Edited Version of November 4, 1998
EIIP Classroom Online Presentation
"Senior Officials' Workshop:
Preparedness and Response for Terrorist Incidents"
Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, Maryland
The original unedited transcript of the November 4, 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! One quick note about any URL's that may be used in the session; they are live links and you can click on them and view the referenced site in your browser window.
Our topic today is the "Senior Officials Workshop: Preparedness and Response for Terrorist Incidents." We have two special guests with us today, Dennis Hickethier and Timothy Campbell.
Dennis Hickethier is an Education Specialist, Emergency Management Institute, Emmitsburg, Maryland. He is the coordinator for the FEMA Master Trainer Program, and the Project Officer for EMI efforts to place EMI publications and training material on the Internet World Wide Web.
Dennis also develops training courses and serves as the Training Division representative for the Corrective Action Program Support System. Dennis is very involved in distance education initiatives at EMI and was instrumental in the development of EMI's first computer-based multimedia exercise simulation, using video and audio formats.
Dennis has been very supportive of EIIP Virtual Forum efforts and has been a speaker and participant in the Virtual Forum on several occasions.
Timothy Campbell is a consultant on public safety communications, fire and EMS operations, hazardous materials team response and emergency management. The Pennsylvania State Fire School certifies him, to instruct Incident Command, Essentials of Fire-fighting, Volunteer Fire Management and Hazardous Materials First Responder Awareness and Operations. He is an EPA certified Hazardous Materials Technician.
Tim served as Director of Emergency Services for Chester County, Pennsylvania from 1978 to 1997.
He lectures at the Emergency Management Institute, serves as Emergency Program Manager controller for Integrated Emergency Management Courses, and is part of the National Fire Academy course focus group for Fire Service Fiscal Management.
He presently serves on course development teams for IEMC-Response and Mitigation (EMI) and Emergency Response to Terrorism-Incident Management (NFA). He is involved in the course development and pilot delivery of the Nunn-Lugar-Dominici Senior Officials' Policy Workshop on Weapons of Mass Destruction.
After Dennis and Tim discuss the Sr. Officials' Workshop, we will have a Q&A session. I will review how we keep order in the Forum prior to the Q&A.
We are very pleased to have both of you with us today, Dennis and Tim. Dennis, I turn the floor to you at this time.
Dennis Hickethier: Thank you Avagene. It is a pleasure to have this opportunity to talk about the Senior Officials' Workshop: Preparedness and Response for Terrorist Incidents (involving nuclear, biological and chemical agents). The official title is quite long so I'll refer to it as the SOW or workshop for ease of typing.
The original development of the workshop was a joint effort between DOD, FEMA, FBI, and the Department of Health and Human Services. I served as the project officer for the course development. The workshop was developed as one of the eight courses that DOD conducts for the 120 cities designated to receive Domestic Preparedness training under the Nunn-Lugar-Dominici legislation.
We contracted with Human Technology, Inc. for the development because they have created many courses for us and know the preparedness and response business. Although the target audience is the Mayor and/or City Manager plus members of the Mayor's cabinet (department heads), the early analysis indicated that a 6-7 hour period of time was needed to be effective.
The morning session deals with awareness and understanding policy issues. The afternoon session provides for a tabletop exercise, using a chemical release at a shopping mall in the city.
The workshop was pilot-tested in Columbus, OH and Boston, MA, although Boston would not provide time to conduct the afternoon exercise. We used two instructors that regularly teach in our Integrated Emergency Management Courses and had good success.
The workshop materials were finalized and turned over to DOD in March of this year and they have conducted the workshop about 20 times since, using instructors that "tried-out" and were approved by DOD.
In the meantime, we contracted to have additional information added to the Instructor Guide and Exercise Guide so cities not in the designated 120 could conduct the course as a Workshop in Emergency Management, using other qualified instructors.
These materials are now available on the FEMA website at: <http://www.fema.gov/EMI/g250ws_f.htm> and all State Training Officers have been notified of this. The videotape used for the workshop will be available on loan from the State Training Officers. We encourage all cities to make good use of the materials.
