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7 CHAPTER 2: COURSE DEVELOPMENT AND PILOT PROGRAMS NCHRP 20-59 (30) Incident Command System (ICS) for Field-Level Transportation Supervisors and Staff Developed by Mineta Transportation Institute Frances L. Edwards, MUP, PhD, CEM, Principal Investigator Daniel C. Goodrich, MPA, CEM, MEP, CSS, Research Associate James Griffith, MPA, Student Research Associate July 18, 2015
8 BACKGROUND In 2013 the Transportation Research Board undertook NCHRP Synthesis 20-05/Topic 44-12, Interactive Training for All-Hazards Emergency Planning, Preparation, and Response for Maintenance and Operations Field Personnel, to discover what kinds of Incident Command System (ICS) training were being offered for State Department of Transportation (State DOT) field supervisors and personnel. Yuko Nakanishi, Ph.D. and Pierre Auza researched the kinds of training available, and discovered a gap. (Nakanishi and Auza, 2015) There was a robust collection of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Independent Study on-line courses on ICS, as well as a number of classroom half day and full day courses, but none was designed especially for transportation personnel. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) created National Incident Management System â A Workbook for State Department of Transportation Front Line Workers (2009) to provide ICS training that was transportation oriented and did not require computer skills, but it required extended reading and writing to complete. Even the FEMA IS-100.PW that was designed for public works personnelâwhich might have been expected to include transportation workersâfocused more on floods, pipelines and energy issues and little on transportation-specific roles like evacuation support, debris management and restoring traffic circulation to and within damaged areas. There was also no short course that would be appropriate for a field personnel training day where multiple topics would be covered, nor any brief refresher sessions suitable for tailgate meetings at the beginning of the work day. Nakanishi and Auza noted the importance of this gap and the need to fill it. âEmergency response is becoming a larger part of state, tribal, and local transportation staffsâ responsibilities,
9 from the front office to the front linesâ in NCHRP Synthesis 468 (p. 5). âAs budgets tighten, public sector employees are being asked to do more with fewer resources.â (p.6) â[Training] is needed â¦ to prepare field personnel to perform reliably and effectively with other partners under the National Incident Management System (NIMS), regardless of the agenciesâ size or the nature of the occurrence, leading to improved preparedness for emergencies.â (p. 6) State departments of transportation are required by the National Incident Management System (NIMS) (HSPD-5, 2003) to offer ICS-100 and IS-700 for all personnel who may be part of a field response using ICS, with supervisors needing additional training at least to the ICS-200 level. Homeland Security Presidential Directiveâ5 requires all Federal departments and agencies to adopt the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and to use it in their individual incident management programs and activities, as well as in support of all actions taken to assist State, tribal, and local governments. The directive requires Federal departments and agencies to make adoption of NIMS by State, tribal, and local organizations a condition for Federal preparedness assistance (through grants, contracts, and other activities).â (FHWA, 2009, p. ii.) While Presidential Policy Directive-8: National Preparedness (PPD-8) (2011) removed the NIMS training mandates that used to detail the specific ICS training required for personnel in specified organization levels (DHS, 2011), and substituted the achievement of locally-driven core capabilities for the training mandates (DHS, 2011, p. 8; Edwards, 2015), the need to deliver the basic information on field level ICS integration among agencies still remains. There are several challenges to State DOT agencies in delivering meaningful ICS training to field personnel. First, State DOT field-level personnel may have little exposure to ICS beyond the computer-based or workbook-based class. Second, and perhaps most important, ICS is a seldom- used skill for most State DOT field personnel. Therefore, State DOT field personnel would benefit from a more interactive approach to delivering the ICS information, based on principles of andragogy, for example as expressed in the discussion-based âsandboxâ approach to training.
10 When State DOT personnel are in the field they need to be able to assert their roles in ICS to personnel in other professions who may not understand transportation personnel as emergency response providers, but only view them as ancillary âlogisticsâ providers. As Caltransâ poster asserts, âNo roads, no codes,â meaning that without passable and safe highways the other emergency response providers cannot reach the victims or areas of need, so collaboration among highway patrol and State DOT personnel is essential to manage traffic and road operations, while collaboration with fire and EMS personnel is required to meet the life safety needs of the traveling public. During 2009-2010 the researchers had been delivering emergency operations center training courses to the staff members of a large stateâs DOT. The researchers visited all the districts in the state and heard a consistent message: transportation workers have a problem integrating with ICS structures in the field. The three most common challenges were maintaining the safety of staff in a highly dynamic environment like a wildland fire or flood, obtaining adequate personnel support like meals and sleeping accommodations at remote ICS events, and getting the support of DOT field staff members in documenting the event and the work to support requests for reimbursement from federal and state sources to protect district maintenance budgets. These themes provided a framework for developing the modules in this course. In 2014 TRB funded a project to fill the training gap by creating both a transportation- oriented brief refresher on ICS principles and terminology, and a set of transportation-oriented refresher presentations and supporting ICS aides that would be appropriate for briefing training at the beginning of a work day, or as short modules during a day-long multi-purpose training event. Specific tasks were established to lead to the desired set of andragogy-informed training elements. Recognizing that many State DOT field level personnel are unused to being indoors for
