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2016 EHS Conferences to Consider

Posted on Thu, Jan 07, 2016

Corporate emergency management and EHS professionals are continually challenged to optimize workplace safety, improve processes based on lessons learned experiences, and balance the profit/loss scale with optimal sustainability. Whether bound by industry downturns, budget cutbacks, or executive barricades, striving to meet this challenge while continuing to reduce the number of incidents at one facility or across an enterprise is a daunting task.

In order for those responsible for corporate emergency management to strengthen company resolve, apply best practices, and incorporate proven strategies, they need to be exposed to and educated by industry innovators. When budgets are restrained, every opportunity for peer collaboration, communication, and education becomes a valuable tool for corporate sustainability and longevity. The ability to share proven methodology can lead to improved processes and cost-savings outcomes.

Emergency management conferences can aid in fostering budget-friendly, best-practices implementations and provide financially sound resources that sustain a culture of safety and preparedness. While some of the conferences below are industry specific, the list of 2016 events can inspire professionals and enhance their company programs. (The list reflects statements from conference presenters and should not be considered a TRP Corp endorsement.)

International Disaster Conference and Expo: March 1-3, 2016 (New Orleans, LA)
This conference unites public and private sector professionals from around the world for discussions regarding policy, lessons learned, best practices, and forward thinking, resulting in the mitigation of loss of life and property when catastrophic events occur.

Disaster Recovery Journal Spring World: March 13-16, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
Industry leaders gather to explore topics that address some of today’s most challenging and pressing business continuity and disaster response issues. Break-out sessions are scheduled to address strategic, managerial, technical, information, advanced, and emergency response.

Preparedness, Emergency Response and Recovery Consortium and Exposition: March 22-24, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
This conference brings together health care, medical, public health and volunteer emergency management personnel involved in disaster recovery and response efforts. Focus is placed on coordination and collaboration between the various organizations and stakeholders contributing to disaster preparedness, health care response, rescue and evacuation, sheltering in place, and recovery operations.

International Conference and Exhibition on Health, Safety, Security, Environment, and Social Responsibility (HSSE–SR): April 11-13, 2016 (Stavanger, Norway)
This biennial event brings together health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility leaders and professionals working in the international oil and gas sector to share new ideas, process improvements, technological advancements, and innovative applications to enhance HSE performance.

Continuity Insights Management Conference: April 18-20, 2016 (Nashville, TN)
This conference provides the opportunity for strategic business continuity discussions, where professionals can learn from and network with those responsible for the integrity, availability, resilience, and security of their organizations. The conference includes a review of the latest technologies and practices, and the ability to earn additional certification with post-conference workshops.

Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference: April 19-21, 2016 (Tacoma, WA)
This regional emergency preparedness conference in the Pacific Northwest annually hosts nearly 700 people representing business, schools, government, the nonprofit sector, emergency management professionals, and volunteer organizations. Speakers and exhibitors provide cutting-edge information on subjects such as business continuity planning, school safety, public health preparedness, homeland security, and public information.

2016 Governor's Hurricane Conference: May 8-13, 2016 (Orlando, FL)
The Governor's Hurricane Conference focuses on hurricane planning, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. Over 300 hours of training and workshops covering all aspects of hurricane readiness, full of the latest trends, topics, tools and technologies to best improve your disaster response/recovery processes will be offered.

IEEE Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security: May 10-12, 2016 (Waltham, MA)

Brings together innovators from leading academic, industry, Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, and government programs to provide a forum to discuss ideas, concepts, and experimental results. This year’s event will showcase emerging technologies in cyber-security; attack and disaster preparation, recovery, and response; land and maritime border security; and bio metrics and forensics.

World Conference on Disaster Management: June 6-9, 2016 (Toronto, ON Canada)
This conference delivers a global perspective on current and emerging business continuity, emergency management, risk management, crisis communications and first response issues. WCDM brings together the most diverse mix of professions and promotes thought provoking conversations through specially designed networking opportunities.

29th Annual Environmental Health, and Safety Seminar: June 6-9, 2016 (Galveston, TX)
The Texas Chemical Council (TCC) and Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACIT) in collaboration with the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) and the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance (LCIA)'s EHS Seminar provides an opportunity to enhance regulatory knowledge, learn from best practices, and hear from experts in their field.