I've used up my time so now I would like to give Tim Campbell a chance to communicate his experiences with the workshop. Tim was an instructor for the pilot offerings, he worked on the course material revisions, and is one of the current DOD instructors for the workshop. It's your turn Tim!
Tim Campbell: Hello everyone. I'd like to review the instructional situation we found ourselves with in the two pilots and the experiences that I had teaching in the present program. I will close with the issues that had to be included in the rewrite for the package available on the FEMA web site.
As Dennis said, this Workshop is a policy level class. The audience is suppose to be major department heads with experience on letting subordinate staff handle operational matters. Yet, we had to take extreme care to keep people focused on policy. There were cases, especially during the exercise portion but also in the lecture sessions, when people would get very hands on and tactical.
We had to reiterate that there were staff on the scene that would take care of the tactical issues. This seems to be an across the board concern since I have had to deal with it in later presentations. Even very experienced personnel can become focused on small issues during a drill. The instructors have to keep the students up in policy level issues.
The program seems to have more impact with non-public safety agency officials. The emergency services have thought about Weapons of Mass Destruction issues already. The others may not have seen themselves and their departmental employees as anything other than victims of such events.
The rewrite had to take into consideration that there would not be a small cadre of instructors, presently only 9 in number, presenting the course; unlike the Domestic Preparedness Program.
There had to be more background information and guidance for the course manager and the instructor. Additionally, the course would not be presented with personnel from other federal and state agencies present to explain their roles and field questions. References and a more structured process had to be added.
I'll turn things back over for questions. Back to you, Avagene.
Avagene Moore: Dennis, do you have anything you wish to add before we do Q&A?
Dennis Hickethier: No, let's take the questions.
Avagene Moore: If not, let me give some instructions. Thank you, Dennis and Tim. If you have a question or comment for either speaker, please indicate by inputting a question mark (?) to the chat screen. Please compose your question while waiting to be recognized; hold until the moderator indicates it is your turn to speak, then send your question to the screen. First question, please.
Amy Sebring: Can you give us a sample of some of the policy issues addressed?
Tim Campbell: There are issues dealing with the community employees and their families that must be addressed. In addition, there are issues dealing with the economic impact on the city of the attack. Each has different policy implications that must be addressed. Example of a simple one is the issue of letting people go home in clothing that was worn during an event even if not contaminated.
Dennis Hickethier: One issue is the policy on decontaminating people, separating them, handling their jewelry, having them disrobe.
Larry Rice: Tim or Dennis - Do you have to be a city official to attend this class? I work for a company with worldwide operations. These policies could help in putting a reaction plan together.
Dennis Hickethier: We are making the materials available to State and local personnel specifically, but anyone can take and use the materials to assist them in their preparedness activities.
Tim Campbell: The course for the Domestic Preparedness is focused on city officials. The rewrite allows for a more diverse student body.
Dennis Hudson: Are most of these issues of a preparedness or pre-planning nature? Can you give an example of the decision process during the actual event?
Tim Campbell: The SOW focuses on broad policy issues with the idea that they will be addressed during planning. There is a need for accompanying responder training and the Domestic Preparedness program offers that. It is here that command level issues are raised. The interfaces where command would occur between federal and local officials is reviewed as a common pathway. However, the SOW does stay focused on the "this what can happen" and this is how you might plan to reduce its affects.
Amy Sebring: What are some of the typical responses/questions you get from students?
Tim Campbell: They are divided between those that have thought about it and those that haven't. Those that have seem to want confirmation of the degree of impact/probability in their community. This is why it is helpful to have supporting agencies there since the instructors are not intelligence agents.
Those that have not thought about it seem to need to hear what was presented over again to confirm that it is what they just heard. They seem to be the ones that hold their real questions for breaks and after class. Kinds of questions have ranged from " Some one will prevent this" to "Why bother".
Dennis Hickethier: Another question is "What equipment is the government going to give us to deal with this?"
Lee Smith: Does the course address the interface of State and Local and State and Federal as a part of policy-making?
Dennis Hickethier: Absolutely, that is the cornerstone of the course. We stress the interface between local, State, and Federal agencies, as well as involvement of the FEMA regional staff.