11 long periods of time, and to sitting during the workday, the course was designed to take less than 1 hour to deliver the basic ICS refreshers (Module 1a), and less than one hour to review the ICS position roles (Module 1b). The class was designed to be flexible in its scheduling, as either multiple 1 hour events or short events as part of a longer training day. A second module was developed using the âsandboxâ approach to interactive learning, where kinetic aspects include having students use a scenario to understand the work of ICS, and to move small vehicles around to exemplify the actions needed. METHODOLOGY Several methodologies were used in the design and construction of the course suite. First a literature review was conducted to determine what courses might be available and what strategies might best support the development of the needed State DOT field staff ICS materials. Next leaders of two State DOTs, Tennessee and Florida, were interviewed to obtain information for meaningful scenarios that could be used in the kinetic aspects of the training. In addition an interview with a Washington State contract engineer was conducted to understand aspects of the Skagit Bridge collapse and reconstruction that might be useful in developing course materials. A well-known fire service ICS expert, Fire Chief Gerald Kohlmann of South San Francisco Fire Department, served as the subject matter expert for the interface between State DOT field personnel and ICS on the State Highway System (SHS), or when State DOT personnel were assisting with off-SHS ICS activities, such as wildland fire access management. The researchers then developed a three aspect training set to meet the needs of State DOT field personnel. The classroom course Modules 1a was developed as a PowerPoint-supported lecture. Module 1b was developed as an interactive presentation with the students actively
12 engaged in using the supporting materials. Module 2 was developed to reinforce the classroom training using the âsandboxâ approach with small cars and simulated road to demonstrate the ICS principles and possible State DOT field staff roles, from joining an existing ICS to starting an ICS. Next, briefing training was developed on three key ICS aspects â safety, communication and collaboration with other agencies - to be delivered in 15 minute segments during a tailgate meeting, or as a brief training refresher. Finally, four scenarios were developed that would be used for a 10 minute discussion-based âsandboxâ refresher, using little vehicles to simulate the management of the event. A speedy presentation would challenge personnel to think quickly, but the same scenarios and approach could be used in a longer 30 minute format as a teaching tool. The teaching materials are in Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. Following completion of the teaching materials, Modules 1a and 1b were piloted with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) personnel in nine diverse districts. Due to the size of the state they can offer a variety of State DOT environments, from deserts to the Sierra Nevada, with one district having both the highest (Mt. Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the continental âlower 48.â Pilot Caltrans districts included the densely populated Bay Area, Los Angeles metro, Sacramento metro and Inland Empire, as well as the sparsely populated northern rain forest, Central Valley, high desert and the remote Sierra Nevada Mountains in the northeastern portion of the state. Weather conditions span freezing and avalanches to intense heat and monsoons. The workforce is diverse as to age, ethnicity, gender, political perspective, and educational level. Collaborators in the field range from local government police, fire, EMS and transportation staff, to state highway patrol and fire agency personnel, to the National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency. This diversity mirrors the nation, so the reactions to the delivery of the course to State DOT field
13 forces facing most of the typical challenges of State Highway System management, including a wide range of collaborators and hazards, provided a reasonable sample of probable reactions. Student evaluations were collected from 205 of the 278 individuals trained in nine districts over six months. However, it should be noted that various states have different approaches to integrating transportation personnel into ICS. In Tennessee, for example, transportation personnel are part of a unified command structure with highway patrol and fire/EMS personnel. In other states the public safety responders may be less cordial in welcoming their non-uniformed emergency response colleagues, and in one instance a federal fire Incident Commander even refused to allow the transportation personnel to attend briefings or receive copies of the Incident Action Plan. It is to be hoped that by training transportation field level personnel in ICS they will be better prepared to be full partners in ICS-managed events and assert their need to be part of the ICS structure for safety and personnel accountability reasons. Following the completion of the first five pilot programs, three State DOT leaders and one Amtrak leader were sent the course materials and supporting tools created for this program for their evaluation of their usefulness in other states. Interviews in Olympia and Boise were held while the last four pilot deliveries were completed. July interviews in Boston included both MassDOT and Amtrak, which had recently suffered a fatal derailment in Philadelphia, so their response to the value of the class for rail-based transportation was sought. As the course materials were developed they were sent to the panel for review in January and April, 2015. Each set of comments was incorporated into the course at the next delivery. The materials sent in July, 2015 represented the integration of the comments from the panel, the students and the State DOT leaders.
