RICHMOND — The Virginia Emergency Management Association (VEMA) and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) co-sponsor the annual Virginia Emergency Management Symposium to provide training opportunities for emergency responders, planners, managers and volunteers to share best practices, lessons learned and initiatives. This year’s symposium, to be held March 20-23 at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, Va., offers more than 30 sessions, and the formal program will kick off with a speech by Governor Ralph Northam at 8:30 a.m. on March 21. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health and related professions to exchange ideas and collaborate to protect lives and property from disaster.
A full list of the agenda can be found at http://www.vemaweb.org/symposium.
Wednesday, March 21
9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. “Team Rubicon and the 2017 Hurricane Deployment Season”
The 2017 US/Caribbean Hurricane season stressed every responding disaster response organization. During this time, the veteran-based non-profit Team Rubicon was able to deploy on a remarkable scale. During its 2017 hurricane response season, Team Rubicon experienced an exponential increase in volunteers while simultaneously deploying on a geographic and operational level previously unknown to the young disaster response organization. In this session the speaker will discuss Team Rubicon’s 2017 hurricane deployment planning and identification of deployment locations, Team Rubicon organizational structure and the scaling of the organizational to best address multiple geographic response areas and missions, deployment statistics, the impact of individual and community partnerships, and key lessons learned.
11:00 a.m. – Noon “A Message of Hope”
Bobby, a former employee of VDEM and local emergency manager, and his wife, Pam, were killed in a motorcycle accident in August, 2015. Bobby and Pam lived lives of service to others as evidenced by their vocations and the manner in which they lived their lives. Our speakers will speak about Bobby and Pam, the tragic circumstances of the accident that claimed their lives, and the incredible story of love, hope and forgiveness that continues to unfold.
Breakouts: (Session A 1:30 – 3:00 pm; Session B 3:15- 4:45 pm)
A-1 “Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Reviews”
Review of 2018 grants; VEST Regional integration.
A-2 “The Long Path to Recovery (Introduction to the Virginia Recovery Plan)”
This presentation will discuss the new Commonwealth of Virginia Recovery Plan that will be finalized in April 2018. The purpose of the presentation will be to familiarize stakeholders from across the Commonwealth with the plan and the process used to develop the plan. This will serve as a primer on the new plan before its release in May 2018.
A-3 “When Status Quo Becomes Obsolete: Understanding Societal Changes and How They Impact Emergency Management”
Since the turn of the 21st Century, American society has gone through numerous -near revolutionary- changes that have altered how we receive information, communicate emergencies, exchange goods and services, and collect and categorize sociological factors. Consequently, the emergency management community must understand these changes and create a paradigm shift that addresses the potential impact(s) proactively and purposefully rather than reactively. This presentation will look at new media, smart notifications, predictive information, and socioeconomic factors through the lens of traditional emergency management standards and community considerations and present alternative approaches to better prepare in the future.
A-4 “Best Practices During an Active Threat (Shooter) Response”
City of Richmond public safety teams of police, fire and EMS came together against the odds and collaborated about the best possible response for the agencies and community during an active threat event. Collaboration efforts among the organizations addressed manmade threats and response before, during and after the incident. The response has been tested and continues to be improved upon through the after action review process and additional education.
A-5 “Legal Trends in Emergency Management”
This session, led by VDEM’s counsel from the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, will discuss legal issues facing localities in the area of emergency management. There will be open dialogue between the attorney and audience to allow for a better understanding of legal issues facing localities.
B-1 “Virtual EOC for Small Localities”
Pittsylvania County EM developed an in-house low cost virtual EOC System. Using Google forms, Google Docs, and web based applications. System is quick and easy to set up and can be used wherever internet is available. Web based and Mobile application friendly.
B-2 “Joint Response to Hazardous Devices”
In addition to simply mitigating explosive devices, response to CBRNE emergencies require the expertise of both bomb technicians and professional hazmat responders. As a result of building relationships across disciplines, this presentation will outline an example of how EOD and Hazmat units can join together to handle these high-risk emergencies. Discussion will include team integration and training, as well as considerations for render-safe, decontamination, medical, and EOD rapid-intervention team operations.