Tim Campbell: The course presents the points at which interface should occur and discusses the need for this to be effective and planned, and on a regular basis.
Amy Sebring: What additional course plans in this area do you have for future, Dennis? I understand FEMA will be taking on more responsibility?
Dennis Hickethier: As you may know FEMA has a National Security Affairs office now but there are not any additional training programs planned that I am aware of at this time.
Dennis Hudson: Can you give us some examples of substantial policy changes made by the beta sites as a result of this program?
Dennis Hickethier: It is mostly to deal with policy and coordination issues. I am not aware of any, but Columbus indicated that they needed to do some review of their procedures. Tim.
Tim Campbell: One site has agreed to go into a joint city/county EOC This was not on the table as far as I know when we were there.
Dennis Hickethier: This is a difficult question to answer, since we don't often go back and see what changed.
Tim Campbell: Another has indicated that they were able to focus on their needs and settle issues outstanding quickly after the SOW.
Cindy Rice: All important question.... is there any funding from ANY source for putting this class on (dollars extremely limited in state emergency management budgets)?
Dennis Hickethier: It is my understanding that States are again receiving funding for terrorism training and it will be up to them to determine how to use the funds. I don't know the exact amounts but they should be the same as last fiscal year.
Larry Rice: Since I am neither a state or local official how can I get in on one of these classes?
Dennis Hickethier: You would need to contact or find a city that is planning to conduct the training (check with the State) and see if they would allow you to attend as an observer. Or get a group together who would benefit from the training and conduct a course.
Tim Campbell: Let me make it clear that the private industry equivalent to their student audience is the executive committee /dept head level.
Lee Smith: Will there be a central clearinghouse for tracking grant approvals to the locals from Federal Sources, or will the states be a part of that process? Realize this question may be beyond the scope of this forum.
Tim Campbell: No idea.
Dennis Hickethier: That is handled by other staff and I can not give you an answer.
Isabel McCurdy: Can foreign individuals, e.g. I am a Canadian, take this course, or is it limited to United States citizens only?
Dennis Hickethier: If a Canadian city wants to use the materials to conduct the course, that would be great, and you could attend. Otherwise I don't know how you could attend a course. Realize though that the course focuses on US government interfaces and that would be different in Canada.
Avagene Moore: Dennis and Tim: From your experience, what is needed across the board as far as terrorism training at local level?
Dennis Hickethier: Tim.
Tim Campbell: First a needs/risk assessment should be held of the threat. From that the specific training needs can be established.
They generally will include training in the differences from normal operations into the terrorism world, such as SWAT team issues, EOC staff issues. The Domestic Preparedness program has classes for hospital ER staff, EMS staff, First Responders awareness, 1st response Operations Hazmat teams and Incident Commanders. I also feel that PIO's need more training.
Amy Sebring: Is a vulnerability or hazards assessment part of this process? And how would you go about doing that kind of assessment, Tim?
Tim Campbell: Yes. You start by identifying the groups in the community that could pose a threat. Then you ID the targets that they might like to use. Then you assess your capability to handle each threat or action. Then you ID shortfalls. Then you decide how to fill those needs. Sound familiar. Anyone ?????
Dennis Hudson: Often, the largest non-governmental participation in a disaster is the medical component (hospitals, etc). Are senior level health care providers included in the standard group for this course?
Dennis Hickethier: Yes, can you give some examples, Tim?
Tim Campbell: Yes, if the city ID's the health agency as one to be involved. Public Health agencies, Hospital Councils, Environmental Health have all been seen in the class.
Lee Smith: Do you have a schedule of cities currently planning this training?
Tim Campbell: The schedule for the 120 cities is handled by the US Army's Domestic Preparedness Program.
Dennis Hickethier: Only those scheduled by DOD. No other cities have scheduled the training that I know of since the materials have just become available to the public.
Amy Sebring: We might expect environmental consequences as well, I would think. Are these addressed in the course?
Dennis Hickethier: To a limited degree. We ask officials to consider what would happen if a building becomes contaminated and needs to be destroyed and to consider other environmental impacts, but don't provide specifics since they will vary greatly.
Tim Campbell: Everything including environmental is handled in very general terms. There is only 3-3.5 hours of classroom time.