14 Following the panel review in July a final revision was completed and course materials and an explanatory PowerPoint can be found at http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/173984.aspx. LITERATURE REVIEW Professional ICS There is a variety of training material available at the FEMA Independent Study website. IS- 100.b (2013) offers computer-based training on basic ICS, and while intended to be generic is public safety-oriented. IS-100.PWb (2013) offers computer-based training on ICS for public works personnel, with public works photos. While the public works course includes discussion of pipe breaks and flooding as triggers for using ICS, the issue of roads as the means for delivering all other services is not addressed, and little transportation application information is provided. Various ICS resources outside of FEMA were also investigated. Californiaâs Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) (2006) course materials for state agencies were reviewed to determine applicability of the state agency-oriented ICS courses to a national audience. The Federal Highway Administrationâs (FHWA) National Incident Management System â A Workbook for State Department of Transportation Front Line Workers (2009) provides optional course delivery for ICS, using transportation oriented materials and a âpen and paperâ workbook format for those without ready access to the internet, or who prefer not to use a computer for training. There are a variety of guidance materials that provide information on the role of State DOT in ICS field level implementation. The Department of Homeland Securityâs (DHS) National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) 2013: Partnering for Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (2013) discusses the achievement of NIPP goals under the new Presidential Policy
15 Directive-8 (PPD-8): National Preparedness (2011) and PPD-21: Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (2013) approaches, with transportation as part of the National Preparedness Goal (FEMA, 2015), and DOT as a co-lead with DHS on transportation issues (NIPP, 2013, Table 1, Sector and Cross-Sector Coordinating Structures, p. 11). The new PPD-21 (2013) structure emphasizes the importance of collaboration across sectors, across levels of government and with the private sector, which own 85% of the nationâs critical infrastructure. (DHS, 2004) PPD-8 (2011) describes an emergency response organization that encompasses the âwhole community,â including not just government entities but also private sector and non-profit organizations. Part of facilitating collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions in the field is understanding the meaning of the terms used for various entities when they respond to an event. State DOT field level students have reported being refused integration into the ICS by some agencies because they were ânot public safety.â Understanding the meaning of terms â for example âpublic safetyâ is a human resources term related to pensions and benefits â helps to clarify that transportation personnel are an integral part of response to any event involving the use of the State Highway System, and that as such they are âemergency response providers,â just like law enforcement and fire personnel. That definition is found in the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which is still in effect. NCHRP Research Results Digest 385: The Legal Definitions of â First Responderâ clarifies the definition of those who work at the scene of an emergency and their roles. It notes that although the term âfirst responderâ was used in HSPD-8 (2003) to define the roles of public works personnel and heavy equipment operators, which would include many members of State DOT field staff, that presidential directive was overridden by PPD-8 (2011), so there is no longer a legal basis for that definition. PPD-8 was praised for its expanded definitions section that dealt with resilience and the five phases of emergency management, but it did not
16 define field responders in any category. (Edwards, 2015) State DOT staff participation in the collection of documentation to facilitate reimbursement is an important aspect of ICS section work. It is important for the Operations Section staff at an event using ICS to document the damage, their work and the finished project to facilitate the collection of reimbursement for the work from the appropriate federal or state entity, which may not become available for many months after the event. For example, one large state DOT district did not collect cost information on the use of its internal personnel and equipment during a winter-weather-related disaster because there was no disaster declaration at the time, and they had no expectation of reimbursement. However, four months later a disaster declaration was issued for that event, but by then it was too late to try to recreate the records of which personnel and equipment were used in the disaster response. Based on the research it appears that State DOTs have relatively small âemergency fundsâ that are designed as cushions to permit emergency contracts to be issued for unexpected damages to the State Highway System. They are not large enough to permanently bear the whole cost of such repairs. Rather most serve as revolving funds that allow emergency work to start while permanent financing for the repairs is obtained from another entity. The FWHA Emergency Relief Manual 2013 describes the changes to FHWA reimbursement requirements for state highway system damages, especially debris- removal-related expenses which may be reimbursed through FEMA. Managing two sets of reimbursement requests to two different agencies requires the cooperation of all State DOT field workers, since expenses for emergency repairs may mean that programmed projects are delayed, deferred or cancelled, which may cost jobs. The NCHRP 20-59 (37) report Debris Management Handbook for Local and State DOTs (Drenan and Treloar, 2012) also contains information not only on reimbursement for debris removal but also offers guidance on managing the debris
17 removal project and forms that might be useful in organizing the debris removal program. ICS and Transportation The field response to any emergency event, including traffic accidents, requires the use of NIMS, and at the field-level NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS). (HSPD-5, 2003) âThis system will provide a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together to prepare for, respond to, and recover from domestic incidents, regardless of cause, size, or complexity. â (HSPD-5, 2003, (15)) Furthermore, the FHWA Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices states, âNIMS requires the use of ICS at traffic management scenes.â (2009, p. 726). Thus all State DOT personnel must use ICS in the field at any emergency event. As noted above, PPD-8: National Preparednessâ Whole Community approach (2011) and PPD-21: Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (2013) both mark an expanded understanding of the role of State DOT personnel as partners in ICS. Furthermore, the National Preparedness Goal (2011) and the related Response Frameworks added Critical Transportation as one of the 14 âCore Capabilities,â in the Response Mission (DHS, 2014, p. 6), acknowledging for the first time the pivotal role that transportation plays in response to all emergencies. One tactic for use at a highway-related emergency that involves response by multiple agencies is the US DOT, SHRP2, Traffic Incident Management (2013) training program. TIM provides a framework for managing traffic incidents, integrating and coordinating the positioning and use of law, fire, emergency medical, transportation and other resources. The TIM method serves as a âsupporting planâ for the ICSâs Incident Action Plan, giving the Incident Commander a coordinated tactic for managing multiple agencies at the site of an event.
18 State DOT field level personnel serve a critical role in emergency response to events of all sizes, as the managers of the nationâs critical highway infrastructure, and as the link between the traveling public and the emergency services that may need to be delivered. âNo roads, no codes,â is indeed a true slogan. The purpose of the new âIncident Command System (ICS) for Field Level Transportation Supervisors and Personnelâ course with a more interactive format is to prepare State DOT field level personnel to be part of the new approach to emergency response that recognizes âcritical transportationâ as a âcore capabilityâ and an essential element of the emergency management cycle. ICS and Andragogy The âICS for Field Level Transportation Supervisors and Personnelâ course is designed for adult learners who generally work outdoors doing physical activity. They are not desk and computer- oriented in their normal work day, and do not generally spend time in indoor meetings. Therefore, the âInstructor is challenged to grab their attentionâ (Edwards and Goodrich, 2014, p. 40) Thus the ICS training has to be tailored to include activities that will hold their interest and include kinetic elements and group participation. The challenge of maintaining the interest of adult learners is well known among educators. In 1980 Knowles recognized the special considerations that make teaching adults (andragogy) different from teaching children (pedagogy). In his landmark work on educating adults he said, as a person matures, 1) his self-concept moves from one of being a dependent personality toward one of being a self-directed human being; 2) he accumulates a growing reservoir of experience that becomes an increasing resource of learning; 3) his readiness to learn becomes orientated increasingly to the developmental tasks of his social roles; and 4) his time perspective changes from one of postponed application of knowledge to immediacy of application, and accordingly his orientation toward learning shifts from one of subject-centered to one of problem- centeredâ (Knowles 1980, p. 39).
