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Develop an Emergency Preparedness Program 51 Step Checklist To evaluate the state transportation agency's processes for implementing its roles and respon- sibilities during emergencies, an agency should consider whether it has Developed EMACs and/or MOU/As with other state, regional, and local agencies regarding the transportation-related elements specified in the State and transportation agency EOPs to ensure that formal plans and procedures are in place for mutual aid, as specified by FEMA in the NRF and NIMS, and in the state's and agency's EOPs. Developed an approach to providing transportation agency critical services during emergen- cies to support COOP and COG plans that define activities that must be performed if an emer- gency event affects access to essential operations and maintenance facilities, vehicle fleets, systems (e.g., communications, CCTV, DMS, signals), specialized technical personnel, and senior management. Established protocols for heightened HSAS threat levels to address DHS/TSA and FHWA/FTA recommendations for responding to elevated HSAS threat levels. Developed and formalized an approach to evacuation management that includes plans, alterna- tive routes, policies, and procedures for evacuations--including contraflow plans if applicable-- for both with and without notice emergencies. Developed a coordinated program of training, drills, and exercises to ensure that transporta- tion agency personnel are trained in how to properly respond to different types of emergen- cies and to ensure all other emergency response and recovery participants recognize the agency's roles and responsibilities in these efforts. Developed and distributed checklists, job aids, and the like to assist responders in performing their response and recovery duties. Conducted regular tabletop exercises and ensured they include discussion of transportation issues. Participated in tabletop and field drills and exercises conducted by other emergency response agencies and organizations and ensured the state transportation agency asserts its roles and responsibilities and offers its full range of assets during these exercises. Ensured appropriate agency personnel have received NIMS-ICS-UC training. Step 2--Establish Communication Protocols and Mechanisms for Public Outreach The concept of communications interoperability requires states to ensure that all emergency response participants, including the general public, can be notified of imminent hazards or threats, and the actions to be taken to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from such events. To accomplish this task, the state transportation agency should work through its emergency planning team to establish communication systems that are consistent across the state and region. Such systems should include 24/7 event notification calling trees, shared radio chan- nels to foster information flow during response and recovery efforts, back-up communication systems to mitigate single-point failures of the primary systems, and shared data management systems and/or programs. It is important to note that some TMC software systems have notifi- cation subsystems that could be used for this purpose. There are also commercial applications available that provide such capabilities. As stated in the Simplified Guide to the Incident Command System for Transportation Profes- sionals (FHWA, 2006a), effective communication is based on two broad principles: 1. Common Operating Picture to achieve a broad view of the overall situation in order for Inci- dent Command and ICS staff at all levels and jurisdictions to make effective, consistent, and timely decisions.

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52 A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies 2. Common Communications and Data Standards to ensure voice and data communica- tions flow efficiently through a commonly accepted architecture using clear text and ICS terminology. With these principles in mind, this portion of the preparation process involves the following two key phases. PREPARE Phase 05: Establish Internal State Transportation Agency Communications Protocols Purpose. Ensure that calling trees and notification systems, including 24/7 event notification protocols, are established to notify state transportation employees regarding emergencies, to com- municate with them during emergencies, and to distribute emergency materials in advance of events. Actions. Evaluate use of radio channels, frequencies, trunked radio systems, and use of cellular phones during events likely to result in emergencies requiring activation of the State and/or Regional EOC(s). Establish predetermined frequency assignments, lists of agency channel access, and interagency communication protocols. Supporting actions may include the following: Determine how agencies and specific traffic management team personnel will communicate with each other in the field and on which channels. Coordinate and support emergency incident and event management through development and use of integrated multiagency coordination systems. Develop and maintain connectivity capability between local Incident Command Posts, local 9-1-1 centers, local EOCs, the SEOC, and regional and federal EOCs, FCs, and NRF organi- zational elements. Develop systems, tools, and processes to present consistent and accurate information to inci- dent managers at all levels. Specify agency and interagency contact information. Establish calling trees and notification systems, including 24/7 event notification protocols. Prepare an employee communication strategy, including emergency communication systems and materials for distribution in advance of events. Incident response communications (dur- ing exercises and actual incidents) should feature plain language commands so transportation employees will be able to function in a multi-jurisdiction environment. Revise field manuals and training to reflect the plain language standard. Identify single points of contacts, with back-ups, in all jurisdictions and agencies for commu- nications, including the protocols for which to contact under what conditions. Define when evacuation personnel are to be notified of a possible evacuation/shelter-in- place/quarantine order prior to its execution. Identify contingency plans for use if normal means of communication fail or are unavailable. Include provisions for keeping the public informed of the estimated travel times to safe havens under current and forecast conditions. Identify who needs to be informed to begin opening shelters. Identify specific contingency plans to be used if conditions change during the course of the evacuation. Institutionalize, within the framework of the ICS, the Public Information System, comprising the Joint Information System (JIS) and a Joint Information Center (JIC). The Public Infor- mation System will ensure an organized, integrated, and coordinated mechanism to perform critical emergency information, crisis communications, and public affairs functions that are timely, accurate, and consistent. This includes training for designated participants from the