Volunteer Protection Programs Participants’ Association: Aug. 29 - Sept.1, 2016 (Kissimmee, FL)
Encourages and provides opportunities for EHS professionals to network, learn, and advance as leaders in occupational safety and health issues. Participants range from safety and health managers, employee safety team members, industrial hygienists, union representatives, consultants, environmental health specialists, and human resource managers Government agency representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are also available for networking and education.

IAEM-USA Annual Conference & EMEX: October 14-19, 2016 (Savannah, GA)
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. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health, and related professions to exchange ideas on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster.

Clean Gulf: November 1-3, 2016 (Tampa, FL)
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 Deepwater Prevention & Response Conference.

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Tags: DHS, Conference

Don't Get Caught Non-Compliant: Top Tips for Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Thu, Jan 23, 2014

In early January, a chemical leak from a Freedom Industries storage facility caused West Virginia American Water to shut off the water supply to nearly 300,000 people. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection identified five violations which will likely result in substantial fines. In addition, criminal penalties may be pursued.

As demonstrated month after month, compliance is a requirement, not an option.  Some argue that the bureaucracy is riddled with inefficiencies. However, the “rules” are aimed to protect communities and the surrounding environment.  According to David Hall’s Wall Street Journal article, The Morning Ledger: Companies Beef Up Compliance Departments, “Hefty fines and other penalties have jolted companies, especially banks, into a compliance hiring spree, as governments at home and abroad tighten business laws and regulations and ramp up their enforcement activity.” Compliance costs are typically lower than the expenditures associated with non-compliance fines, litigation, reputational risk, and government mandated shutdown of operations. Companies must implement a budget that ensures regulatory compliance.

Managing regulatory compliance for industrial facilities can be a daunting task. Industrial facilities must operate profitably; yet comply with a complex array of federal, state and local regulations.  The consequences of disregarding the various required elements can be corporate self-destruction.

Key concepts for managing regulatory compliance from a corporate perspective include, but are not limited to:

Database Technology

Technology is a useful, and relatively inexpensive tool that enables companies to monitor continually evolving regulatory requirements. In recent history, companies have utilized Excel spreadsheets to manage requirements. However, as a company expands or new regulations are implemented, spreadsheets can become overwhelming, ineffective, and time consuming. Larger operations should consider utilizing database technology to ensure that compliance can be effectively managed on an enterprise-wide level. Utilizing a database limits the duplication of tasks generated when multiple agencies have regulations that are related to the same subject matter.

Available Expertise

Internal resources or outsourced compliance expertise can enable a company to leverage regulatory knowledge enterprise-wide. In order to focus on core business components and reduce managerial and administration efforts required to manage compliance, companies can examine utilizing consultants to ensure appropriate response planning and compliance measures.

Facility-Specific Regulations

A company must recognize mandatory submission requirements and tasks for each facility associated with each regulatory requirement. The implementation of a tracking management system that can eliminate redundancies across converging compliance requirements is extremely beneficial for organizations that have multiple applicable regulatory requirements.

A methodological tracking system should itemize applicable federal, state, and local regulations, and include categorical information that satisfies that regulation. A tracking system should, at a minimum contain the following components: 

  • Operational categories: Categories can range from air quality and hazardous materials, to construction safety and general safety and health. Depending on the detail required by the regulations, further breakouts by subcategories may also be required.
  • Applicable Regulation Level:  Regulations should be further broken down to Federal, state or local regulation categories.  
  • Time/Date Stamping: The Time and Date that each regulation was last updated.
  • Compliance Feedback:  Applicable notes regarding compliance or non-compliance.
  • Industry Standard:  Apply best practices related to compliance with specific regulatory requirements, when practical to do so.
  • Cross-reference: Itemize list of additional regulations that may be applicable to the information provided.
  • Facility Compliance responsibility: Identify contact assigned to maintain compliance for each regulatory requirement.
  • Action Item Reporting: Provides a list of outstanding and completed action items, along with due dates and person(s) assigned. Reports should have filters to customize queries as required by the users.
  • Search Functionality - Create the ability to search database for key words and phrases associated with regulations.

One of the most important aspects of maintaining compliance is ensuring that required response plan and associated revisions are submitted to the proper regulatory agencies in a timely manner. The various agencies have different submission requirements regarding initial and plan revision compliance.