B-3 “Local Pharmacies Assisting with Emergencies”
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is participating in a pilot with ASTHO and CDC whereby VDH is recruiting local pharmacies to assist in emergency medical countermeasure dispensing. This MOA provides for 4 different emergency response networks for medical counter measures (MCMs): Pandemic Influenza, Antiviral, Anthrax, and Natural Disaster. The cafeteria style MOA allows pharmacies to choose which network to enroll in based on the networks’ fit into their current business model. Citizens would turn to their familiar, trusted pharmacist/pharmacy setting for medical countermeasures. The MOA has already been signed by 35 independents pharmacies and one local chain pharmacy, consisting of 16 retail grocery store pharmacies. Efforts are continuing to get additional pharmacies on board.
B-4 “Federal and Commonwealth Collaboration to Secure Infrastructure Information”
Government access to information regarding critical infrastructure is vital to our Nation’s preparedness and security. Since the overwhelming majority of our critical infrastructure is privately owned and operated, much of the needed information is proprietary and not readily available to the government. The Department of Homeland Security thereby created the Protected Critical Infrastructure Information (PCII) Program, under the Critical Infrastructure Information (CII) Act of 2002; whose goal is to work with critical infrastructure owners and operators, along with Governmental partners; to integrate PCII protections into information-collection processes and protect such information from public disclosure.
B-5 “Helping Victims of Mass Violence & Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery and
Presenter will utilize the Helping Victims of Mass Violence and Terrorism: Planning, Response, Recovery, and Resources toolkit, created by the USDOJ-OVC to help communities prepare for and respond to victims of mass violence in the most timely, effective, and compassionate manner possible. Lessons learned from past incidents indicate that through advanced planning which includes the establishment of victim assistance protocols, and by developing and maintaining multidisciplinary partnerships, communities are better prepared to engage a holistic approach to victim assistance ensuring each victim’s needs are met. Presenter will also discuss federal funds available to localities affected by mass casualty criminal victimizations.
Thursday, March 22
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. “HERricane Arlington: A Powerful Force for Change”
HERricane Arlington is a home-grown summer camp program offered to girls (ages 13-17) who are interested in emergency management and allied professions. This high-quality, affordable outreach event will energize your preparedness program and create enthusiasm within your community by promoting leadership, self- reliance, professionalism, and grit. We’ll also discuss our “Aftermath” program that offers continuing engagement, mentorship, and early career support to camp participants. You’ll be growing and supporting tomorrow’s public health nurses, meteorologists, and emergency managers so that the future has a team that can handle hurricanes, earthquakes, and outbreaks.
9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. “Shooting in Alexandria (VA) It Did Happen Here”
This presentation will discuss the initial response phase to the congressional shooting and the transition from rescue to investigative. We will discuss lessons learned and ways to mitigate them.
10:45 – Noon “Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III and Virginia – Policy, Program & Issues Update”
Breakouts (Session C 1:30 – 3:00 pm; Session D 3:15 – 4:45 pm):
C-1 “Patient Movement – “Are we there yet?” ”
This session provides an overview of the VDH Patient Movement Plan for evacuating hospitals and VDH licensed long-term care facilities. Panelists will discuss lessons learned from the recent VDH/Department of Health and Human Services/Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (DHHS/ASPR) Noble Lifesaver Patient Movement Tabletop Exercise, whole community planning, evacuation decision timeline, pre- determined destinations, local/state/federal resources available for en masse patient movement, and next steps.
C-2 “Building Universally Accessible Evacuation and Sheltering Programs”
Accessible emergency programs and services are a requirement for state and local emergency management agencies. But what does it mean to have an accessible emergency operations plan and how do you accomplish that? This session will focus on building sheltering and evacuation programs that are universally accessible: accessible to everyone, everywhere, every time. This session will identify the key principles of accessibility, provide practical examples of operationalizing ADA compliance, and will examine numerous areas of evacuation and shelter planning including radiological evacuation assistance centers and registry programs.
C-3 “Leadership Lessons from Gettysburg and Beyond”
This session will provide attendees with a historical look at leadership as viewed by actions (or inactions) taken by leaders involved in the Battle of Gettysburg. The speaker will provide historical reference details of the battle, contrast those command decisions with modern day leadership techniques, and interact with audience members to discuss how leadership styles from the Battle of Gettysburg can be applied to Emergency Managers today.
