EMSI Provides Nuclear and Radiological Incident Management Training to NJ Emergency Management Officials

A 10 kiloton (10kt) nuclear detonation is one of the most complex scenarios emergency response personnel can face.  Through a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), EMSI recently provided nuclear and radiological response incident management training for emergency management officials from New Jersey, including personnel from New Jersey State Police, New Jersey Emergency Management, and select New Jersey counties.

With the goal of preparing New Jersey emergency management officials for the upcoming Gotham Shield 2017 exercise, EMSI subject matter experts briefed on:

  • The cascading effects of a 10kt nuclear detonation, including impacts from nuclear fallout and blast pressure;

  • Strategies for organizing and managing the response to an IND detonation; and the

  • Impacts to all-hazards operations and decision-making.

With considerable experience in nuclear and radiological response, this training was presented by Billy Haley and Wendy Chernesky.  As EMSI’s subject matter experts, Billy and Wendy are frequent presenters on these topics and were both involved in the U.S. Government’s response to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan.

Gotham Shield, an annual exercise directed by U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and executed by U.S. Army North (USARNORTH), tests the capability of federal responders to manage a catastrophic incident.  The scenario centers around a 10kt Improvised Nuclear Device (IND) detonation.  The 2017 exercise will take place in New York and New Jersey.  EMSI has supported DOE participation in this exercise since 2013, working closely with state and federal emergency management agencies including the Department of Defense (DOD), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

During Gotham Shield 2017, EMSI will have several members of our team assigned to the FEMA Joint Field Office in New York for the duration of the exercise, advising DOE and FEMA personnel on organizing and integrating technical nuclear and radiological response operations into the JFO organization.  Additionally, EMSI will provide support to the exercise at the DOE Consequence Management Home Team in Las Vegas, NV, where DOE will provide technical and analytical reach-back support to responders deployed to New York and New Jersey.

Further supporting Gotham Shield 2017, EMSI personnel were also delivering ICS-300 and Staging Area Manager (ICS-236) training to DOD Joint Task Force Civil Support (JTF-CS) personnel at the same time that training was occurring in New Jersey.  The mission of JTF-CS is to anticipate, plan, and prepare for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense Support of Civil Authorities (CBRN-DSCA) response operations. When directed, JTF-CS deploys within 24 hours of notification to command and control DOD forces in support of civil authority response operations in order to save lives, prevent further injury, and provide temporary critical support to enable community recovery.  Established in October 1999, JTF-CS is assigned to USNORTHCOM and conducts CBRN response operations planning and preparedness to maximize mission readiness and capability.

EMSI’s vast experience in complex incident management and hazardous materials response has helped inform some of the advanced incident management approaches to CBRN incident management.  EMSI personnel have been involved in the management of several complex hazardous materials incidents, including Anthrax at the Capital (2001), the oil and hazardous materials response following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010), the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster (2011), and the oil and hazardous materials response following Hurricane Sandy (2012).

EMSI has provided ICS and incident management training and support to DOE since 2007 and routinely provides support to DOE exercises.  In 2011, EMSI Vice President of Operations Billy Haley responded to Japan with DOE as part of the U.S. Government’s response to Japan.  For his contributions, Billy earned the DOE Secretarial Honor Award and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Meritorious Group Award.  With a deep and seasoned cadre of Type 1 ICS practitioners and exercise planners, including Master Exercise Practitioners (MEPs), EMSI is uniquely positioned to provide development, coaching, and mentoring support to exercises. Visit our website at www.emsics.com or contact us to find out how we can help your organization’s preparedness posture.