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Tags: DHS, DOT, OSHA, CFATS, Response Plans, EPA, Regulatory Compliance

National Incident Management System: 15-Question Quiz to test your knowledge!

Posted on Mon, Dec 09, 2013

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is the consistent emergency management structure that has been adopted by countless companies to create a more effective, coordinated emergency response. According to FEMA, NIMS provides “a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, State, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism.”

With properly trained employees, many emergency situations can be handled on-site without external responders. However, if an emergency has the potential to exceed the scope of employee training, a unified incident management approach enables multiple entities to respond with one accepted management system. Adopting NIMS facilitates the ability for internal and external responders to collaborate through common operating principles, terminology, and organizational processes to improve response interoperability. The goal, and typical result of NIMS, is a coordinated, faster, and more effective resolution.

Company emergency preparedness personnel, as well as any emergency responders or teams (fire brigade/EMS), can adopt NIMS training programs. The Department of Homeland Security has developed Frequently Asked Questions regarding NIMS.  Below is a sampling of those questions in quiz form to determine your NIMS proficiency.

1. Which is NOT a component of NIMS?
a. Preparedness
b. Communications and Information Management
c. Response Plan
d. Command and Management  

2. Without ICS in place, which of the following often exists?
a. A lack of accountability
b. Poor communication
c. Neither a nor b
d. Both a and b  

3. Which factor encourages jurisdictions to implement NIMS:
a. Federal funding eligibility
b. Pension eligibility
c. Tax exemptions
d. Training exemptions  

4. Which of the following is NOT one of the three primary components of national incident response?
b. EOP
c. ICS
d. NRF  

5. Which of the following describes NIMS?
a. A set of preparedness concepts and principles for all hazards
b. A response plan
c. Specific to certain emergency management/incident response personnel
d. Reserved for large-scale emergencies  

6. Which is NOT one of the three primary implications of the evolving nature of the NIMS, implementation, and compliance?
a. Dedicated resources must for NIMS implementation must be retained on an ongoing basis
b. A new incident commander must be named at the beginning of each fiscal year
c. Compliance demands implementation on prior activities even when new regulations are put forth
d. From year to year, structures and processes that jurisdictions have implemented may change, or even be eliminated

7. Which of the following FEMA directors was the first to have had prior emergency management experience? 

a. John Macy
b. Louis Guiffrida
c. General Julius Becton
d. James Lee Witt  

8. ICS is designed to
a. Meet the needs of incidents of any kind or size.
b. Provide a site-specific response plan
c. Provide logistical and administrative support to operational staff
d. Both A and C
e. Both A and B  

9. True or False - Private industry must comply with NIMS requirements in order to receive federal tax incentives.
a. True
b. False  

10. Which of the following is an ICS concept states that personnel report to only one supervisor, and maintain formal communication relationships only with that supervisor.
a. Unity of Command
b. Unified Command System
c. Singular Command Structure
d. Mono-command

11. State governments also maintain mutual aid contracts with other states, called:
a. Emergency Management Assistance Compacts (EMACs)
b. Collaborative Support Systems (CSSs) 
c. Intrastate Emergency Management Contracts (IEMCs)
d. None of the above  

12. According to NIMS, all functions of response and recovery are dependent upon ____________ and ___________.
a. Logistics and budget
b. Public perception and reputation
c. Communication and coordination
d. Stakeholder input and stock valuation  

13.  Transfer of Command occurs when:
a. A more qualified person assumes command
b. There is normal turnover of personnel on extended incidents
c. The incident response is concluded and responsibility can be transferred to the home agency, company or, facility
d. All of the above  

14. The Secretary of Homeland Security, through the ________________, publishes the standards, guidelines, and compliance protocols for determining whether a Federal, State, tribal, or local government has implemented NIMS.
a. National Intelligence Council (NIC)
b. National Integration Center (NIC)
c. Incident Command System (ICS)
d. Implementation Coordination System (ICS)  

15. Which is NOT one of the seven strategies for emergency operations
a. Mobility
b. Rescue
c. Ventilation
d. Containment

1). c
2). d
3). a
4). b
5). a
6). b
7). d
8). d
9). b
10). a
11). a
12). c
13). d
14). b
15). a

