Happy New Year

Happy New Year from EMSI!  As we transition into the New Year we wanted to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and highlight some things to come in 2017.This past year was another great year for EMSI.  In 2016, we continued to grow our relationships with our current clients as well as with some new clients. We continued to expand our capabilities and services by adding new team members and forming strategic partnerships with other businesses.  All of this makes us excited for what is to come in 2017. Here are some of the highlights.

U.S. Department of Energy

In 2016, DOE continued to provide a wide range of emergency management training and consulting services to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and on July 1, EMSI began work under a new contract with DOE, awarded as a task order under the Technical, Engineering, and Programmatic Support (TEPS) Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA).  EMSI’s partners on this TEPS task order include Project Enhancement Corporation (PEC) and Mele Associates, among others.

Under this contract, EMSI delivered ICS 300 and 400 training, developed new procedures for the DOE Headquarters emergency management enterprise (EME) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC), developed table-top and functional exercises for the DOE EME and EOC, and supported the planning and conduct of several other exercises, including the Northern Lights nuclear power plant exercise in October.

In September, EMSI contributed to the Radiological Operations Support Specialist (ROSS) pilot course.  The ROSS initiative is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T), the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD).  The ROSS is a radiological response specialist who can provide radiological response expertise to all-hazards incident management personnel and support to decision-making.

As part of the Vibrant Response exercise series, EMSI worked with DOE and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on new incident management procedures for nuclear response last May, focusing on better integrating and coordinating federal radiological response efforts.

Finally, EMSI continued to work with the DOE/NNSA Office of Secure Transportation, providing Initial Incident Commander (ICS-210) training to DOE federal agents.

New Courses

Continuing our commitment to developing responders, EMSI introduced several new courses and updated others in 2016, including:

Historically, the Staging Area Manager position has been provided simply with a job aid and no formal training course, but there has been an increasing demand for more structured Staging Area Manager training.  Given the considerable interest in the course from a diverse audience, EMSI developed training to assist the Staging Area Manager in their role.  The course focuses on establishing Staging Areas, effectively managing Staging Areas, managing resources assigned to Staging Areas, and includes a practical exercise in actually designing and laying out an effective Staging Area.  This course is taught with the EMSI Staging Area Manager job aid.

At the end of 2015, we completed the development of our new JIC course and had several deliveries of the course in 2016, including an open enrollment course in July.  This course fills a critical void in JIC training.  Designed for public relations and corporate communication professionals who may find themselves assigned to a staff position within a JIC during a response, this course is intended to provide applicable guidance and best practices for anyone assuming a position within the JIC during an incident.

This past year EMSI also developed an advanced instructor development course, modeled on the NWCG facilitative instructor curriculum, for one of our oil industry clients.  This course, taught by master instructors with decades of instructional design and training experience, is part of an on-going effort to assist our clients in developing sustainable instructor cadres.

In 2016, we also worked closely with our partners at The Response Group (TRG) to incorporate TRG technology applications, including the IAP Software and Jetty, into our training courses.

Finally, recognizing a critical initial response ICS training shortfall, EMSI continued to update and deliver our Initial Response Incident Commander (ICS-210) and Initial Response Team (ICS-220) courses.  These courses better prepare incident response personnel for managing the initial stages of the response and have received positive feedback from participants.

Public Information and Joint Information Projects

EMSI engaged in some interesting public information and joint information consulting projects in 2016.  First, EMSI worked with the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management to develop a city-wide Joint Information System (JIS) and Joint Information Center (JIC) plan for coordinated public messaging during city-wide emergencies.

Second, EMSI worked with an oil pipeline client to develop a concept for a field deployable public information team, modeled on the U.S. Coast Guard Public Information Assist Team (PIAT).  EMSI worked with the client to develop the concept, operating procedures, and training plan.

EMSI will continue both projects in 2017.

PREP Exercises

To help industry clients meet National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program (PREP) requirements, EMSI conducted over a dozen PREP table-top exercises and equipment deployment drills in 2016.  Due to the interactive and activity-centric design to the Initial Response Team (ICS-220) course, EMSI has been able to use this course, with some small enhancements, to meet the PREP TTX requirements while also providing valuable training.  And leveraging seasoned oil and hazardous materials response professionals, EMSI has been able to expertly evaluate PREP equipment deployment drills while making recommendations for operational improvements.