C-4 “EMS and Police Partnerships for Better Outcomes from Active Threat Incidents”
The manner in which public safety responds to active threat incidents has continued to evolve since the 1999 incident in Columbine. While law enforcement agencies have wisely replaced an ineffective “hold the perimeter and wait for SWAT” tactic with a “rapid deployment, neutralize the threat” mindset, a significant gap yet remains in rapidly caring for the injured. A November 2013 incident at LAX airport claimed the life of TSA Officer Gerardo I. Hernandez. It was initially reported that EMS providers had to wait more than 30 minutes for police to declare the building safe before they could enter to treat Officer Hernandez. This event and others beg the question: Can EMS and police integrate operations to rapidly gain access to and immediately care for the injured? The Chesapeake Police and Fire Departments in Southeastern, Virginia have created an Active Threat Coordination Working Group to answer this significant question. These medium-sized agencies, serving a population of 228,000 over 353 square miles, have partnered to create a Rescue Task Force strategy to protect citizens and responders and prevent a further loss of life.
C-5 “Helping Invisible Victims of Mass Tragedies—the Psychological After-Effects of Survivors”
Attendees will learn from a 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor about after-effects from mass violence and how some survivors may appear unharmed but actually experience very real mental health injuries. Topics include: the after-effects of traumatic events, including resiliency, dealing with PTS (post-traumatic stress) as a civilian and first responder. How first responders, 911, 311, fire, police, EMS, public safety, and others can communicate to the public about the emotional and psychological issues survivors may experience and what resources are important to recovery, including support groups, hot lines, mental health service, websites, radio/tv, etc.
D-1 “National Weather Service (NWS) Town Hall”
D-2 “Floors and Ceilings: Establishing Mass Notification Enrollment Targets for Your Jurisdiction” What percent of your population should be registered for your alerts? Should we work harder to push that number higher? In emergency management, these questions drive our marketing, outreach, and operations and influence how we spend our time and budgets. Join us to discuss a statewide study of mass notification systems in Virginia to explore enrollment trends by population density, education level, income level, and beyond. What you learn here will help establish performance metrics for your system and for your organization, making it easier to chart a course for successful mass notification.
D-3 “NC BEOC- Creating a More Disaster Resilient State”
The NCEOC has developed a private sector partnership program that allows for two way information sharing during disasters. Preregistered private sector partners are able to view certain information in the state’s WebEOC such as road closures and power outages. This information often helps them make post-disaster business decisions. This presentation discusses the NC program and benefits to the state as well as localities.
D-4 “Moving VEMA Forward through Legislative Advocacy”
Update on legislative issues affecting emergency management in the Commonwealth and at the Federal level. Discussion of legislative priorities for VEMA and VDEM. Open discussion between members and the panel.
D-5 “Lost in Translation: The Healthcare_EM Interface”
This presentation will examine the connections between healthcare organizations and emergency management agencies in routine and disaster situations. Particular attention will be given to the recently changed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations impacting healthcare preparedness and collaborative strategies to enhance healthcare preparedness.
Friday, March 23
8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. “Whose spill is it? Multi-Agency Coordination of Jet Fuel Spill in Virginia Beach” On May 11, 2017 just under 100,000 gallons of JP5 (jet fuel) spilled out a fuel tank at NAS Oceana and into the City of Virginia Beach. For 3 weeks, the City of Virginia Beach, US Navy, US Coast Guard, Department of Environmental Quality, VDE, VDH and EPA worked to clean up the spill using a formal Unified Command. Lessons learned on multi-agency coordination, hazardous spills in waterways, residential properties affected, financial ramifications and why an IMT works.
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. “The Robert Hall Fire, Chesapeake VA – You Can’t Eat Pizza Without Dentures, A Story of a No Notice Sheltering Incident”
There was a four alarm fire at a senior living community (1 & 2 bedroom apartments) in Chesapeake, Virginia on July 15, 2017, in which 150 citizens were evacuated. The Hampton Roads Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) was activated to assist, and the Chesapeake EOC was activated to manage the sheltering and relocation of approximately 60 residents. A new model of sheltering was used and all were placed in hotel rooms or with family members as a result of the coordination that occurred. The City’s Department of Human
Services worked in partnership with the American Red Cross and opened a Disaster Resource Center to assist those who were displaced and lost their belongings, as well as develop service and care plans. As with all successes in Emergency Management, this incident is an example of great relationships leading to an effective and coordinated response.
Editor/Producer Note: If you wish to cover Governor Northam’s speech, please call (804) 305-9411 and plan to be in place at the Homestead Regency Ballroom at 8 a.m. March 21. For other conference coverage needs, individual availabilities can be arranged.
VDEM works with local government, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the five mission areas of emergency management; prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. To learn more about ways VDEM is working to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery, visit www.vaemergency.gov.