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Certification Essay - Finalizing the Outline

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By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission

Last month we further refined our outline by expanding some of the sections with simple narratives and adding the last two design elements. However, we have one more step before we begin writing. So this month we will expand the necessary actions section of our outline, ensuring that we provide details for as many Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) and Design Elements as possible.

In our modified outline last month, the Necessary Actions section looked like this:

Necessary Actions (to achieve the objectives and solve the problem):

a. Prevention activities – safety, information sharing.
b. Preparedness activities – hazard analysis, plans, training, HSEEP.
c. Response activities – EOC, ICS, command and control.
d. Recovery activities – short-term (shelters & debris); long-term (recovery support functions).
e. Mitigation activities – THIRA and new plan.
f. Integrate codes, legislation, policies, etc.

Now we need to incorporate details that support our objectives and solve the problem we identified earlier. Recall that we identified our problem as an ineffective emergency management program and an out-of-date plan lacking an effective command and control structure. Our intended outcome was to have “an effective emergency management program that builds upon existing plans and structure, meets state and federal standards, and fixes the command and control structure.” Finally, we developed four objectives to achieve our intended outcome: (1) an updated integrated and comprehensive emergency management plan; (2) a tested command structure; (3) an HSEEP-compliant exercise program; and (4) a new mitigation plan.

Incorporating EM Standards

In the USA and Canada, NFPA 1600 provides the standards for an effective emergency management program, so we want our program to model those requirements. The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) can help too. In addition, CPG-101 v.2 “provides Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guidance on the fundamentals of planning and developing emergency operations plans (EOP). CPG 101 shows that EOPs are connected to planning efforts in the areas of prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.”
We also want to include provisions of the Stafford Act, at least for disaster declarations and FEMA reimbursements. The Homeland Security Act of 2002, various national and homeland security Presidential directives, National Response Framework, National Disaster Recovery Framework, state disaster acts, and local ordinances are applicable too. Incorporating these codes, legislation and policies ensures that our plan meets state and federal standards, as well as establishing the foundation of our effective emergency management program. In our narrative, we will expand on the concepts and connect them.

Command and Control

Next, we must fix our command and control structure. According to NIMS, an Incident Command System (ICS), Multiagency Coordination Systems (MACS), and Public Information are the fundamental elements of incident management.

Our plan will establish ICS as the standard to enable effective and efficient incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. We will train all executives, managers, and responders in NIMS/ICS and integrate NIMS and ICS principles into everyday response. Then to achieve our objectives of a “tested command and control structure,” it will be a top priority of our multi-year improvement plan under HSEEP.

Creating New Mitigation Plan

A new mitigation plan is our next step. After establishing our planning team, we need to conduct threat hazard identification and risk assessment (THIRA). Using the THIRA in public meetings, the team will draft the mitigation action plan according to FEMA’s Local Mitigation Planning Handbook. Once FEMA approves the plan, we can apply for pre-hazard mitigation and hazard mitigation planning grants.

The last step we must address are the material and financial resources necessary to achieve our objectives and desired outcome. Many of the activities discussed above will be managed by the office of emergency management and paid for through the annual budget. We will also seek volunteers to provide needed manpower and to build a bigger sense of community commitment, which should help improve resiliency. We will seek additional funding through various government grants as well as various foundations and the businesses associated with the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

We now have a plethora of ideas and supporting details, but they are not our essay. We must expand upon this information in narrative form to create our first draft. Notice that I said “first draft” and not “final product.” Know that the editing process almost always takes longer than it does to write the first draft. So next month, I will post our first draft on the CEM Corner web page. In the next CEM Corner article, we will edit the first draft.

IAEM Bulletin, May 2013

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