IMT Gear, Job Aids, and Pro Series Vests

EMSI continued to develop our e-store, IMTGear.com, adding additional products for use by response personnel.  In the fall, we shifted to a new e-commerce software platform and greatly enhanced the look and capabilities of the IMT Gear website.  At the end of 2016, we introduced the second generation of our popular IMT Gear Pro Series Vest.  This lightweight, breathable vest with interchangeable position title attachments, includes a few enhancements from the original version and is available exclusively through IMTGear.com.

In July, in response to several requests from our clients, the EMSI job aids became available in a digital format.  In a partnership with our printer and digital content distributor, Mimeo, all EMSI job aids will be available through Mimeo Digital.  Mimeo Digital is a secure digital content distribution platform that allows EMSI to offer electronic access to our job aids through a device agnostic system, meaning users can access the content from any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone), all operating systems, and all web browsers. 

Clean Gulf

In November, EMSI participated in the Clean Gulf Conference and EMSI President Ron Cantin presented, as part of a panel session, titled: “Understanding Incident Complexity: Right Sizing the Response Organization”.  Furthermore, EMSI finalized our agreement with Clean Gulf Associates as an accepted provider of Response Management Services under the Clean Gulf Associates Services Preferred Response Organization (PROs) program.

EMSI Website

Towards the end of 2015, we began an overhaul and update to the EMSI website and continued to update and enhance the website in 2016 with new content and features.  One of the more popular features continues to be our History of the Incident Command System (ICS).  Additionally, the Responder Resources and Blog features on our website are constantly updated with new material.

New Team Members

Finally, we would like to highlight some of the new members of our team including:

Ted and Wendy joined our team in July, primarily in support of the Department of Energy work.  Ted and Wendy bring diverse backgrounds with a tremendous wealth of experience to EMSI.  Bringing more than twenty years of experience in domestic and international emergency management, Ted joins EMSI after spending the last eleven years with Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).  Dr. Chernesky joins EMSI after spending the last seven years working in radiological emergency response with DOE/NNSA where she supported DOE’s leadership and management of the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC).  A PhD in Radiochemistry, Wendy’s operational experience is diverse and enables her to bring a unique perspective on scientific issues in operational settings.

With over thirty-five years of emergency management experience, including public safety and emergency management operations involving fire suppression, hazardous materials, technical rescue, emergency medical services, law enforcement, counter terrorism, and emergency operation center disciplines, Kevin Nelson has vast experience managing and delivering training and education to diverse audiences.

Odds and Ends
  • Hola! Did you know that EMSI taught ICS in Spanish to clients in South America last year? EMSI instructor Randy Ashmore is a fluent Spanish speaker.  We also have access to French speaking ICS instructors.
  • Did you see our Oil-Chemical Incident Annex overview for industry personnel?
  • In 2016, EMSI formed a strategic partnership with the Norwegian-based company Proactima. Expect more from EMSI and Proactima in 2017.
  • March marked the five-year anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear accident. EMSI Director of Operations Billy Haley, who responded to the nuclear accident in Japan, wrote a block article on incident management lessons learned from Fukushima.
  • “The ICS-234: What it is and why you should be using it” quickly became one of our more popular blog posts.
  • In 2016, EMSI worked in seven different countries including the United States, Canada, Panama, Argentina, Malaysia, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
2017: What to Expect

While we’re proud of what we accomplished in 2016, we’re even more excited for what is to come in 2017.  A sneak peek at some expected 2017 developments include:

  • A new leadership development program with approved NWCG Incident Leadership (L-Series) courses to complement our existing incident management program of instruction.
  • Web-based training options to increase flexibility of training delivery.
  • Enhanced capabilities for modern threats including cyber security and active shooter preparedness and incident management.
  • An improved open enrollment training program with more open enrollment training options to increase access to high quality training courses.
  • Continued incorporation of technology into our existing training courses, including IAP Software and Jetty from The Response Group.
  • New products added to IMT Gear.com.
  • And Much More! Stay Tuned…