19 Using Knowlesâ paradigms the âICS for Field-Level Transportation Supervisors and Staffâ incorporates didactic training of under one hour, paired with participatory engagement and kinetic activities to reinforce learning. Further, Zmeyov (1998) noted that âThe learning of an adult is largely determined by his/her life context, i.e., time, place, daily life and occupational, social and family factors. The adult learning process is characterized by the leading role of the learner himself or herself. The learner and the teacher co-operate in all stages of learning, i.e., in the planning, realization, evaluation and correction of the learning process. (Zmeyov 1998, p. 106; in Edwards and Goodrich, 2014, p. 41.) âA classroom presentation of the [ICS] highlights illustrated with meaningful local examples is one way to impart useful knowledge.â (Edwards and Goodrich, 2014, p.40) In its train-the-trainer courses FEMA also encourages a problem-centered approach to training. Trainers are encouraged to âprovide opportunities to critically reflect upon and immediately apply new learning in order to transfer that learning into habitual practiceâ (DHS 2011a, 4-5) âRecognizing that students in the transportation sector training are adults, and that the teaching environment is driven by the learner, trainers have to devise techniques and strategies that engage them and clearly demonstrate the relevance of the subject being taught in their life contexts.â (Edwards and Goodrich, 2014, p. 41) FEMA further states, âthose responsible for implementing the training program will benefit their students by sequencing the training and exercises offered in such a way as to allow the students the ability to directly and immediately apply their new learning in the operational context. This â¦ will assist the adult learners in readily transferring their new learning into habitual practice in their operational contextâ (DHS 2011a, 5).
20 The âICS for Field-Level Transportation Supervisors and Staffâ is designed to impart some basic knowledge about ICS through a lecture format that also uses practical application examples for check-in, check-out, demobilization and data collection. It includes segments on developing a personal support kit and professional support kit for work, and engaging in family preparedness activities to ensure the familyâs ability to manage in a disaster without the employee. The second part of the class engages the learners in reading the ICS guidance and taking roles within ICS. The third segment uses the kinetic âsandboxâ approach, with students using small vehicles to simulate the response to and management of an event. Thus the see/hear/do paradigm of andragogy is exemplified in the course structure. One requirement of the new course was that it include refresher elements that could be offered at tailgate meetings or in other brief training environments. The National Fire Academy (2015) developed Coffee Break Training topics for fire personnel, recognizing that few departments could send personnel to longer training sessions. These brief sessions can be completed in one coffee break of 15 minutes, yet provide useful information on one focused topic within fire service or public outreach. This approach was used as a model for organizing the brief modules on central ICS topics: safety, communications and collaboration with other agencies. It also informed the creation of four scenario-based trainings that can use the âsandboxâ approach to practice different transportation activities that are possible within ICS: joining an existing ICS, serving as a technical expert, participating in unified command, or assuming command of an event from another entity. Knowles (1980) notes that âTraining â¦ must be interactive to be effective. The students will be adults, whose motivation for learning is different from children. They are seeking problem- centered presentations that have immediate application to their jobs and life experiences.â (p. 41)
21 The âICS for Field Level Transportation Supervisors and Staffâ course is designed to meet the needs for refreshing ICS knowledge in a short time in a way that will engender interest in the participants and enhance learning. COURSE MATERIALS The course materials were developed using the standard FEMA IS-100.b as the base. Based on the NIMS requirements for employee training, the course was designed to be a transportation- specific refresher on the critical issues of ICS for transportation field level personnel. The three areas of emphasis grew out of a review of ICS-100, 200, 300 and 400 principles and strategies, and the researchersâ previous experience training State DOT personnel. The TRB project required three specific types of training offerings: classroom-based refresher, tailgate meeting training topics and discussion-based training scenarios. The following course materials were developed specifically for State DOT field-level personnel, although interviews with Amtrak managers suggest that track-based transportation systems could also use the materials with slight local customization. Basic ICS Course Several supporting elements were developed for use in teaching the âICS for Field Level Transportation Supervisors and Staffâ course. The base element was a PowerPoint show module of about 45 minutes of lecture as an ICS refresher with a complete script, and another PowerPoint show module and script that was designed to be used interactively with the Supervisor Folder and Quick Start cards. Since all materials are available on the TRB website (http://www.trborg/Main/Blurbs/173984.aspx) in native format the photos can be changed to
22 reflect events and disaster types that are familiar to the audience. This was packaged as the Instructor Guide, which included guidance on running a âsandboxâ exercise. To facilitate training in multiple types of venues, a video of the PPT with voiceover was created for self-study, or for group use when a trained instructor is unavailable. A student manual was created that displays the PPT slides in a two per page format. This was selected rather than the traditional three slides with lines because the slides are easier to read in this format. The student guide includes a set of fliers on preparing a work vehicle emergency self- support kit, and developing an appropriate professional âdrive-awayâ kit for the employeeâs field role in an emergency, especially in remote locations or for an extended period of time. Items that are emphasized in the lecture are having adequate water and medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, available at all times. Another section includes a selection of fliers to assist the employee in preparing his family for his absence during a disaster that may affect the area where his family lives, as well as his work site. Items emphasized in the lecture include the disaster service worker program, so families understand why the employee is required to be at work, gathering vital records to ensure that the family can get whatever non-profit and federal individual assistance might be available, and keeping the childâs school and day care emergency information up to date, as well as similar information for older dependent adults in the household. The final segment of the student folder is a set of reference materials, including a glossary of terms and an acronym list. Information about the sponsoring organization and the speakers is also included. These materials were first reviewed by Fire Chief Gerry Kohlmann of South San Francisco Fire Department, a subject matter expert on the Incident Command System. After being modified
