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Interoperability and Collaborative Emergency Management

Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012

Emergency Management effectiveness can be optimized through effective interoperability, the ability for diverse organizations to work together for a greater good. Interoperable communication and coordination with local agencies can provide additional support to a facility in the midst of an emergency. Coordinating planning, training, drills, and resource availability with local agencies and responders is an important aspect of an effective environmental, health and safety program.

The Department of Homeland Security identifies 5 elements that can improve emergency response interoperability.

  • Obtain leadership commitment from all disciplines (EMS, Fire, and Police Departments.
  • Foster collaboration across disciplines through leadership support.
  • Interface with policy makers to gain leadership commitment and resource support.
  • Establish relationship sustainability through ongoing communications
  • Plan and budget for ongoing updates to systems, procedures, and documentation.
  • Ensure collaboration and coordination.

Broadening the scope of response expertise can greatly benefit a facility by limiting the timeline of potentially escalating emergencies. Local agencies may provide additional response knowledge based on particular research, experiences, or occupational training in a particular area of study. Emergency managers should continually meet with government agencies, community organizations, and utility companies throughout the entire planning cycle to discuss likely emergencies and the available resources to minimize the affects on the community.

Sources of local collaborative response efforts and plan management information may include:

  • Community emergency management office
  • Mayor or Community Administrator’s office
  • Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
  • Fire Department
  • Police Department
  • Emergency Medical Services organizations
  • American Red Cross
  • National Weather Service
  • Public Works Department
  • Planning Commission
  • Telephone companies
  • Electric utilities
  • Neighboring businesses 

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Business Continuity, Emergency Management, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Department of Homeland Security

Conferences for Emergency Management Professionals

Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012

Below is a list of some of the conferences available for EHS professionals:

The Interspill Conference:  March 13-15, 2012 (London, England) - A key international platform for discussing and sharing experiences on how to prevent and respond to oil spills and will focus on the delivery and exchange of practical and real-life information and dialogue.

Contingency Planning and Management Conference and Expo: April 2-4, 2012 (Washington D.C.) - Offers in-depth conference sessions focused on key issues central to COOP, business continuity, emergency management and risk assessment.

The World Conference on Disaster Management: June 25-27, 2012 (Toronto, Canada) - Provides the opportunity to gain valuable education, training and best practices from world renowned experts to assist you, your organization and your community to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disaster. The 2012 WCDM conference program will include many sessions that will help budget-restricted practitioners do more with less, and how innovation can compensate for lack of money and resources.

Volunteer Protection Programs Participants’ Association: August 19-23, 2012 (Anaheim, CA) -  Encourages and provides opportunities to network, learn and advance as leaders in occupational safety and health.

NAEM EHS Forum: October 17-19, 2012 (Naples, FL) - The largest of the National Association of Emergency Managers (NAEM) Conferences, this event is dedicated to showcasing best practices in EHS and sustainability management.

National Safety Council Congress and Expo: October 21-26 (Orlando, ,FL) - This non-profit organization’s mission is to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy. The conference. In 2011, more than 12,000 safety, health and environmental professionals participated in technical sessions and profession development seminars.

IAEM-USA 60th Annual Conference & EMEX 2012: October 26 - Nov 1, 2012 (Orlando, FL) - Partnering conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) and Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMEX) that provides a forum for current trends and topics, information about the latest tools and technology in emergency management and homeland security, and advances IAEM-USA committee work.

Clean Gulf: November 13-15, 2012 (New Orleans, LA) - Opportunity for companies, regulatory agencies, and associations involved in exploration, production, shipping, transportation or storage of petroleum, petrochemicals or hazardous materials to view the latest products, services and technologies, as well as hear about the latest trends and developments in the oil spill response industry. This event is co-located with The Industrial Fire, Safety & Security Training Event & Exhibition and the Deepwater Prevention & Response Conference.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

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Tags: Business Continuity, Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Department of Homeland Security

Pipeline Safety versus Regulation Overload

Posted on Thu, Jan 26, 2012

On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of 2011 into law. The law provides the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) with stronger enforcement tools, doubles maximum fines for safety violations to $2 million, and requires new pipeline safety standards.

Prompted by the deadly 2010 San Bruno, CA gas pipeline explosion that killed 8 people, injured dozens of others and damaged or destroyed more than 100 homes, the new law requires PHMSA to require operators to install automatic or remote-controlled shut-off valves and excess flow valves in new or replaced transmission pipeline.

However, some safety advocates feel the law does not align itself with several key recommendations arising from the 2010 investigations, including stricter leak-detection or integrity management requirements. Additionally, the National Transportation and Safety Board suggested that new automatic valves would be highly beneficial on aging pipelines in highly populated areas. It was stated that the disaster in San Bruno would have been far less devastating if the new valves had been installed. Unfortunately, the cost of replacing valves on existing pipelines is far more expensive than during the initial or replacement phase.

US Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood stated, “To promote regulatory certainty for the pipeline industry, the new bill prohibits PHMSA during a 2-3 year congressional review period, from issuing regulations establishing leak-detection requirements or expanding integrity management requirements beyond high-consequence areas. However, this restriction would not apply if a condition poses any risk to public safety, property, or the environment.”

According to the PHMSA, The United States currently has approximately 2.3 million miles of pipelines that transport oil, natural gas, and hazardous liquids.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.

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Tags: PHMSA, Pipeline, DOT, Department of Homeland Security