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The City of Powder Springs, Georgia is Officially BOLD (and Better Prepared) Country!

Yesterday, August 12, 2019, BOLDplanning conducted the Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan finalization meeting with the City of Powder Springs, Georgia. Attending the meeting (as pictured) were BOLDplanning representatives, Emily Long, and Brittney Whatley, CBCP; along with Mayor Albert Thurman; City Manager, Pam Conner, and Chief of Police, Tony Bailey.

The City’s COOP plan is now 100% complete. Congratulations on a job well done!

BOLDplanning Participates in Oklahoma Emergency Management Conference

Oklahoma is BOLD country this week, as the company is attending the annual Oklahoma Emergency Management Conference in the City of Norman. The conference, which is put on by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and Oklahoma Emergency Management Association (OEMA), runs August 11-15, 2019. It features two full days of training (August 11 and 12) and many highly engaging sessions on August 13 through 15.

Some of the topics to be covered during the conference include dam safety and floodplain management, cybersecurity, severe thunderstorms and tornadic events, and coordinating emergency alerts for evacuations. Governor Kevin Stitt will deliver the keynote address at 10:15 am CDT Tuesday morning.

BOLDplanning representative, John Taylor, CBCP, and Regional Director, FEMA Regions I, II, III and VI, will be on hand to discuss the emergency, continuity and mitigation planning needs of conference participants. He will also be providing demonstrations of the BOLDplanning.com platform, which is used by several clients across the State of Oklahoma, and across the country. John will be joined by company co-founder and CEO, Fulton Wold, CBCP.

If you’re among the many who are taking part in the OK EMA conference this week, stop by visit with John and Fulton during exhibit hours or between sessions. They would like nothing more than to meet with you, plus add your name to the drawing for a DJI® Spark Mini-Drone and flatscreen TV. Both items will be given away by BOLDplanning at the end of the conference. 

Hazard Mitigation Planning Kicks off in San Juan County, New Mexico

Like so many other locations across the country, it’s time for San Juan County, New Mexico, to update its Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). HMPs, as planners well know, have to be updated and approved by FEMA every five years. That is, if their county, city, or state is to remain eligible to receive certain types of pre-disaster, or mitigation, funding.

Knowing that the process of updating an HMP can be time-consuming, if not daunting, San Juan County looked for outside help and planning expertise. They chose long-time partner, BOLDplanning. The County has used the BOLDplanning.com platform for the development and maintenance of its Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) for years.

To kick things off for the HMP update, BOLDplanning representative, Brittney Whatley, CBCP, met with plan participants on Tuesday, August 6, 2019. Among those in attendance were folks from San Juan County, and the participating jurisdictions of the City of Aztec, the City of Bloomfield, the City of Farmington, and the Town of Kirtland. The next meeting (a mitigation planning team meeting) will take place in October or November 2019.

HMPs, as expressed by FEMA, are key to breaking the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage. In fact, the National Institute of Building Sciences now estimates that for every dollar invested in mitigation saves six dollars in prevented damages (up from four dollars in previous years). With an updated, FEMA-approved HMP, San Juan County should be better prepared for the hazards, natural and human-caused, it’s known to face.

BOLDplanning Returns to Prince George’s County, Maryland for COOP Refresher Workshops

The Prince George’s County (PGC) Office of Emergency Management recently hosted Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning “refresher” workshops for all county departments. BOLDplanning subject matter experts, James Woulfe, CBCP, and William Hogsten, facilitated the sessions. The workshops covered beginner to advanced COOP concepts, as well as the powerful reporting capability of the COOP tool within the BOLDplanning.com platform.  

Special thanks to Tyrone Wells and Alexandra Harris of PGC Office of Emergency Management for hosting the workshops and coordinating the overall COOP development program for the county.

Recent Release of National Health Security Preparedness Index Shows Improvements, Highlights Need for Ongoing Efforts

Recently, the Robert Wood May Foundation released the latest version of its National Health Security Preparedness Index. The Index includes 129 measures grouped into six broad domains:

  • Health Security Surveillance
  • Community Planning and Engagement
  • Information and Incident Management
  • Healthcare Delivery
  • Countermeasure Management
  • Environmental and Occupational Health

Results from the release indicate that security preparedness continued to improve in 2018, but still remain far from optimal. The national index reached 6.7 out of 10 in 2018, representing a 3.1 percent improvement over the prior year, and a 11.7 percent improvement since 2013.

According to the report, if current trends continue, the average state will require six additional years to reach health security levels currently found in the best-prepared states, and at least ten more years to reach a strong health security level of at least 9.0 out of 10.

The following are select key findings from the report:

  • Consistent Gains. The United States posted a sixth consecutive year of gains in health security nationally, with the Index reaching its highest level of 6.7 out of 10 in 2018.
  • Modest Improvement. The national index increased by two percentage points in 2018 from the prior year (3.1%), and by seven percentage points since 2013 (11.7%).
  • Inequities in Protection. The nation’s health protections are not distributed evenly across the United States. A gap of 25 percent in index values exists between the highest and lowest states (states in the South Central, Upper Mountain West, Pacific Coast and Midwest regions experienced significantly lower health security levels and smaller gains in health security over time compared to their counterparts in other regions).
  • Largest Gains: Distribution of Supplies and Equipment. The largest one-year gain in health security occurred in the Countermeasure Management domain, which rose by 8.3 percent in 2018 to reach a national average of 6.5. According to the report, the activities measured in this domain focus on “distributing protective supplies and equipment to the people and places that experience hazardous events.” Health security has improved by 16.1 percent since 2013 in this domain.
  • A Downturn in Community Engagement. Performance in this domain declined moderately in 2018 to 5.2. Previously, this domain showed large gains in health security, increasing by 17.8% between 2013 and 2017 to reach a national average of 5.3.
  • Core Strength: Managing Acute Phases of Emergencies. Health security levels remained highest in the Incident and Information Management domain. Health security in this domain reached 8.7 in 2018, significantly higher than any other domain (1.2 percent higher than the previous year’s score).
  • Health Care Preparedness Lags Behind. Health security levels remained lowest in the Healthcare Delivery domain, which reflects the ability of health care professionals and facilities to maintain high-quality medical care during and after emergency events.

