National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies (2020)

Chapter: Section 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25557.
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Page 3
Page 4
Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25557.
×
Page 4
Page 5
Suggested Citation:"Section 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25557.
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Page 5

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3 Emergency management involves preparing for, responding to, and recovering from a disaster or emergency. It is a continuous process of managing threats and hazards to avoid or reduce the impact of incidents and events. Transportation plays a critical and unique role in emergency management. Transportation’s role stems from the broad range of capabilities and responsibilities a transportation agency has, that is, large and distributed workforces, easy access to heavy equipment, and a robust commu- nications infrastructure. State transportation agencies have important resources that can be made available in the event of emergencies, such as transportation management centers, situa- tion awareness, and field staff. As the National Response Framework (NRF) states, “The ability to sustain transportation services, mitigate adverse economic impacts, meet societal needs, and move emergency relief personnel and commodities will hinge on effective transportation decisions at all levels.” To be ready for the agency’s role, a comprehensive emergency management program must be in place within the agency. Overall DOT efforts have improved emergency response planning and training since the publication of the 2010 Guide. When an emergency occurs, routine day-to-day operations give way to a focused, practiced, and resilient crisis management approach that requires professional skills throughout the breadth and depth of the organization. Traffic Incident Management (TIM) provides processes and procedures for responders [firefighters, emergency medical services (EMS), law enforcement, towing and recovery, safety patrols, transportation and maintenance crews, and 9-1-1 professionals] to work together as a team to clear incidents safely and quickly. The NIMS integrates best practices into a comprehensive framework for use by emergency management personnel at the local, state, and federal levels. The Incident Command System (ICS) provides the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, proce- dures, and communications for emergencies. As a part of their emergency management function, state DOTs are responsible for creating all-hazards plans and ensuring that employees have the ability to implement them. These all-hazards plans must conform with and complement the planning activities of the rest of the state’s operations and agencies as well as those of regional authorities. DOTs may coordi- nate planning efforts with other state agencies, including the state’s Emergency Manage ment Agency (EMA); county highway departments; various agencies of the U.S. DOT; and DOTs from other states to ensure activities can be easily integrated when necessary. DOTs also need to plan to receive and use resources provided by other states and the federal government during operations. In conducting these activities, DOTs should consider applicable standards and best practices for incorporating risk and resilience into functions and systems. S E C T I O N 1 Introduction

4 A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies Challenges Facing State Transportation Agencies Planning for emergency management relates to the following important challenges for transportation agencies: • Today there are higher expectations for system performance and reliability and lower toler- ance for delays. Small events pose threats of great consequences, because the impact of any incident is magnified when a transportation network is operating at or past its capacity—as is the case in portions of many states as travel demand on their transportation networks grows. • Hazards and threats to the system continue to evolve. Transportation agencies are at increasingly greater risk from system-disrupting events as a result of natural causes, accidents, unintentional human intervention, or intentional interventions, such as insider threats and criminal acts. In addition, the risk of these events is growing due to numerous factors, including aging infrastructure. • Because today’s transportation systems integrate cyber and physical components, cyber risks are increasing, and they include the risk of a cyber incident impacting not only data but the control systems of the physical infrastructure operated by transportation agencies (e.g., tunnel ventilation systems and traffic control systems). • State transportation agencies have important resources that can be made available in the event of emergencies (transportation management centers, situation awareness, field staff, and heavy equipment). • Effective emergency response is increasingly multimodal, including all modes and sectors that use the highway system (e.g., personal travel, transit, and commercial vehicle transport). • There has been and continues to be significant deployment of new resources and rapidly developing technologies to support DOT activities, such as ShakeCast; FloodCast; and remote, in-situ, or portable monitoring and damage detection techniques and sensors, such as sonar, radar, satellite imagery, and unmanned aerial vehicles. • TIM provides processes and procedures for responders (firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, towing and recovery, safety patrols, transportation and maintenance crews, and 9-1-1 profes- sionals) to work together as a team to clear incidents safely and quickly. The NIMS integrates best practices into a comprehensive framework for use by emergency management personnel at the local, state, and federal levels. The ICS provides the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications for emergencies. • Transportation agencies play a key role in evacuating people from harm’s way. Recognizing the unique challenges posed by the disaster environment on mobility and the safe and secure movement of people and goods, the FHWA produced a primer series titled Routes to Effec- tive Evacuations to improve evacuation planning and implementation by bringing to the emergency management community new ways to use the transportation network before and during evacuations. Overview of the Guide Section 1 provides an introduction to emergency management. Overall DOT efforts have improved emergency response planning and training since the publication of the 2010 Guide. There have been significant advances in emergency management and transportation response planning and recent guidance at the national level reshaping the focus and long-term directions of transportation agencies. It includes information to assist transportation agencies in under- standing the impact of the shift in focus from protection of assets to resilience of systems. Section 2 provides an overview of the current state of emergency management and the institutional context for emergency management. It includes a summary of what emergency management is and places it in the context of preparedness and the objectives of the National

Introduction 5 Preparedness Framework. It summarizes the emergency management legal authorities and the current national frameworks, strategies, and guidance related to emergency management. Section 3 describes all-hazards emergency management and provides a summary of the hazards and threats that affect transportation systems and the typical impact of each hazard. Hazards include space weather and cyber threats. Section 4 describes the components of an emergency preparedness program, including cross- cutting capabilities (e.g., planning, staffing, communication, and collaboration) along with the mission areas of the National Preparedness Framework (e.g., protection, preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery). Section 5 provides an overview of the role transportation agencies have in emergency manage- ment and identifies functions, roles, and responsibilities of all stakeholders, including metro- politan planning organizations (MPOs), required over the continuum of emergencies [i.e., planned activities, minor incident, major incident, hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incident, natural disaster, and terrorist incident]. Section 6 contains information on developing and maintaining an effective emergency management transportation agency workforce. It also provides an overview of training available, methods of training delivery for employees, and information on full-scale exercises and drills. Appendix A contains an annotated bibliography of information sources and a resource guide with checklists, templates, and other tools for transportation agencies to use in supporting their emergency management responsibilities. Appendix B contains case studies from state DOTs. Appendix C contains acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. Appendix D is a glossary of key terms used in emergency management. Appendix E contains Tennessee DOT’s exercise program and needs assessment form documents. Appendix F contains agency wallet card examples. The accompanying NCHRP Web-Only Document 267: Developing a Guide to Emergency Manage- ment at State Transportation Agencies contains the Contractor’s Final Technical Report.

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State transportation agencies will always fulfill a role in the emergency-management effort - for all incidents, from the routine traffic incident through major emergencies to catastrophic events. State agency plans and procedures are expected (indeed required if the agency seeks federal compensation) to be related to state and regional emergency structures and plans. This involves multi-agency, multi‐jurisdictional cooperation in emergency planning and operations.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 931: A Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies is an update to a 2010 guide that provided an approach to all‐hazards emergency management and documented existing practices in emergency-response planning.

Significant advances in emergency management, changing operational roles at State DOTs and other transportation organizations, along with federal guidance issued since 2010, have resulted in a need to reexamine requirements for state transportation agency emergency-management functions, roles, and responsibilities.

The report is accompanied by NCHRP Web-Only Document 267:Developing a Guide to Emergency Management at State Transportation Agencies and a PowerPoint presentation that offers an overview and key findings, among other information.

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