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Develop an Emergency Preparedness Program 53 governor's office and key state agencies. The state transportation agency's Public Information Office (PIO) will generally represent the agency in the JIC and should not issue separate pub- lic announcements. Standardize incident reporting and documentation procedures to enhance situational awareness and provide emergency management/response personnel with access to critical information. Focus. The planning team represents the key agencies and organizations with which the state transportation agency will need to communicate during emergency response and recovery activities. Given the diverse nature of the planning team, it is likely that many of these agencies and organizations will be using different types of communications and information technology equipment, programs, and systems. While identifying these differences is a key step in the plan- ning process, developing and implementing ways to effectively mitigate these differences to ensure interoperability of communications during emergency response and recovery activities is a key--and often very difficult--step in the preparedness process. National Incident Management System Compliance Issues. To achieve NIMS compliance, Apply common and consistent terminology as used in NIMS, including the establishment of plain language (clear text) communications standards. Use systems, tools, and processes to present consistent and accurate information (e.g., com- mon operating picture) during an incident/planned event. Institutionalize public information (e.g., JIS and a JIC) within the framework of the ICS dur- ing an incident/planned event. Ensure that public information procedures and processes can gather, verify, coordinate, and disseminate information during an incident/planned event. Develop procedures and protocols for communications (to include voice, data, access to geospatial information, Internet/Web use, and data encryption), where applicable, to use or share information during an incident/planned event Institute procedures and protocols for operational and information security during an incident/ planned event. Supporting Resources. Using Highways During Evacuation Operations for Events with Advance Notice: Routes to Effective Evacuation Planning Primer Series, http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/evac_primer/ 00_evac_primer.htm NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transportation Security, Volume 6: Guide for Emergency Trans- portation Operations, search for title at www.TRB.org/SecurityPubs NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transportation Security, Volume 9: Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises, search for title at www.TRB.org/SecurityPubs PREPARE Phase 06: Develop Media Interface and Public Notification Systems Purpose. Ensure that the state transportation agency has the capability to provide traveler and evacuation information quickly and accurately to media outlets and the public, generally through the JIC during major incidents. Actions. Develop Media Interface Guidelines to ensure traveler information is provided quickly and accurately to media outlets and the public. Ensure these guidelines include appro- priate instructions to discourage unnecessary or unnecessarily lengthy evacuation/shelter- in-place/quarantine situations. Supporting actions--and these are generally not the state

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54 A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies transportation agency's PIO during major incidents, but rather are though the JIC created by the state/local EOP--may include the following:16 Designate (preferably) a single spokesperson to provide information to the media and the public. Identify communication tools to be used to ensure the community receives information regarding the steps to be taken to prepare for evacuation, the evacuation zone, the routes of evacuation, and location of nearby shelters. Develop agreements with traffic reporting services. Provide protocols and guidance to these services for involving them in informing the public. Establish Broadcast Radio Agreements to ensure that information is provided in a preestab- lished format within specific timeframes. Develop pre-scripted public service announcements and messages and inform the media on their use. Establish Cable Television Cooperative Agreements to provide information to targeted pop- ulations (e.g., local government channels). Establish a process for using Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) AM stations to provide traveler information in the immediate vicinity of the transmitter. Establish a process for using mass faxing capability or email to send road clo- During the disastrous Hurricane sure information to trucking associations, truck stops, inspection and weigh Rita exodus `part of the problem stations, media outlets, and others. was that for every five people who Establish processes for using Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS), evacuated, four of them probably including Internet, kiosk facilities, 5-1-1, and other publicized public infor- didn't need to,' TranStar spokes- mation services to inform the public of travel conditions. woman Dinah Martinez said at Establish a process for using Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs) to provide a . . . town hall meeting . . . timely, accurate information in advance of, and at the scene of an incident. Burke, 2008 Identify foreign language speakers and outlets to communicate with citi- zens and visitors who may not understand English. Establish times for public officials to provide updates and inform the pub- lic of when they can expect such updates. Ensure the state/territorial Public Information System can gather, verify, coordinate, and dissem- inate information during an incident. Accomplish this through exercises and drills of the system. Use existing Public Information System and/or other communication systems for effective practices and technical aids. Focus. As has been stated, the general public must be included in the communication of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery efforts, particularly evacuation/shelter-in- place/quarantine orders. In this latter case, the information provided must be clear as to the need for evacuation/shelter-in-place/quarantine, if appropriate. This is most often performed through media interfaces and notification systems that provide emergency information quickly and accu- rately through television, radio, Internet, emergency call numbers, DMSs, other ATIS subsys- tems, and media outlets. It is important to note that the state transportation agency is likely to be carrying out these communication activities while providing support to the Public Informa- tion System within the framework of NIMS. As appropriate, the agency should define its public communication protocols in a separate plan or procedure that is maintained as an appendix or annex to its EOP. These plans should also address how emergency information will be commu- nicated to freight haulers and other travelers and tourists in the region. 16 Those resources for public outreach controlled by the state transportation agency, such as TMCs, DMSs, etc., would be activated by the agency, but they should be closely coordinated with the JIC, as appropriate.

