov/implementation-guidance-and-reporting
• NIMS Alerts: http://www.fema.gov/national-incident-management-system-alerts
• FEMA NIMS Regional Contacts: http://www.fema.gov/fema-regional–nims-contacts
• Training: www.training.fema.gov/icsresource/icsforms.aspx
Updated Active Shooter Response Resources
Considering the recent high-profile active shooter incidents, it is important to examine your REDITM Plans to incorporate every possible component should your institution, facility or site need to respond to and recover from such a severe situation.
The June 8, 2017 (Volume 17 – Issue 23) of the Emergency Management & Response-Information sharing & Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) summarizes the active shooter resources available. They start by saying, “jurisdictions should have an active shooter response plan in place by now”. They go on by indicating: “law enforcement, EMS, and fire departments should have a unified approach to these chaotic incidents and should train together regularly. Workplaces also should plan to hold drills with their employees and even drill jointly with first responders. Joint drills and exercises provide a multitude of benefits for all involved.”
Again, in the EMR-ISAC October 5, 2017 issue (Volume 17 – Issue 40), there was a “Review of active shooter resources and training”. “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a dedicated site with active shooter response resources, documents and training available for first responders and the public. The resources for the public are translated into eight languages. They also have information specifically for those in the human resources and security fields.” The resources can be located at: www.dhs.gov/first-responder.
“The FBI has a similar site with resources and training…” The FBI site is: www.fbi.gov/about/partnerships/office-of-partner-engagement/active-shooter-resources.
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Active Shooter Preparedness page “…includes new training content, resource documents, and a facts sheet listing warning signs, along with steps people can take if they notice worrisome behavior.” This material can be accessed at: www.dhs.gov/active-shooter-preparedness
Remember the Phrase: If You See Something, Say Something
Terrorism remains a critical concern for every citizen and institution. BOWMAC has highlighted aspects related to terrorism over the years to assist our REDITM users.
So, the phrase “If you see something, say something” is most appropriate! Report suspicious activity. The DHS website has details on what to report and how to report suspicious information. Go to: www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something/what-suspicious-activity
Finally, there are related elements that we would like to highlight. REDITM users should consider these elements as they review and update plans.
• Firefighters and EMS providers play a key role in any active shooter/mass casualty incident. Because of that, the NFPA announced in their October 2017 Newsletter that they are in the early stages of developing a new standard dealing with “active shooter and mass casualty” incidents. To be labeled NFPA 3000, the new standard is under initial development.
• Bystanders have been instrumental in initial patient care in active shooter/mass casualty situations. Several resources are available to assist with hemorrhage and bleeding control. See: www.BleedingControl.org and www.cops.us.doj.gov/pdf/Hemorrhage_Control_Eastman.pdf
Public Safety Communications and Interoperability
On many occasions, BOWMAC has discussed the value of two-way radio communications during critical incidents. The case has been made for day-to-day operational, special event, and disaster interoperable communications in many forums. We cannot emphasize enough REDITM users establishing and practicing all three types of radio communication capabilities.
The April 13, 2017 InfoGram from EMR-ISAC, highlighted a program that all REDITM users should be fully familiar with and understand how it impacts your efforts to establish and maintain the three types of capabilities. The article is entitled, “P25 CAP Program for Radio Interoperability” discusses how “incompatible radio technologies regularly compromise routine emergency operations across the country.”
“Project 25 (P25) is a suite of standards ensuring digital two-way land mobile radio interoperability. P25 Compliance Assessment Program (CAP) is the formal, independent testing process for P25 compliance and the recommended starting point for public safety to acquire radio technology guaranteed to be interoperable.”
The following resources should be reviewed in detail as REDITM users plan their emergency communications elements of the facility emergency plan.
Just what does the P25 Program mean to the REDITM user? By understanding the P25 Program you will be able to evaluate, write specifications for and purchase communications equipment and systems that will meet your needs for day-to-day operations, special events, and disaster situations.
New CERT and Citizen Corps Website Coming Soon to FEMA
According to the FEMA website “beginning December 1 the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Citizen Corps website will be shut down for improvements.”
“The new website launches later in December with enhanced features and functionality. The updates, which are in progress now, will make the site easier to use. This new website will help your community be ready and stay prepared for any emergency.”
The new website will launch in late December. Again, FEMA indicates the “new website allows Citizen Corps and CERT programs to register and update their program, submit annual surveys, and search for state and Regional points of contact.”
You can learn more about the site by going to www.ready.gov and visiting the Citizen Corps and CERT pages.
Add to Your 2018 Calendar
The 20th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education symposium will be held June 4-7, 2018 at FEMA’s emergency Management Institute at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD.
Final Notes of Interest
1. BowMac Software, Inc. has a product called Sit-Aware that allows an organization, agency, school, or college to maintain situational awareness during an incident or during a pre-planned event. Reasonably priced, the product is available for immediate install with minimum training for users.
Contact John McNall at 585-624-9595 for a demonstration and further information.
2. The National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) maintained by the US Secret Service is a wealth of information for all interested in preventing, planning for, and responding to threats of all kinds. Congress formally authorized the NTAC based on the Presidential Threat Protection Act of 2000 to aid in the following areas:
• “Research threat assessment and various types of targeted violence;
• Provide training on threat assessment and targeted violence to law enforcement officials and others with protective and public safety responsibilities;
• Consult on complex threat assessment cases and programs;
• Promote the standardization of federal, state, and local threat assessment and investigations;
• Facilitate information-sharing among agencies with protective and/or public safety responsibilities.”
The site provides a wide range of information and research articles. Go to http://www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac to review the information and publications.
3. Here is a reminder of resources available for emergency management and emergency planning.
4. BowMac Software, Inc. would like to hear from our REDITM users about topics of interest that we could highlight in future newsletters. Please email us your comments and thoughts.
5. Finally, we want to wish all users a safe holiday season and a great new year.