For a free download on how to conduct an effective emergency exercise, click the image below:

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: DHS, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Department of Homeland Security, Workplace Safety, NIMS

The Evolution of Emergency Management and Disaster Response

Posted on Mon, Dec 02, 2013

Historically, emergency management and preparedness has been a reactive science. The industry’s evolution has been the result of catastrophes, calamities, heightened risks, and newly identified threats that affect the population, economic stability, infrastructure, and national resilience. In recent history, disaster awareness through the 24/7-news cycle has intensified the concept of emergency management integration into our daily lives. Through continued awareness and dedicated mitigation advancements, the effects of future disasters can be limited.

Below is a sampling of key events that advanced emergency management and/or disaster response efforts:

Union Fire Company (1736): On a quest to improve fire fighting techniques, Benjamin Franklin organized and led this volunteer fire department to be a city-wide model of fire fighting best practices. Numerous Philadelphia fire companies modeled their operations after the Union Fire Company.

Congressional Act of 1803: One of the first examples of the United States Federal government proactively addressing a local disaster.  The Act enabled the government to provide assistance to a New Hampshire town after an extensive fire.

American Red Cross (1881): Clarissa Harlowe Barton founded the volunteer organization, which has grown into one of the world’s largest volunteer networks. The organization promotes a cooperative effort to protect and enhance lives of individuals in the wake of personal and large scale disasters.

Flood Control Act (1917): Floods on the Mississippi, Ohio, and other rivers in the  northeast  led to the Flood Control Act of 1917, the first act aimed exclusively at controlling floods. In 1934, a version of the legislation increased the authority of the Army Corps of Engineers to design and build flood control projects.

Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC): On January 22, 1932, the US Congress established and authorized the agency to originate disaster loans for repair and reconstruction of certain public facilities following an earthquake, and later, other types of disasters. The 1953 RFC Liquidation Act terminated its lending powers in an effort to fulfill President Dwight Eisenhower’s vision of limiting government’s involvement in the economy. By 1957, its remaining functions had been transferred to other agencies.

Bureau of Public Road: In 1934, the agency was given the authority to provide funding for highways and bridges damaged by natural disasters.

Disaster Relief Act of 1950: Authorized the President of the United States to issue disaster declarations. As a result, the declaration permitted federal agencies to provide direct assistance to state and local governments in the wake of a disaster.

Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950: The threat of nuclear war and its subsequent radioactive fallout precipitated numerous defense legislations.  The Act provided the basic preparedness framework to minimize the effects of an attack on the civilian population and a plan to respond to the immediate emergency conditions created by the attack.2

Office of Emergency Preparedness (1960): As a result of a series of disasters (Hurricane Donna, Hurricane Carla, and a 7.3 Montana earthquake) the Kennedy administration established this agency to oversee the seemingly growing risk of natural disasters.

National Flood Insurance Act of 1968: The legislation was prompted by the unavailability or prohibitively expensive flood insurance coverage.  The Act resulted in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Federal Emergency Management Agency( FEMA):  By 1970, over 100 federal agencies and thousands of state and local entities were involved in risk management and disaster response efforts.  The scattered, fragmented, and decentralized concept led to duplicated efforts, confusion, and political power struggles. FEMA was created to centralize efforts and minimize disorder.

Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA90): In the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the law created comprehensive prevention, response, liability, and compensation policies for vessel and facilities that could cause oil pollution to U.S. navigable waters.

Federal Response Plan (1992):The plan aimed to provide a systematic process and structure for coordinated delivery of Federal assistance to address the effects of any major disaster or emergency declared under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.3

September 11, 2001: FEMA activates the Federal Response Plan as a response to the worst terrorist attack on the United States. The attacks can be identified as one of history’s turning points for the rapid advancement and coordination of emergency management.

Homeland Security Act of 2002: Was established as a result of the September 11, 2001 attacks in effort to protect the United States from further terrorist attacks, reduce the nation’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage from potential terrorist attacks and natural disasters.  

National Response Plan (2004): Developed out of the need to implement common incident management and response principles. The NRP replaced the Federal Response Plan.