23 based on his guidance the materials were sent to the NCHRP panel for peer review and comment. Their modifications were integrated into the materials after each set of comments was received. The course was piloted nine times in a large State DOT, and student surveys were taken each time, generating 205 responses out of 278 students in attendance. The final version was distributed to the panel in July 2015. The course emphasizes several transportation-specific issues. The first is âTransportation is the key to all emergency response: no roads, no codes.â This leads to a discussion of the need for coordination among emergency responders, that transportation personnel are âemergency response providers,â and as such are an integral part of the incident command system. The topic then shifts to the five possible roles that transportation personnel might play in an emergency response using ICS. The most common role is joining an existing ICS, most often in an Operations Section function. In many states the highway patrol is Incident Commander (IC) on the state highway system when the event is a traffic circulation problem, and fire is IC when there are life safety or hazardous materials issues. Transportation personnel join ICS to manage information to the public using changeable message signs, portable signs, cones and other signals and signage. They may inspect bridges and tunnels, remove debris, trim landscaping, provide expedient repairs of the road surface and open emergency access for use by other emergency services, such as fire, law enforcement and medical. A second common role is as a technical specialist in the Plans Section. Transportation personnel may be bridge inspectors, hazardous materials specialists or have other skills needed by the Incident Commander to manage the event. A third common role is as a member of a unified command with fire and highway patrol. When an event occurs on a state highway system element the fire department is typically legally
24 responsible for life safety issues, the law enforcement agency is responsible for traffic flow, and the transportation agency is responsible for the usability of the road for safe passage. An ICS subject matter expert from an urban area noted that when he was IC at an event on the state highway system he always integrated State DOT into ICS when there was an accident or spill on the road, and looked to them for guidance on when the highway could safely be opened. His experience showed that while the highway patrol was always anxious to restore traffic flow the State DOT personnel had a more global view of the issues that needed to be addressed before traffic could safely use the highway again, such as how slippery the surface might still be from a spill or how strong a highway element might be after a fire, flood or explosion. A fourth role for the State DOT could be assuming command from another entity. It might be assumption of command from the fire IC after all life safety issues were addressed, or from law enforcement when the traffic had been cleared to allow for remediation of road surface conditions. In one large state a mud flow onto the roadway at rush hour resulted in the highway patrol starting ICS to manage the traffic safety issues and get the relevant lanes closed safely. The State DOT then assumed Incident Command to perform a geotechnical study to determine whether the flow was likely to restart or worsen, and then to engineer and install protective material to hold back further rain-driven displacements. Once the protective barrier was installed and the mud was cleaned from the road, Incident Command was returned to law enforcement for the reopening of the lanes and restoration of traffic circulation patterns. Finally, State DOT might be the initial Incident Commander if the event occurred adjacent to their work area, especially in a remote area or in the midst of heavily congested traffic, either of which could slow highway patrol response. The State DOT personnel can conduct a safety assessment of the work force, notify the TMC of the occurrence, size up the incidentâs scope and
25 immediately obvious challenges, document immediately available resources for managing the event, and start the ICS documentation. Whenever highway patrol arrives there can be a turnover of command, with the new IC benefitting from the information collection and the beginning of the ICS structure. State DOT personnel can then either continue in some roles, like Plans Section Chief, or start an Operations Section to begin resolving the event under the direction of the law enforcement Incident Commander. Agencies should discuss the preferred order of ICS appointments and operations in their states. Based on laws, protocols or traditions there may be other ICS activities that are started in the first 10-15 minutes. In some states it is assumed that State DOT staff are all trained in safety, so the order of operations might be Plans, Logistics, Liaison and Operations, with Safety being appointed after more personnel arrive. If multiple jurisdictions will be involved at an event, a Liaison Officer might be more useful to the IC to integrate incoming personnel into the system efficiently. In a large scale event it might be prudent to appoint an Operations Chief early so that the IC can maintain the overall management of the event while the Operations Chief focuses on tasks to begin to resolve the problem. As noted earlier, family preparedness is the key to keeping State DOT staff at work. Employees who are worried about their families will either leave work to assist them or be distracted worrying about their safety. This segment reviews the steps that families can take in advance to prepare for emergencies, and encourages State DOT staff to join the local community emergency response team so that they are part of a network of trained people who can help each other in emergencies. The course also emphasizes the NIMS/ICS focus on performing reliably and effectively under ICS. Three elements that support these objectives are safety, personnel accountability and
26 reimbursement. The course notes that ICS is a seldom-used skill for most State DOT personnel, and describes how safety, personnel accountability and assistance with reimbursement are important parts of a State DOT workerâs implementation of ICS in the field. The supervisorâs folder is introduced as a tool for helping State DOT personnel begin ICS effectively, with support focusing on the first 15 minutes while they await the arrival of law or fire personnel with more qualifications and certifications to be Incident Commander. These tools include the Quick Start Cards that detail the first steps for some key ICS positions in each of the five likely State DOT ICS roles. There is also a cardboard display for ICS forms or other information that arriving responders would need, a complete ICS Field Operations Guide (FOG ICS 420) to provide complete information for an unfolding event, and pens and pads to begin the event documentation process in a field environment with limited electronic capabilities. Student feedback on this class and the tools was solicited in all nine of the pilot districts. Overall 72% of students rated the class 5 (excellent) or 4 (good). The statistics on the response are reported below. Another element of the program is a pair of strategies for providing refresher training on ICS in a shorter format. Once a student has completed one of the available ICS 100 courses, or the course described here, he can refresh his knowledge through presentation of topics or discussion of scenarios, which may also use the âsandboxâ approach of using small vehicles to represent the management of an event using ICS. As part of this project both types of resources were developed. Briefing training topics were designed to be used at a tailgate meeting or some other short training event. The lead instructor would present a few PowerPoint slides focused on one topic that is important for ICS implementation. Example briefings on safety, communications and
