Edited Version of July 8, 1998
EIIP Classroom Online Presentation
Emergency Education NETwork
Producer, Emergency Education NETwork
FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI)
Chief of Support Systems Branch, Training Division
FEMA's Preparedness Directorate
The original transcript of the July 8, 1998 online Virtual Classroom presentation is available on the EIIP Virtual Forum (http://www.emforum.org). The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussions, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.
Avagene Moore: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Classroom! We are very pleased to have everyone here today. Our topic today is the Emergency Education NETwork (EENET).
When we are ready for questions from the audience, I will alert everyone and give you the rules of order for indicating you have a question for our speakers.
We will interview our speakers to give an overview of our topic today. This will take about 30 minutes; the remainder of the hour will be for Q&A with you, the audience.
We are honored to introduce our special guests today:
Bruce Marshall is Chief of the Support Systems Branch in the Training Division of FEMA's Preparedness Directorate.
Carole Eiben is a producer for EENET, the Emergency Education NETwork, at FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI).
My questions will be directed to Carole but Bruce will add his comments as we go along. Thanks to both of you for joining us today.
Avagene Moore: Our first question to Carole is --- what is the Emergency Education NETwork?
Carole Eiben: EENET, FEMA's Emergency Education NETwork, brings training and educational TV programs to emergency management officials across the country. It's a distance learning tool that enables us to provide training to virtually any community via satellite.
EENET has offered programs on a wide variety of topics including: hurricane preparedness, assessment, donations management, and urban search and rescue techniques. Many of our programs are interactive, that is, viewers can call in to ask questions and participate in the broadcast.
Avagene Moore: How long has EENET been in existence?
Carole Eiben: EENET began in 1981 as a videoconferencing project in conjunction with the Children's Television Workshop to provide a fire safety education program for preschools in Alaska. Now, EENET provides about 45 of programming a year to the entire public safety community.
Avagene Moore: How does EENET work?
Carole Eiben: EENET broadcasts via satellite over both C-Band and Ku-Band to reach the broadest audience possible. We provide a schedule of upcoming broadcasts on our web site <htttp://www.fema.gov/emi/eenet.htm> and to a mailing list of over 13,000.
The schedule includes a description of the broadcast, and the satellite coordinates to tune in to. Since all shows are in the public domain, they are free to anyone interested in watching.
Avagene Moore: Where do the broadcasts originate?
Carole Eiben: Most broadcasts originate from our TV studio at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, MD.
Avagene Moore: Is it possible to broadcast from sites other than FEMA NETC?
Carole Eiben: We have aired from many other locations. For example, last month we broadcast a program simultaneously from Witchita, Virginia Beach, and from our Emmitsburg studio. The show focussed on creative partnerships and included a live demonstration of an Urban Search and Rescue drill.
Avagene Moore: What is required to take advantage of EENET broadcasts?
Carole Eiben: Anyone with a movable (not fixed) satellite dish can receive EENET broadcasts. Viewing sites typically include: State Emergency Management Offices, local government, fire departments, hospitals, businesses, universities, and private homes.
Many cablevision systems also air our broadcasts. Local community access channels in many areas also offer our programs. Since our broadcasts are in the public domain, they may be taped and used over and over again.
Also, we provide copies of all our broadcasts to FEMA Regional offices and to the State Training Officer in each State. Many of them loan these tapes out as part of a lending library of training resources.
Avagene Moore: How many people does EENET reach each year?
Carole Eiben: It's hard to know exactly how many viewers are watching--we don't have Nielsen ratings for our programs. But there is quite an interest in our programs based on our regular mailing list and our new electronic mailing list (which is accessible through our web site). We estimate annual viewing audiences to number in the hundreds of thousands.
Avagene Moore: Who is the audience?
Carole Eiben: Our audience includes emergency responders (fire fighters, EMTs, search and rescue teams), emergency managers and trainers, law, emergency officials is about 50,000. About two-thirds of the viewers surveyed are trainers, mainly from State and local government, as you might expect. But our potential audience is much larger, 31 million--this includes the general public.
