With 2019 in the books, we want to revisit the busy year EMSI had before we begin celebrating our 20th anniversary in 2020.
In 2019, EMSI traveled to ten countries across six continents, working with clients on a wide range of training, exercise, response, and preparedness projects. Our work brought us to Canada, Thailand, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Australia, and Trinidad & Tobago among others.
Busy Schedule and Team Depth
Throughout the year, training delivery kept our team busy. Closer to home, we delivered several O-305 All-Hazard IMT and All-Hazard Position courses for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. In April, we traveled across the country to St. Paul, AK, in the Bering Sea for ICS training. We additionally delivered training for the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), U.S. Coast Guard, National Capital Region Incident Management Team (NCR IMT), Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Bay Area IMTs, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Atlanta Airport, Maine Emergency Management, ICS Canada, and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG), among other government and private sector entities.
Indicative of the depth of the EMSI team’s bench strength, the week of May 10th, EMSI delivered an S-420 Command and General Staff Course, an ICS-620 Area Command course, supported an oil spill exercise, delivered Safety Officer training to an oil and gas industry client, facilitated a DOE/NNSA AAR meeting, and provided six instructors for an O-305 All-Hazards IMT class. And if that wasn’t enough, we deployed IMT members with DOE/NNSA in support of a nine-month real-world response that started mid-week.
Comparable to that week, during the week of September 16th, EMSI supported a USCG ICS 430/440 Operations and Planning Section Chief course, three ICS-320 Intermediate IMT courses (two of which were in Nigeria), an ICS-300 for a rail industry client, an oil spill exercise, and an O-305 All-Hazards IMT class, all while continuing support to the DOE/NNSA response.
Clients continue to value the depth of real-world experience our instructors bring to the classroom, along with the diverse range of course offerings in the EMSI catalog. The unique and innovative proprietary EMSI ICS curriculum continues to represent the training courses most requested by our clients.
EMSI work in Canada, delivered through EMSI Canada Ventures, included two firsts this year. In March, EMSI delivered the first O-305 All-Hazards IMT course to the ICS Canada organization. This inaugural course was hosted in Calgary, Alberta, the week of March 4th. In coordination with ICS Canada, EMSI made slight modifications to the USFA O-305 curriculum to incorporate and align with ICS Canada doctrine.
In preparation for the joint United States and Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) exercise CANUSLANT 2019 – Canadian/United States Atlantic Exercise – EMSI delivered the first ICS-620 Area Command course for the CCG. As the current national ICS provider for the US Coast Guard, the CCG believed that using the same provider would best enable a seamless integration of the two services during this exercise and potential real-world responses. In crafting this first-ever Canadian delivery of ICS-620, EMSI worked diligently with CCG representatives to ensure that appropriate agencies were reflected in the scenarios, as well as discussion points related to the differences between US practices and Canadian response tactics. In addition to the CCG ICS-620, EMSI continued to provide ICS training to the US Coast Guard, including Area Command training delivered in several USCG districts.
S-420 Command and General Staff Training
In May, EMSI delivered an S-420 Command and General Staff Course for Type 3 IMT personnel from Colorado and California IMTs. A challenging and rare course in the Incident Command System curriculum, the S-420 course (alternatively called ICS-420) is designed to prepare students to function effectively in a Type 2 Command or General Staff position. EMSI drew upon our deep team of Type 1 qualified ICS practitioners to provide expert instructors and coaches for this class.
EMSI helped design and execute a full-scale exercise for the NCR IMT that evaluated and enhanced the capabilities of the IMT to respond to complex all-hazards incident. Later in the year, EMSI worked with Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson International Airport to design and execute an active shooter exercise. In preparation for this exercise, EMSI delivered ICS Operations Section Chief training to airport personnel and response partners. In addition, EMSI supported a host of other exercises with private and government sector clients, including DOE/NNSA.
EMSI continued our support to the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), a client we have worked closely with since 2007. Outside of our programmatic support to the Office of Emergency Operations and Office of Nuclear Incident Response, EMSI developed and delivered training, planned and evaluated exercises, and served as critical members of the NNSA IMT for exercises and a real-world response.
In February, EMSI supported Cobalt Magnet 2019 (CM19), an exercise that focused on a notional NASA “launch anomaly” at Kennedy Space Center with off-site radiological consequences. In preparation for NASA’s MARS 2020 launch, this particular exercise focused on the launch of a space vehicle that employs a multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator. Prior to the exercise, EMSI delivered radiological incident management training to state and local response personnel in Florida and facilitated the year-long exercise planning process.