27 collaboration with other agencies are provided as a PowerPoint show with a script. State DOTs can use these as models to develop additional briefing topics that are relevant to the state and district. Discussion-based scenarios offer examples of the use of ICS in four of the ways that are presented in class. These can be used at a tailgate meeting or other short training venue. In this case the students are presented with a scenario and some questions about how to manage it. The instructor guide includes suggested answers or discussion elements. The sandbox approach with little vehicles is an effective method for presenting these scenarios. Both of these techniques follow the principles of andragogy by involving the students in solving the problems using the ICS methods that were recently learned. State DOT leaders and Amtrak managers all agreed that these approaches were likely to engender discussion and critical thinking in the field level staff, who could relate these events to their own work. FINDINGS Research was conducted using both interviews and surveys. The interviews were initiated by the researchers with the assistance of TRB. The surveys were distributed to all the students in each of the nine classes taught during the contract period. Interviews The researchers interviewed eleven transportation professionals with a background in emergency management and Incident Command System (ICS) use within the transportation sector. They were from State DOTs in Florida, Idaho, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Washington State, as well as Amtrak. Two of the interviews were conducted when the course was in outline
28 form, while the other nine were conducted after the interviewees had received copies of the instructor and student manuals and the complete supervisorâs folder, including the Quick Start cards. They were asked a consistent set of questions about ICS and transportation in their jurisdictions. 1. Has State DOT been teaching ICS to the field crews? All interviewees stated that ICS 100 was either offered through new employees orientation, promotional training or was encouraged as part of other types of employee education. Four noted that IS-700 was included, and 3 stated that ICS 200 was either offered to field supervisors or they were encouraged to take it on-line. 2. Have State DOT employees used ICS when working with highway patrol or fire agency? All eleven interviewees provided examples of when State DOT workers used ICS in the field in collaboration with fire and law enforcement personnel. These examples were captured and some were used to enhance the examples for the sandbox training. One state transportation professional who was interviewed for this project noted that, âIn urban areas the highway patrol will be at the scene in a few minutes, but in rural areas of the state, the [State] DOT staff may have to start ICS.â An Amtrak official noted that, âWe always have unified command when the railway is involvedâ in an emergency. State DOTs have used ICS in the field in a variety of events, and have faced the same challenges of integrating with other professions efficiently, although the degree of integration varies among states, and between urban and rural settings. 3. Does State DOT have a system in place to capture costs for time/equipment/personnel in emergency response? All interviewees responded that the agency has an accounting system to track costs of an
29 emergency event. One noted that their system has worked well and described a robust cooperative relationship with FHWAâs emergency repair program. Three noted that reimbursement is less difficult when photos are included that clearly document the damage and the work being performed to restore the road. Two described the challenges of debris removal cost management with the new MAP-21 rules that sometimes bring FEMA in as a funding agency. 4. Does State DOT have a mechanism to track personnel for safety in dynamic situations? All interviewees stated that there was a system in place for safety oversight, and that it worked well in highway accidents and events with static environments. One mentioned a dynamic event in which ICS proved beneficial in knowing the location of all workers. Another mentioned the importance of ICS in ensuring that there was continuous oversight of all elements of safety, such as power and gas lines, off-highway traffic signal operations and local road closures, some of which are outside the scope of normal State DOT safety programs. One interviewee mentioned the challenge of getting all State DOT personnel integrated into the ICS safety officerâs oversight, which often focuses on fire personnel and their proper use of personal protective equipment. Another pointed out that State DOT personnel may not take the initiative in engaging with an existing ICS structure. He stated that State DOT field personnel may feel that they know their own work and do not want to be told what to do by another entity, so they may be reluctant to check-in. Emphasizing check-in as a safety element may help to resolve this problem. 5. Would the draft TRB ICS class be useful for your field personnel to prepare them to use ICS for NIMS compliance and safety? All interviewees stated that the draft class would be useful for their staff members. Five stated that State DOT field level staff members understand and retain more from ICS training that is
30 transportation-specific, where the illustrations and examples closely match their personal work environments, and where interactive teaching methods are used. âFor field staff, sitting in front of a computer [for IS-100, IS-200 and IS-700] does not result in learning that is retained.â Four expressed the need for the tailgate training approach. âNew employee orientationâ and âpromotion-based academiesâ are being used for basic and advanced ICS training in many State DOTs, so refresher training is needed. After some discussion four interviewees suggested that a fifth scenario be added to the discussion training for when State DOT field personnel start ICS, as at the scene of an accident in a rural setting. One of the interviewees suggested adding a reference to the âtime to clearanceâ standard in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), p. 729 to the ICS class. This helps to define whether the event will be short, medium or long, and might help the initial supervisor on site to decide whether to start ICS or not. He also noted that the traffic dispatch center staff should be trained in ICS, which should be included in the dispatch operations manuals, since coaching from the dispatcher might make ICS implementation early in the event more common. Some triggers for ICS implementation in addition to time to clearance might be the involvement of multiple agencies in managing the event, or locally-created time-to-clearance standards that exceed the MUTCD standards. All of the interviewees commented on the importance of the personal and family preparedness information that is included in the course, but is generally omitted from standard ICS training. The emphasis on water and medication was endorsed by six of the interviewees. One stated that family and individual preparedness is crucial in having State DOT field-level staff remain at work or return expeditiously in a regional disaster, such as flooding, snow storms, and power outages. Another stated, âOur CEO has been emphasizing getting the family ready to keep