Avagene Moore: How are the topics and broadcasts determined?
Carole Eiben: Many of the topics are developed by the training staff here at the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). Other ideas come up as individuals see a need to reach a large audience and need an alternative to bringing folks in for traditional classroom training. Many ideas come from local folks.
We use videos that are produced by local fire departments and municipalities on our monthly National Alert broadcasts. Often they know a lot about local training needs and can share their experiences with others.
Avagene Moore: How much time does it take to produce a broadcast?
Carole Eiben: Production time can vary quite a bit. Most shows that involve several panelists and pre-recorded segments at various locations can take several months of lead time. Other shows can be put together in just a few weeks.
Avagene Moore: If someone has an idea for a broadcast, is it possible to submit a topic or script to EENET?
Carole Eiben: Yes, we encourage people to suggest topics they'd like to know more about. We're always looking for ways to learn more about training needs at State and local levels. We've added a Feedback page to our web site so that people can give us comments about broadcasts they've seen or ideas for future shows.
Avagene Moore: What is the vision for the EENET of the future?
Carole Eiben: The EENET of the Year 2000 will offer weekly programming and more. We're working to expand both the quality and quantity of our broadcasts. We want to continue to complement the classroom instruction offered here at EMI. And, we plan to bring live video of disaster responders in action, like Federal Coordinating Officers and others, straight into the classroom when possible to give students a hands-on perspective.
Avagene Moore: What type of technological advances do you see impacting future broadcasts?
Carole Eiben: There are many things that will have an impact on our broadcasts in the near future. Digital TV and video streaming are two that come to mind quickly. We've experimented with video streaming successfully through several shows for the Dept. of Transportation. Video streaming allows people to watch video on their PCs. It also allows viewing on demand, typically for up to 30 days after a program airs live. This offers us great potential in reaching a larger audience who can "tune in" at their own convenience.
Avagene Moore: Would you like to take a moment to publicize any upcoming broadcasts?
Carole Eiben: We've got several broadcasts coming up that participants may be interested in. National Alert airs the 3rd Wednesday of each month. The next National Alert will air on July 15...
Avagene Moore: Bruce, can you jump in here and finish up the upcoming broadcasts?
There is one on July 29, I believe.
BB Marshall: Carole will continue the lists. But while she logs back on, let me tell you about some new EENET initiatives also.
Avagene Moore: Great.
BB Marshall: We have received permission from the Home and Garden TV Network (a cablevision provider) to replay a series of six (6) broadcasts they did (with FEMA's help) about disaster-proofing your home.
And we are working with the American Society of Civil Engineers to broadcast, this year and next, a series of engineering (and "public works") seminars for them, with college credits and ceu's attached.
Carole Eiben: To continue with our July Schedule.
On July 29, we've got a broadcast on Stress Threats in Emergency Operations which looks at the effects of stress on emergency management personnel and ways to manage stress.
July 30, there will be a town hall broadcast on the Radiological Emergency Preparedness program.
And August 4, is the next in our series, "Classroom Connection: Your Tie to EMI." This edition features Mike Stevers of Salt Lake City talking about mass care and sheltering issues in a terrorist event.
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Carole and Bruce. We would like to open the floor for Q&A at this point, but first, To keep order, please input a question mark (?) to indicate you wish to ask a question of one of our speakers. Oops, Carole is gone again.
Compose your question but hold it until you are recognized, then hit Send or Enter. If we run out of time in the Classroom, you will have an opportunity to ask your question back in the Virtual Forum at the close of the formal hour with Carole and Bruce. If you have a question, please indicate now and as soon as Carole or Bruce log back in, we will let you submit it. Input a ? if you have a question.
Amy Sebring: Here is the address for the page to subscribe to the EENET mailing list <http://www.fema.gov/cgi-shl/mail_sc/eenet_mlist1.cfm>
David King: I had tried getting copies of the Home and Garden series from HGTV, they didn't have them available, Will we be be able to copy it off EENET legally?