National Response Framework (2008): Through stakeholder feedback, a series of disasters, and subsequent lessons learned, the framework was developed to enhance the principles of the National Response Plan. The changes incorporated the concept that an effective incident response is a shared responsibility of all level of governments, the private sector and NGOs, and individual citizens.4

The above timeline is just a sampling of the historical events that precipitated change in emergency management industry. Lesson learned from recent events like Hurricane Katrina and Sandy, massive wildfires, and the earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan will continue to mold response protocols. As history can predict, the 21st century will provide a backdrop for additional improvements to emergency management policies, response efforts, and preparedness. provides an informative infographic detailing various events of the past that have shaped our present, and a nod to anticipated potential threats that create the need for additional preparedness efforts.

1. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC)
2  Federal Civil Defense Act of 1950
3. Federal Response Plan
4. National Response Framework 

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Tags: DHS, EHS, Emergency Preparedness, Incident Management, Emergency Response Planning, Department of Homeland Security

National Preparedness Month and Corporate Response Planning

Posted on Mon, Sep 23, 2013

In 2004, The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), The America Prepared Campaign, the American Red Cross, the National Association of Broadcasters, and the U.S. Department of Education joined a coalition of more than 50 national organizations to engage American citizens in emergency preparedness by designating September as National Preparedness Month. This year, more than 3,000 organizations are taking part in supporting emergency preparedness efforts. National Preparedness Month provides a variety of opportunities to learn more about ways they can prepare for an emergency, get an emergency supply kit, establish a family communications plan, and become better aware of threats that may impact communities.

By prioritizing and encouraging preparedness, companies can set the example for employees, customers, and the surrounding communities. Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. Employers should designate National Preparedness Month to encourage preparedness training, develop business continuity plans (BCP), review and evaluate existing plans, or advance preparedness practices through exercises and gap analyses.

Large and small businesses that are able to continue operations throughout a crisis situation or quickly restore services may avoid economic hardship and potential failure. Determining how to maintain critical business functions in less than ideal situations may be the key to company survival.

Understanding and exercising effective response procedures and the intricacies of a business continuity plan can minimize the effects of an incident. Business continuity events typically result in the loss or temporary disruption of one or more of the following necessary key business resources:

  • Facilities
  • Infrastructure
  • IT Applications/Systems
  • People
  • Supply Chain

A detailed identification and evaluation of critical business processes, focusing  on the key business resources above should be performed as an integral part of a business continuity plan. This “bare bones” evaluation should list the minimum criteria necessary to keep your business in operation. Necessary minimum criteria may include:

Infrastructure needs: An incident that results in facility damage or mandatory evacuations may require relocation of critical business processes.  Companies must identify and arrange for potential alternate locations, if applicable (ex. satellite offices, work from home, alternate locations).

Data and computer needs: Identifying computer backup solutions, data restoration methods, and minimum software requirements are crucial to re-establish critical business processes.  Companies may examine data center outsourcing to ensure continuity and accessibility, as well as alternative/backup power sources for laptops.

Notification lists: Regularly update lists to ensure all contact information is up-to-date. Business continuity planners must be certain that notifications are being delivered to accurate e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers, especially in case of an evacuation. If maintaining accurate contact information is challenging, consider opting for an e-mail notification verification system that enables individuals to verify their own information.

Communication needs: Clear and effective communication channels must remain available in order to disseminate information to employees, assess and relay damage, and coordinate a recovery strategy. A mass notification system may assure a reliable method to communicate to key individuals, company employees, or an entire client base. However, in order for communication to be effective, contact information must be accurate.

Supply Chain: Plans should be constantly updated to include new suppliers. Additionally, pre-selected alternate suppliers should be included in the BCP to ensure consistent delivery and continued operations in the event primary suppliers are not able to provide required services.

Essential Personnel: Identify necessary minimum staffing levels to remain on-site during a storm. As the storm passes, ensure staff, contractors, and suppliers are in communication, and understand their individual responsibilities and recovery time objectives.

Equipment needs: Identify and procure necessary equipment and establish processes for continued operations and recovery. This will prevent unnecessary downtime and additional recovery efforts. The process of relocating equipment arranging for these essentials after-the-fact is time consuming, and potentially costly.