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Develop an Emergency Preparedness Program 55 National Incident Management System Compliance Issues. To achieve NIMS compliance, Apply common and consistent terminology as used in NIMS, including establishment of plain language (clear text) communications standards. Use systems, tools, and processes to present consistent and accurate information (e.g., com- mon operating picture) during an incident/planned event. Institutionalize public information (e.g., JIS and a JIC) within the ICS framework during an incident/planned event. Ensure that public information procedures and processes can gather, verify, coordinate, and disseminate information during an incident/planned event. Develop procedures and protocols for communications (to include voice, data, access to geospatial information, Internet/Web use, and data encryption), where applicable, to use or share information during an incident/planned event Institute procedures and protocols for operational and information security during an incident/ planned event. Supporting Resources. Communicating With the Public Using ATIS During Disasters: A Guide for Practitioners, http://www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/atis/index.htm Step Observations To support state transportation agencies in completing this task, in April 2007, FHWA released Communicating with the Public Using ATIS during Disasters, A Guide for Practitioners (FHWA, 2007). This document is an excellent resource for transportation agencies for determin- ing how to best use ATIS during emergency events and disasters to communicate with the pub- lic. It offers guidance to transportation, emergency operations, and public information managers who may be called to support emergency preparation, response, and recovery efforts. To assist state and other governments and the overall emergency management community in addressing this matter, DHS created Safe Communication (SAFECOM)--a communications program that provides research, development, testing and evaluation; guidance, tools; and tem- plates on interoperable communications-related issues.17 As a primary initiative, SAFECOM has developed the Statewide Communications Interoperability Planning (SCIP) Methodology. As the title implies, this document provides a methodology for state, regional, and local governments to create a SCIP that establishes the "vision for communications interoperability and aligns emergency response agencies with that vision, and the goals, objectives, and initiatives for achiev- ing that vision across the state" (DHS, 2007b). SAFECOM has also developed the Interoperability Continuum, presented in Figure 9, to help the emergency response community "plan and implement interoperability solutions." The Con- tinuum addresses five interdependent factors involved in developing a successful interoperabil- ity solution--governance, SOPs, technology, training and exercises, and use of interoperable communications. Progress across each of these factors should be made jointly. This resource is mentioned here because many states are at different stages of development in improving their statewide emergency response communications interoperability. DHS reports that a 2006 survey18 of response agencies across the nation revealed that about two-thirds have interoperable communications, which is a great improvement over that of pre-9/11; however, transportation agencies were not included in the survey, and, more significantly, are not believed to be routinely included in these networks. It is therefore important for state transportation 17 Visit http://www.safecomprogram.gov/SAFECOM/. 18 Visit http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1165603330445.shtm.

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56 A Guide to Emergency Response Planning at State Transportation Agencies Source: DHS, 2007b Figure 9. SAFECOM interoperability continuum. agencies to determine if their states have established a SCIP, and if so, to comply with the require- ments of the plan. If the agency determines that the state has not yet developed a SCIP, it is rec- ommended that this resource be used during its development process. State transportation agencies should also ensure that their communication protocols include receiving intelligence and threat information from federal agencies and other state, regional, and local agencies. The state and regional Fusion Centers (see Appendix F) would be a key point of contact for this. Step Checklist To evaluate the state transportation agency's processes for establishing communication pro- tocols and mechanisms for public outreach, the agency should consider whether it Has established communication protocols to ensure that calling trees and notification systems, including 24/7 event notification protocols, exist to notify transportation agency employees regarding emergencies, to communicate with them during emergencies, and to distribute emergency materials in advance of events. Has developed media interface and notification systems to ensure the state transportation agency has the capability to provide traveler and evacuation information quickly and accu- rately to media outlets and the public. Knows and routinely works with emergency response and first responder decisionmakers, trans- portation professionals in adjacent jurisdictions, and transportation professionals in other modes. Has participated in discussions pertaining to interoperable communications issues, and the agency is included in the distribution of intelligence and threat information.