In April, DOE/NNSA conducted the annual Nuclear Weapons Accident/Incident Exercise (NUWAIX), an exercise for which EMSI led the planning process. Conducted at the DOE Pantex Plant in Amarillo, TX, NUWAIX 19 evaluated the whole of government response to a nuclear weapons accident, a low-probability, high-risk scenario for which DOE remains prepared. The EMSI IMT participated in both Cobalt Magnet and NUWAIX, serving as the DOE/NNSA IMT.
In October, EMSI training developers and instructors delivered an enhanced ICS-300 and ICS-400 courses for the NNSA Office of Emergency Operations. While meeting the intent and objectives of ICS-300 and ICS-400, both courses were modified to address the incident management nuances of working in a federal agency operations center and included additional EOC information. The courses were specifically designed to include relevant DOE and EOC examples, as well as a complex multi-agency coordination exercise in the ICS-400 course involving DOE energy infrastructure (ESF 12), nuclear incident response (NNSA), and continuity of operations (COOP).
Throughout the year, EMSI exercise planners continued to support the OFDA-DOE/NNSA exercise series Concrete Shield, planning and executing two full-scale exercises in 2019 preparing OFDA DART and DOE/NNSA personnel for international nuclear/radiological incidents, to include deployment to New Zealand in support of the Kiwi Resolve 2019 exercise, co-hosted by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). EMSI also continued its support of DOE in the Vibrant Response exercise series, USNORTHCOM’s largest annual CBRN exercise.
IMT Deployments and Response
After the successful deployment of the EMSI IMT in support of DOE/NNSA for Cobalt Magnet and NUWAIX, the EMSI IMT was called upon to support a real-world radiation incident in Seattle, WA. EMSI support continued for nine consecutive months as DOE/NNSA worked to characterize the extent of contamination and undertake a complex decontamination and remediation process.
In addition to the DOE response, EMSI personnel supported the chemical plant fire in Deer Park, TX, in April and conducted an After-Action Review (AAR) for an oil spill incident in California. Since September, EMSI personnel have closely monitored the Golden Ray capsized cargo ship off the coast of Georgia and deployed personnel during the initial days of 2020 to support salvage operations.
Recognizing the importance of lifelong learning for responders, EMSI continued our annual participation in the Clean Gulf and All-Hazards IMT Association (AHIMTA) conferences. EMSI President, Ron Cantin, and Vice President of Operations, Billy Haley, served on panels at the Clean Gulf conference. Ron participated in the Exercise Evaluation – Maximizing Value panel, speaking on areas for improvement in exercises and their root causes, while Billy participated in the Training and Developing Key IMT Members panel, speaking on the role of the Resources Unit.
New and Updated Products
Despite the busy schedule, EMSI found time to develop new guides and job aids, while updating others. We released new job aids for Facilities Unit Leader (FACL), Air Operations Branch Director (AOBD), and the Intelligence/Investigation (I/I) function, while updating the Staging Area Manager (STAM) job aid. In addition, EMSI crafted an ICS Review Guide to serve as a refresher for ICS practitioners to aid in preparation for advanced training, exercises, or real-world events.
In partnership with Proactima, EMSI released two new ICS-100 and ICS-200 courses in Norway. These courses are available in both English with Norwegian translation coming soon. We look forward to other web-based opportunities in the near future.
2020: What’s in Store
EMSI is excited to announce that we will celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2020. Founded in 2000 by Chuck Mills, Steve Gallegos, and Jim Strickland, EMSI has grown into a global leader in the field of incident and emergency management, with government and private sector clients worldwide. Stay connected with EMSI throughout 2020 as we honor this milestone, share EMSI trivia, and offer IMT Gear sales.
EMSI is also preparing for an ICS position-specific training suite in New Orleans the week of May 18. This training suite, sponsored by Chevron, will include 13 simultaneous position-specific courses including all Command and General Staff positions, all Planning Section Unit Leader positions, and Division/Group Supervisor. Chevron has asked for EMSI assistance in filling vacant seats. If you are interested, please contact EMSI to inquire about availability.
Buckle up: 2020 is already shaping up to be a busy year.