31 employees on the job.â Three interviewees said they would build a âlunch and learnâ session around the family preparedness information. One interviewee said he would add these fliers to an existing employee readiness program that lacked family resources. 6. Would the draft TRB ICS Quick Start card sets be useful for State DOT field personnel at the scene of an event as a refresher for first actions? All nine of the interviewees who saw the card sets were enthusiastic about their benefits to field crews. Six were very interested in having the MSWord version of the cards so that unique aspects of response in that state could be added. One stated, âState DOTs will benefit from taking a standardized set of guidance materials and being able to customize the details to match their individual circumstances, such as staffing and hazards.â Four were interested in adding an Operations Chief card for use after the development of the Incident Action Plan. In three organizations this led to discussion about the purpose of the cards (just first 15 minutes or longer time), the tie between ICS and federal guidance like the Federal Highway Emergency Response Guidebook, and state rules on what constitutes a major emergency where ICS would be likely to be needed. All nine interviewees agreed that ICS is a seldom-used skill for most State DOT field workers and supervisors, so simplified guidance for starting and using ICS is beneficial, including guidance on the five different aspects of ICS where State DOT personnel may work or lead. One interviewee noted that guidance developed for State DOT field workers can be easily customized to meet the needs of rail-based transportation agencies. Another stated that âConductors already focus on passenger and crew safety in an emergency, while station and track staff could fill other ICS roles.â One interviewee suggested also having the card sets in the TMC, perhaps as an electronic
32 prompt for the dispatcher. He suggested that some training on the interface between the field and the TMC in an ICS event would be beneficial. This led to a discussion of the possible development of an app for smart phones that some State DOT field personnel are assigned. 7. Would the draft TRB supervisor folder of ICS forms be useful at an emergency event when ICS is needed? All nine of the interviewees who saw the supervisorâs folder liked the concept of a central location where basic information about the event could be posted. They all approved of the low cost, the functionality of the zip lock top pockets for the forms, and the compact size that would easily fit behind the seat in a work truck. Having extra forms and instructions in each pocket was universally endorsed. However, no one was convinced that State DOT field crews would use the ICS forms in all events. Three interviewees thought that if the State DOT started ICS in an isolated event they might use the organization chart and communications plan for a phone list, but they doubted whether the whole suite of forms would be used. One thought that the map portion might be used when State DOT field crews joined an event. There is an aversion to paperwork among field crews that was noted by all eleven of the interviewees. âWe donât have time for a lot of paperwork in the fieldâ was one response. However, all nine who had seen the supervisorâs folder with the blister pack of supplies (Quick Start cards, pen, note pads ICS FOG) thought that it was a good investment and a useful tool overall. One suggested that it could be used for posting information that the field crews got from the IC or from the TMC, not just ICS forms. As a result of these comments, the researchers have prepared the courses and Quick Start Cards in MSWord format for inclusion on a CD to facilitate customization, along with instructions for constructing the Supervisor Folder.
33 8. How could the course delivery model be improved? One interviewee suggested making the tie to ICS more robust and covering more aspects of ICS instead of just safety, personnel accountability and reimbursement. However, he could not suggest any topics to eliminate to maintain the 1 hour time limit. He then suggested adding another module to the basic class that would cover the Incident Action Plan in more detail. Ten of the interviewees liked the length and content of the course modules and were very interested in using the briefing training. Four of the interviewees said they would use the three briefing training topics (safety, communications and collaboration with other agencies) as models to develop some additional agency-specific brief training topics to enlarge the collection for local use. One interviewee suggested that the course should be locally modified to include information on the state emergency plan. Seven said that a MSWord version that allowed for customization by each state and district could enhance the value of the course and make it more ârealâ to the field staff by referencing events they would remember and changing the photos to local events and personnel. 9. How could the card set be improved? All nine of the interviewees who saw the card sets agreed that having a MSWord version would enhance their usefulness. Three suggested adding an Operations Chief card for use after the Incident Action Plan was developed, âor when work escalatesâ, even though that would be beyond the âfirst fifteen minutesâ approach used in creating the cards. One suggested adding âestablish stagingâ to the Logistics Chiefâs card. At three of the agencies there was discussion about the timing of notification. The cards suggest appointing a safety officer and then calling the TMC, but some states have different
34 notification protocols. Having a MSWord version of the cards would allow agencies to customize their card sets to match their local protocols. One interviewee raised the issue of providing more guidance on notification, since not all areas of the state may have cell phone access to the TMC. It was suggested that listing cell phone, land mobile radio and any other methods might be useful. Again the solution might be the MSWord version that can be customized, since the communications resources differ among states and even regions of the same state. 10. How could the supervisorâs folder be improved? The nine interviewees who had the folders all liked them, and saw benefit in the tool. Two suggested adding agency-specific forms in the pockets. One said it could be used as an information board at non-ICS events. Student Surveys Courses were taught in nine districts of a large State DOT, representing urban and rural population densities, multiple types of hazards, and diverse demographic groups of employees. The questionnaire was structured with three questions that were answered with a numerical score and four that required verbal responses. Classes ranged in size from 12 to 60 people, with an average of 25. Out of the 278 students who signed in on the registration forms, 205 (75%) answered at least one question on the questionnaire. Their responses are presented below.