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Tags: DHS, Business Continuity key points, Business Continuity, Department of Homeland Security, Communication Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Business Disruption

Corporate Inter-dependencies Require Emergency Preparedness Efforts

Posted on Thu, Nov 15, 2012

Growing corporate interdependencies present significant challenges when infrastructure disruptions or loss occurs. Basic physical structures are necessary for society to be operational. However, critical services and the companies that provide them depend on these structures in order for an economy to function. When these structures are damaged, those economy stabilizing companies must seek alternate ways to remain operational.

Securing the critical physical infrastructure through mitigation, emergency preparedness, and business continuity planning efforts is on the forefront of the U.S Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  But efforts should not be left to government entities. Companies must prioritize emergency preparedness and business continuity initiatives in order to minimize supply chain interruptions that could affect the ability to provide critical services.

“Mitigating our most significant vulnerabilities and/or mounting a timely and efficient response and recovery effort at a major municipal, regional or national level requires strategic thinking, investment and capacity building well in advance of a paralyzing disaster.”      -Revitalizing American Manufacturing to Protect, Respond and Recover

The present global risk environment is highly unpredictable and incidental impacts may be far reaching. After the massive 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan, the world’s manufacturing supply chains, most notably in the auto and electronics sectors, felt the aftershocks of limited supplies. Businesses within Japan and internationally, experienced production problems and supply chain interruptions. The loss of critical infrastructure will have an effect on local companies; however the disruption proved to adversely affect businesses far from the impact zone. Risk managers and business continuity advisers should be alert to lessons learned from the crisis in Japan and re-evaluate their company’s ability to respond as necessary if loss of critical infrastructure affects supply chains.

In addition to naturally occurring events with the potential to damage or disable U.S. infrastructure, the infrastructures are deteriorating due to generations of use. The 2009 American Society of Civil Engineer (ASCE) Report Card gives the U.S. infrastructure an overall grade of "D" or "Poor". The report reveals that an investment of more than $2.2 trillion through 2014 is necessary to address the most critical needs. Unfortunately, a sluggish economy has slowed reinforcement efforts.

The combination of deteriorating infrastructures and naturally occurring threats make emergency preparedness and business continuity planning crucial for companies, especially those that fall into DHS’s critical infrastructure sector. Companies should prioritize and initiate response coordination with local authorities and establish continuity plans to counteract infrastructure failure.

TRP Corp - Critical Infrastructure

Threats and risk that have the potential to affect infrastructure and supply lines include, but are not limited to:

  • domestic and international terrorism
  • floods
  • hurricanes
  • earthquakes
  • oil spills and other environmental incidents
  • technological failures
  • pandemic influenza
  • malicious cyber intrusions and disruptions

Given the current state of the U.S. infrastructure and the continual occurrence of high-risk scenarios, supply chains that perpetuate operational productivity may be unreliable and fleeting. According to the Business Continuity Institute’s “Supply Chain Resilience 2011” study, supply chain incidents led to productivity loss for almost half of businesses surveyed. If essential resources, both internal and external, fail, companies need to arrange sustainability through outside resources. Highlighted areas to review include, but are not limited to:

  • External facilities and equipment needed to produce company’s products and services
  • Necessary products and services provided by suppliers, especially sole source vendors
  • Lifeline services such as electrical power, water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, and transportation
  • Operations and personnel vital to continued operation

Corporate and facility emergency managers should pre-identify critical processes and the equipment necessary to function. Through this process, alternatives can be explored and a business continuity plan can be developed that may reduce the impacts of infrastructure disorder and associated supply chain disruptions. Business continuity preparedness can prevent unnecessary downtime, increased recovery efforts, and protect the financial bottom line.

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Tags: DHS, Business Continuity, Department of Homeland Security, Business Continuity Plan, Disaster Recovery, Business Disruption

The National Integration Center and NIMS

Posted on Mon, Aug 06, 2012

The Department of Homeland Security’s National Integration Center is responsible for managing the implementation and administration of the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS is the consistent emergency management structure that has been adopted by countless companies to create a more effective, coordinated emergency response.

According to FEMA, NIMS provides “a consistent nationwide template to enable Federal, State, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity, including acts of catastrophic terrorism.” Yet, when companies implement or utilize a basic template approach without consideration of site-specific details, the result is often an incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plan.