BB Marshall: No, it remains copyrighted by HGTV, but we WILL be repeating the broadcasts.
Carole Eiben: Bruce has been working on that. Anything we broadcast is in the public.
Amy Sebring: Is there an index somewhere of previously aired programs?
Carole Eiben: Yes, we've got a listing of prior shows. Available upon request. You can contact, Sue Downin, EENET Exec. Producer at (301) 447-1073. The listing also includes National Alert topics.
Avagene Moore: Carole, can Sue be reached by email?
Carole Eiben: Yes, <Sue.Downin@fema.gov>
Avagene Moore: Thanks. Other questions, please. Amy.
Amy Sebring: How far off is the streaming video and have you considered doing just the audio portion, that is streaming audio only?
Carole Eiben: We've only used it through DOT as a pilot so far, but plan to do it with the July 30 show. As for the audio only, we hadn't considered that, but it's a good idea. Thanks.
BB Marshall: Ava, while we're waiting for more questions, let me touch on a slightly different topic: EENET, while the "flagship" of EMI's distance learning program, is only one deployment method. We are working to integrate others; Independent Study, the Internet, etc. Gary Chase, who also is in the Chat, is the developer of a new EMI resident course on "Alternate Deployment Mechanisms". Good course, covers it all, ya'all come! Keep going, Ava.
Avagene Moore: I have a question for one or both of you. Has any consideration been given to making the EENET broadcasts available via some channel on a regular basis on cable?
Carole Eiben: Bruce will take that one.
BB Marshall: Absolutely. We're working in that direction right now with the FEMA Chief of Staff. It needs a lot of things, including a constant and full-time programming schedule, and a FEMA satellite transponder. But, in 3-5 years, who knows? It is our goal, however!
Avagene Moore: That sounds good. Amy, your question.
Amy Sebring: Do you expect to be featuring some Project Impact efforts during the coming year?
BB Marshall: Most definitely! We are working with the Mitigation Directorate on several programs, and we often have Project Impact subjects on National Alert broadcasts.
Avagene Moore: Bruce, how much effort has been made to broadcast just for children?
Preparedness topics for children?
Carole Eiben: Bruce said, "so many audiences, so little time"
BB Marshall: I'm back. Same issue. We can be providing programming into school systems.
Avagene Moore: Carole, can you answer my question about preparedness broadcasts for children and schools?
Carole Eiben: Yes, historically with USFA--K-12 remains a fertile ground for development. We've also included several segments on National Alert on Children's Safety issues. A few of those were produced at the local level.
Avagene Moore: Seems to me the school audience would be a good one to teach EM life skills.
BB Marshall: Yeah, they really are a good learning audience, and can impact what happens at home! By the way, Carole not only works behind the EENET scenes, but she also works on-camera. Watch the next National Alert to see her in action!
Avagene Moore: Will look for Carole. Good idea, Amy. Does anyone have topic suggestions for Bruce and Carole? Something that hasn't been broadcast before?
BB Marshall: Or even needs to be broadcast again.
Isabel McCurdy: Being Canadian, any obstacles accessing these programs?
BB Marshall: None at all. Our satellite footprint extends well into Canada and Mexico, and into the Caribbean. We have even heard from viewers in Australia and the Middle East when some satellite companies have "repeated" our signals.
Carole Eiben: Isabel, is there something similar to EENET in Canada?
Isabel McCurdy: No.
Carole Eiben: Check out our web site to get on our electronic mailing list, Isabel.
Isabel McCurdy: I'll do that, thanks.
David King: Is it possible to get a list of what will be on the National Alert Broadcasts, specific topics in advance?
Amy Sebring: There is a download Word file at the bottom of this page, David. <http://www.fema.gov/emi/eenet.htm> Also a text file.
David King: What I've seen in the past on the advance material, including website, hasn't had the topics listed; maybe that's changed.