35 1. The ICS seminar was useful for me in my State DOT role: [205 responses] Rating Number % 5 99 48 4 55 27 3 36 18 2 11 25 1 4* 2 * Note that on two of the surveys rating the class as 1 the comments on question 2 were positive (best ICS class I have had, very interesting, importance of safety, use of forms) which suggests that they may have misunderstood the rating scale. 3. The sandbox exercise was useful for me in my State DOT role: [183 responses] Rating Number % 5 60 33 4 57 31 3 45 25 2 8 8 1 3 3 The lower response rate to this question may be because the term âsandboxâ was not explained in the class.
36 5. Todayâs ICS seminar and exercise provided adequate information for me to work effectively in an ICS event: [197 responses] Rating Number % 5 79 40 4 72 37 3 33 17 2 11 6 1 3 1 The numerical responses to the class suggest that most students found the class useful (75% and 64%), and relevant to their work (77%). Responses to the other 4 survey items allowed the students to create their own verbal responses without prompts. The result was a wide range of statements regarding what was most important to them in the two segments. There were a few responses provided by 10 or more people, but most of the responses were mentioned less than ten times, and many of those were suggested by only one respondent. 2. The most useful thing I learned at todayâs ICS seminar was: (The student had to write a phrase without prompts) [173 responses]. There were 30 different responses. Answers below represent those stated by 10 or more respondents. These responses were generally spread evenly over the nine districts.
37 Response Numbe ICS roles 28 ICS structure 26 ICS processes 18 Communication 15 ICS 11 Documentation 10 Kits 10 Safety 10 4. The most useful information in the sandbox exercise was: (The student had to write a phrase without prompts) [121 responses]. There were 34 different responses. Answers below represent those stated by 10 or more respondents. These responses were generally spread evenly over the nine districts. Response Numb Professional kits 17 Delegation of responsibility within 14 Exercise 11 The last section of the survey asked students for ideas or additional items to be added to the training, or to be eliminated from the training. Added for future training: (The student had to write a phrase without prompts) [92 responses]. There were 36 different suggestions for items to be added to future ICS training. Answers below represent those stated by 10 or more respondents. These responses were generally spread evenly over the nine districts. Response Numbe Interagency interactions 19 More exercises 16
38 At the first class several students suggested to the instructors that adding law enforcement representatives to the training would be helpful. The State DOT invited highway patrol district representatives to attend the rest of the district-level training sessions, but no one ever came. Including highway patrol representatives might be a useful addition to the learning environment. In districts where wildland fire events are common it might also be beneficial to add federal and state fire service representatives. Eliminated from future training: (The student had to write a phrase without prompts) [21 responses]. There were five different suggestions for items to be eliminated from future ICS training. The answer below represents the one stated by 10 or more respondents. Response Numbe Less MSPowerPoint 16 It is interesting to note that this comment clustered in 2 districts out of 9, with 6 and 4 responses respectively, and the 3 districts with the largest classes did not have any suggestions for items to be eliminated. Student surveys were collected at the end of each of the nine sessions. The training staff reviewed them immediately and used the survey responses as well as informal class feedback to alter and augment future classes, including slight alterations in the wording of the slides, and the addition of information from the MUTCD.
39 ANALYSIS The Findings demonstrate that the âIncident Command System (ICS) for Field Level Transportation Supervisors and Staffâ course is likely to achieve the goals of providing ICS training to field level staff in a meaningful way that relates to both transportation activities and their field work environment. The course is brief enough to keep the attention of most field level personnel â only 16 out of 205 suggested shortening the course of instruction. State DOT leaders and Amtrak management saw value in the tools created to assist with the field level implementation of ICS as a seldom used skill. They endorsed the use of the sandbox method of engendering critical thinking and ICS application to the scenarios provided, and all agreed that additional scenarios from local events could be developed by agency staff using these as a model. Providing both a script and a voiceover DVD as methods for ICS class presentation should enable every district to offer the classroom modules, even in districts where there is no one who is willing to be a âpublic speaker.â A supervisor or lead worker could use the script or questions provided to lead the more informal tailgate briefings or discussions to keep employees thinking about ICS principles and their applications to transportation situations. Understanding the importance of reimbursement should make doing the paperwork and providing photographs less onerous and more obviously productive for the agency. In the months before the meeting Amtrak had suffered a fatal derailment in Philadelphia that created an ICS environment with multiple jurisdictions and multiple professions working together to save lives and property, care for survivors and reassure the public. Because of the loss of life, injuries and community disruption, the documentation of the work done is an essential element of
40 the ICS implementation. With this real event fresh in their minds the Amtrak leaders agreed that this ICS training would also benefit rail-based personnel. By customizing the cards to a rail rather than highway environment they would see the benefit to station and track workers who go to the scene of a rail event, while the conductors are already focused on passenger and crew safety, and might benefit from refresher training experiences. Conclusion For most State DOT field level staff, ICS is a seldom-used skill. Holding short classroom format refresher trainings and tailgate format briefings and discussions can keep the principles of ICS in the skill set of field level transportation personnel, not only on the highway but also on rail-based transportation, and perhaps even in mass transit. The course is available as a suite of downloadable elements at the TRB website at no cost, enabling agencies with small budgets to offer the training using their own staff to cut costs. Since ICS is required at events from traffic accidents through catastrophes, this training can be applied by field level staff at a TIM event, an accident scene, a hazardous materials event or a major regional natural hazard-caused event.
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