The goal, and typical result of NIMS, is a coordinated, faster, and more effective resolution. The National Integration Center (NIC) promotes this compatibility and NIMS compliance between the private corporate sector and its jurisdictional counterparts.


Effective Response Planning 

Two contributors to effective preparedness comes from the site-specific information within the plans and a standardized response management process by which procedures are carried out. The two concepts, site-specific and standardization, may appear to contradict each other. However when merged properly, companies can strengthen preparedness initiatives and enable a flexible, effective, efficient, and all-hazards incident management response.


The NIC stresses standardization and credentialing to ensure the adoption of common national standards and systems that are compatible and aligned with the implementation of NIMS. The standards apply to the identification, implementation, and development of concepts and programs covering:

  • Documentation and database systems related to qualification, certification, and credentialing of emergency management/response personnel and organizations.
  • NIMS Training Requirements and exercises that enhance agencies’ and organizations’ knowledge, adoption, and implementation of NIMS.
  • Publication management ensuring NIMS documents are consistent and accessible.


Response Training

With properly trained employees, many emergency situations can be handled on-site without additional outside responders. However, if an emergency is beyond the scope of employee training, a unified incident management approach enables multiple entities to coordinate under one accepted management system.

Despite the efforts of the NIC to promote NIMS as the basis for emergency response, the 2012 National Preparedness Report identified a lack of understanding of specific roles and responsibilities. According to the report, emergency managers’ recovery roles and responsibilities were not always clearly defined, thereby confusing recovery progress. FEMA stresses continuous communication and collaborative efforts with responding jurisdictions in order to identify gaps. “Partners should identify gaps in achieving long-term recovery and report upon them to set recovery goals.”

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: DHS, Resiliency, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, FEMA, National Preparedness

NIMS Preparedness and Response Training Objectives

Posted on Thu, Jun 21, 2012

In 2004, the Department of Homeland Security published the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in efforts to provide a consistent template to enable government agencies, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to collaborate in the preparation, response, recovery and mitigation of incidents. Regardless of size, location, or complexity of an incident, the nationwide system provides a common foundation to reduce the loss of life, property, and harm to the environment in the event of an incident.

However, a critical tool in promoting the implementation of NIMS is a well-developed training program. Implementing the NIMS Training Program is a critical component of a National Training Program, mandated by the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006. Federal policy requires jurisdictions, organizations, or companies to meet NIMS compliance requirements as a condition for receiving Federal preparedness assistance, grants, and/or contracts.

The goal of the NIMS training program is to create a well-coordinated, sustainable program that meets the operational needs of the emergency management and incident response community.  The following NIMS concepts should be included in preparedness and response training programs:

Preparedness - Incorporating a coordinated, unified approach to emergency management and incident response activities based on chain of command and unity of effort, implementation, and command is the basis for achieving preparedness. According to NIMS, there are five preparedness elements that build the foundation for effective and efficient response and recovery:

  • Planning
  • Procedures and Protocols
  • Training and Exercises
  • Personnel Qualifications and Certification
  • Equipment Certification

Communications and Information Management - Utilizing flexible communications and information systems allows emergency management and response personnel to maintain a constant flow of information throughout an incident. Principles of communication and information management should incorporate the following components:

  • Redundancy
  • Reliability
  • Interoperability
  • Cohesive communication procedures

Resource Management - Managing preparedness and response resources (personnel, teams, facilities, equipment, and/or supplies) to meet incident needs allows for a more efficient and effective response. The foundations of resource management include:

  • Planning
  • Utilizing agreements and contracts
  • Organizing and categorizing resources
  • Identifying and ordering resources
  • Effectively managing resources

Command and Management - Highlighting the systems used to facilitate Command and Management operations/responsibilities for the single incident commander, unified command, command staff, incident command organization, and/or general staff. These systems may include:

  • Incident Command Systems (ICS)
  • Multiagency Coordination Systems (MACS)
  • Public Information Systems

Ongoing Management and Maintenance - Sustaining the administration duties and implementation of NIMS as put forth by the National Integration Center (NIC), and utilizing improved technologies, will ensure regulatory compliance and enhance management capabilities.

For a free guide that details the world of HAZWOPER training, download A Guide to HAZWOPER Training.

HAZWOPER training guide

Tags: DHS, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Department of Homeland Security, National Preparedness