Dennis Hudson: If you were tasked with creating a follow-up program to this course, what would it include?
Dennis Hickethier: The follow-up is really the series of courses that DOD offers under the Domestic Preparedness Program. So I would guess that cities would want courses similar to those. What do you think, Tim?
Tim Campbell: Another review of policy issues and another drill. This course seems to reach people that do not really worry about preparedness normally.
Cindy Rice: Does this deal also with the fact that command may be taken out of everyone's hands if it is a multi-site or multi-state hazard and that some federal agency might then be in charge ( will they work along the guidelines presented in this class?)? Example, recent anthrax mail scare.
Dennis Hickethier: We discuss Consequence Management and Crisis Management and who is responsible for different actions and how everyone works together. Tim.
Tim Campbell: The course addresses the fact that their event may be part of a series of attacks and that everyone must be part of our nation's team. Teamwork is stressed throughout and the value of working all of this out ahead of time. Often this is the message added to the class by the local representative of various federal agencies observing the class.
Larry Rice: Why couldn't this course be extended to cover a couple of days since there is so much material that needs to be covered?
Dennis Hickethier: We are lucky to get this group of high level officials for the 6.5 hours we have scheduled. DOD is looking to revise the course to shorten the time.
Tim Campbell: Most of the cities do not even want to give up the one day. Many have asked for just the exercise or just the classroom.
Jose Musse: When being so spread the information, it is possible the terrorist group can use it against System?
Dennis Hickethier: Not anymore than they can use other information available to the public.
Tim Campbell: The information includes nothing that is not already public and nothing that is sensitive. There is nothing that a situation assessment team on either our or their side could not come up with quickly.
Lee Smith: The issue of time is a good one. What products do the officials return to their "normal" jobs to use?
Tim Campbell: Don't understand question?
Lee Smith: I know. What product do they bring back to their normal workplace?
Amy Sebring: Do they have materials to take back with them, is that what you are asking, Lee?
Lee Smith: Thank you.
Tim Campbell: There is no product other than an awareness of WMD issues and their need to be prepared to carry out their role in a response.
There is a student manual and some other classroom material. Which is all on the web site.
Dennis Hickethier: And a checklist for future actions.
Lee Smith: I was wondering whether or not they had an opportunity to actually look at/work their own plans as a part of the workshops?
Tim Campbell: These materials are all generic and must be tailored for use in their community. They are encouraged to bring them but I have only once seen any one look at them.
Dennis Hudson: Thank you both for a great session. I am still curious about what feedback you've gotten from the first 22 cities that have participated?
Dennis Hickethier: The two pilots provided a good, positive response.
I have not seen the feedback from the other cities, but generally hear good things.
Tim Campbell: Feedback is given to the course management team as part of the ongoing program. Some of it is on the Domestic Preparedness web site.
Amy Sebring: Dennis, would you please put up the EMI URL again for anyone who might have missed it?
Dennis Hickethier: Check the course materials available at: <http://www.fema.gov/EMI/g250ws_f.htm>.
Avagene Moore: Thanks Dennis and Tim. Very good information and discussion.
Want to remind everyone that tomorrow night, Thursday Nov 5, 8:00 PM EST, is the WEBEX online hazmat exercise. You are invited to observe this event in the VFRE web site <http://www.vfre.com>.
See WEBEX background materials at <http://www.vfre.com/presentation5>
Next week, on Tuesday 11/10/98, the Round Table discussion will be lead by Janet Dilling, CEM, IAEM International Development Committee Chair to emphasize our emergency management professionals around the world. This session will be live from the IAEM Conference in Norfolk, Virginia.
Wednesday 11/11/98, the Virtual Library features Dr. Thomas Schmidlin, Kent University. Dr. Schmidlin will present his research on factors that contributed to the deaths that occurred in Florida due to the February '98 killer tornadoes.
Our time is up in the Virtual Classroom. Dennis and Tim, thank you for your insight into today's topic. Any closing remarks?
Dennis Hickethier: Thank you all for participating. Spread the word.
Avagene Moore: We will move to the Virtual Forum at this time. The Virtual Classroom is adjourned for today!