Avagene Moore: Ron, you can send your question but may have to repeat it. We have lost Carole and Bruce at the moment.
Ron Brittan: My question just got answered - Web site.
Avagene Moore: Good! I am sorry the FEMA folks are having so much trouble today.
I appreciate their effort when there are problems like this.
Amy Sebring: Avagene -- if it is OK with EMI, I will try to get the index file and post it for download with the transcripts and background info.
Avagene Moore: That's a good idea, Amy. We will ask them about that. Bruce is back online.
BB Marshall: Sorry, David. We post the topics on the Internet Homepage for EENET. July's schedule currently is in there.
Isabel McCurdy: I missed the beginning, did anyone mention the costs for the programs?
BB Marshall: No costs.
Avagene Moore: One more question or comment before we wrap it up today?
BB Marshall: Ava?
Avagene Moore: Yes, Bruce.
BB Marshall: Aside from getting "booted out", it's been fun!
Avagene Moore: Thanks, you have been very patient. Our time is up for the day. Thanks to Carole Eiben and Bruce Marshall for their presentation. Thanks to the audience for joining us to learn about EENET.
Join us tomorrow night for the "Mutual Aid" session at 8:00 PM EDT. Bring your ideas and issues and we will share in an informal manner for one hour Thursday evening.
We can now move to the Virtual Forum and express our thanks informally to Bruce and Carole. Thanks to all!
Carole Eiben: Thanks for your patience with our technical difficulties!
BB Marshall: Ditto!
Avagene Moore: We thank you. Please move to the Virtual Forum!!
Break: Further Discussions and Questions in the Virtual Forum Room
Amy Sebring: Good job! Carole. You just kept on coming back.
Carole Eiben: Thanks--rough going there for a bit!!
Avagene Moore: Carole, you aced the chatting! Thanks to you and Bruce.
Isabel McCurdy: <clap, clap>
Amy Sebring: Both of you did a great job. This will be a very good transcript.
Avagene Moore: Good session and good information. Yes, it will be a good transcript.
BB Marshall: Good. Hope it sells, Amy!
Avagene Moore: We are glad to publicize your efforts at EENET.
Carole Eiben: Appreciate all your help in getting the word out about our shows.
Avagene Moore: Yes, it is an educational process, one step at a time. "Build it and they will come" is our motto.
Amy Sebring: Even if you have to drag them to it.
Avagene Moore: Yes, we do our fair share of dragging.
Amy Sebring: I think the audio would be a good idea, Carole, video still takes a pretty good computer on the client end. Also, can listen to it like radio while I am working.
Carole Eiben: Yes, I'm not sure how much of the visual content would be lost for true "training" programs, though. Yes, the convenience of at one's desk can't be beat.
Amy Sebring: I think being able to get the audio might even help generate interest in acquiring the video also.
Carole Eiben: Agreed, Amy.
BB Marshall: Ava, why not help us do a National Alert segment on EIPP? We need to get more folk involved in the chat group.
Avagene Moore: Sure thing, Bruce. What, how, when?
Amy Sebring: Fantastic Bruce. Could be part of a technology in EM type segment, perhaps.
Avagene Moore: We are game if you guys are.
BB Marshall: Ava, call me tomorrow about National Alert!
Avagene Moore: Will do, Bruce. Thanks!
BB Marshall: Amy, we also are looking at putting Independent Study programs on audio cassettes, to listen to in the car, etc.
Avagene Moore: Good idea, Bruce. I am signed up for all the new IS programs from EMI, wherever.
Amy Sebring: Good idea, Bruce. Maybe under my pillow while I sleep!
Carole Eiben: Ava, do you track how many people access transcripts after these sessions?
Avagene Moore: Basically, we know how many people access the chat archives; not that they download or print them. Good traffic in that area. Many people do download and print. Bye Bruce.
Carole Eiben: Thanks! I guess we're all done. Talk to you soon.
Avagene Moore: I will send you the transcript when it is done.