The index offered a number of recommended strategies for improving health security. In general, these recommendations centered on developing cross-functional relationships, creating multi-layered preparedness plans and compiling shared data sources. In short—effective management of complex relationships and resources to combat an ever-changing landscape of threats.

Improving health security is a worthwhile national goal. Though changes are slow to materialize, indexes such as this illustrate improvements are being made. Here’s encouragement to keep up the fight on a daily basis to continuously improve the planning and response practices in our industry.

BOLDplanning Facilitates COOP Tabletop Exercise for Oregon State Treasury

After months of preparation and a series of workshops, the planning efforts of the Oregon State Treasury culminated with a Continuity of Operations (COOP) Tabletop Exercise (TTX) on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. The exercise, which complied with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) principles, revolved around an ice storm scenario. It was specifically designed to meet the following four core (communication and operational coordination capabilities in a business disruption:

  • Demonstrate the ability to alert and activate personnel, facilities, and systems required to respond to an incident
  • Identify and discuss communications gaps and solution alternatives during an incident
  • Identify and discuss the organization’s structure, identify processes and challenges in the event key staff are unavailable
  • Identify and discuss key authorities the agency has and who is potentially responsible to take over when the primary is unavailable

The COOP TTX was facilitated by Tennessee-based BOLDplanning, namely company representative, Matt Eyer, PMP, CHS-V, CBCP. Over 20 people were in attendance, including Treasurer Reed and key staff, for the two and a half hour long exercise.

Congratulations on a successful exercise, Oregon State Treasury, and thank you for working so diligently to ensure the availability of essential services to the State’s estimated 4.2 million residents!

BOLDplanning Conducts Mid-Term COOP Planning Workshops in Wayne County, NY

Last week, BOLDplanning was on the road yet again. Among the company’s stops was Wayne County, New York. There, BOLDplanning representatives, Cathleen Atchison, MEP, PCP, and Chad Bowers, CBCP (and BOLDplanning co-founder), led two full days of Mid-term COOP Planning Workshops. The two were accompanied by BOLDplanning newcomer, Rich McCarty.

The visit ended with a Kick-off Meeting for the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) update project. BOLDplanning will return to Wayne County, New York, in October, when it helps take the County’s planning programs to the next level. Until then, keep planning, keep improving, and keep thinking ahead!

BOLDplanning Conducts COOP Plan Finalization Workshops in Powder Springs, Georgia

In just a matter of eight months, the City of Powder Springs, Georgia, has developed, honed, and now, nearly wrapped up its Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan.

Last week, BOLDplanning representative, Will Minkoff, CBCP, traveled to the City to conduct a day of COOP Plan Finalization Workshops. These workshops involved nearly every planner in the City, and each one-on-one session was attended by not only the Chief of Police but the City Manager as well.

Bravo to the City of Powder Springs for making COOP planning a priority! And, of course, for making BOLDplanning feel so very welcome.

It’s Time to Test the Nationwide Emergency Alert System Again

On Wednesday, August 7, 2019, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The nationwide test will be sent to radio and television stations beginning at 2:20 p.m. EDT. It will not include a message on cell phones via the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system.

Per FEMA, the upcoming test will evaluate the readiness of the national alerting capability in the absence of internet connectivity. The test will be approximately one minute long, have a limited impact on the public with only minor interruption of radio and television programs, and will be similar to regular monthly EAS tests. Both the audio message and text crawl should be accessible to people with disabilities.

The nationwide EAS test, as always, is being conducted through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The test message will originate from designated radio stations, known as Primary Entry Point (PEP) stations, which participate in a component of IPAWS called the National Public Warning System. All other radio and television stations, cable, wireline service providers, and direct broadcast satellite service providers should subsequently receive and broadcast the test message.

The August 7, 2019 test will be the fifth EAS nationwide test. The first took place in November 2011, and the second and third were conducted in September 2016 and 2017 respectively. The fourth and last test, which included a WEA message on cell phones, was performed in October 2018. You might recall it was postponed from September 20, 2018 due to the ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

As a follower/client of BOLDplanning, you may also know that the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Rick Wimberly, is an expert on the topic of IPAWS and WEA. In fact, he played an integral role during its nationwide adoption, and continues to provide insight on the subject throughout the public safety community today. When asked about the upcoming test, Rick said, “A nationwide test of the Emergency Alert Systems is crucial to ensuring the country’s public alerting capabilities are working as planned. The test is another step towards developing a national culture of preparedness.”

On behalf of everyone at BOLDplanning, kudos to FEMA, the FCC, and the many emergency planners and public safety professionals who have worked together to coordinate the August 7, 2019 test. We hope it goes well!

Free BOLDplanning Alert Notification Procedures Webinar

Communication is critical to effective preparedness and recovery. Join BOLDplanning for a free 30-minute webinar on alert notification procedures within the BOLDplanning online platform.

During this free, 30-minute session, you’ll learn:
• The importance of establishing notification methods
• Best practices for defining and managing alerts
• How to use BOLDplanning’s online software platform to effectively alert key stakeholders

Sign up now for this concise but informative learning event!

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019
2:00 PM CDT
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