Archive for the ‘Emergency Management’ Category

September 16, 2011
This month our Nation marked the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The events of that day revealed just how important coordination and interoperable communications are to the critical work of emergency responders who save lives, every day, in our cities and towns across the Nation. While the attacks were dramatic and tragic events for our Nation, they highlighted the concerns about the vital need for improved emergency communications and were an important catalyst for change.
Over the last ten years, we have made significant progress to improve emergency communications capabilities. Since its inception in 2007, the US Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) has worked with our partners at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels to ensure emergency responders can share information—voice and data—with each other during emergencies and day-to-day operations. Through these partnerships, we have shared best practices and insights to develop solutions that benefit stakeholders across disciplines and jurisdictions.
To highlight advancements made by stakeholders, OEC has published five case studies. These case studies align with the SAFECOM Interoperability Continuum— the critical success factors that help jurisdictions achieve interoperability—governance, standard operating procedures, technology, training and exercises, and usage. Through these case studies, OEC is highlighting examples from various jurisdictions across the Nation so that others will be able to understand the complexities of interoperability and determine how the innovative solutions included in the studies might help them overcome their own barriers.
The case studies include: 
  • Governance—New York City Interagency Communications Committee as an example of how jurisdictions are demonstrating the capability of managing a regional committee working within a multi-state framework
  •  Standard Operating Procedures—Minnesota Allied Radio Matrix for Emergency Response (ARMER) as an example of comprehensive interoperability achieved through procedures and protocols governing response designed prior to an incident 
  • Technology—Delaware Statewide Emergency Communications System as an example of a standards-based, regionally-shared system that supports more than 14,000 subscribers from 247 different local, State, Federal, and non-governmental agencies, processing more than 115,000 interoperable communications calls on a routine day
  • Training and Exercises—Washington State Integrated Interoperable Communications Plan, developed in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Games, as an example of an interagency communications plan adapted into a two-day curriculum enabling students to apply their new communications skills through a series of tabletop exercises
  • Usage—Louisiana Wireless Information Network (LWIN), developed as part of the recovery efforts of Hurricane Katrina, as an example of a multijurisdictional system that provided vital support to local, State, and Federal responders during responses to Hurricane Gustav and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
These case studies highlight just a few examples of the tremendous progress made in the field of emergency communications since that tragic day in 2001. While much has been accomplished towards achieving nationwide interoperability in the last ten years, there is still work to be done. As new technologies and their capabilities are explored, the principles that have worked to date cannot be overlooked. The ability of public safety officials to effectively communicate is essential to saving lives and property. OEC and our stakeholder partners will continue working together to ensure progress is made and the citizens of the Nation are provided the highest level of safety and security possible.
For more information or to request a PDF copy of the case studies, contact

April 1, 2011

If you think the original “See Something; Say Something” came from Homeland Security, please think again.

That honor belongs to the brave souls connected to the local Skywarn program.

This handy program, born out of the National Weather Services in the 70s, has been the stimulus for local spotter groups and the StormReady program.

Today, the Skywarn program is a volunteer program with nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters.

These individuals give their reports to their local emergency management official who relays them to the National Weather Service or they give their reports to the National Weather Service who relays them to the local emergency management office.  Either way, spotters provide essential information for all types of weather hazards.

 If you see a logo that looks like this, chances are the spotter has been to the required training provided by the National Weather Service.  This is annual training required by so many emergency managers across the USA.

If this logo is on a personal vehicle, you can be assured that the owner of the vehicle uses their OWN gas, tires, windshield wipers, oil, RainEX, etc. while you remain safe at home watching TV for the report that the spotter is giving to the weather service.  In other words, they train and report at no cost to the government OR the Citizens they serve.

These are NOT chasers with expensive vehicles they allow to have videotaped (sometimes even by themselves) being operated in a dangerous manner.  These individuals use their own vehicles.  If they break the law, they get a ticket.  They know that.  Their insurance goes up as a result.

Skywarn is the original “See something; SAY something”.

May 21, 2010

Storm chasers are NOT #Skywarn Spotters.

In part of my emails to the Weather Chaser list, I made note of this video. Please use viewer discretion.

Please view this video. Although it’s not about chasing, it’s about
motor vehicle operation and some undesirable consequences. I will add
it is quite graphic. Viewer discretion is advised, in other words.!/video/video.php?v=347401909287&ref=mf

PLEASE be SAFE and remain FREE.

Not to be outdone, some chasers took matters into their own hands.,
and are shots of a TV storm chaser barreling down a two lane road, complete with support vehicles. Can you see brake lights as these folks barrel down the roadway?

Here’s more from my colleague to the north.

In this article
, the Vortex2 team says that chasers got in their way. The article is believable except the spokesman was observed by the German Skywarn Team breaking the law. The particular individual also has ties to the “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE” chasers on a popular TV show.

One of the participants posted comments on his Facebook page. The reply is in italics.

You REALLY believe this?

I’m responding to video of the TIV convoy passing other chasers and
the complaint that we were doing so unsafely. I realize that people do
not know that our team has radios and that we give a “clear” to the

Would you expect a Trooper to understand this? You were breaking the LAW!

follow vehicles so they know that there is no oncoming traffic. Also I
am up in the turret so that I can get a better perspective of traffic
ahead. Also the video that I saw was “zoomed” in, optically
compressing space, so that the hill and vehicles seems closer together

Then WHY did the cars behind you have to slam on THEIR breaks?

than in reality. Finally, the TIV or any of it’s follow vehicles have
never been in or caused an accident. Also, want to say that I

Never a time like NOW to break THAT record.

appreciate your concern for chasers safety and I will do my best to
make it a priority for my entire team for the rest of the season. I’m
not perfect, I know that more than anyone, but I really respect the
chaser community and I take your comments seriously.”

Read my post on the WX-Chase list about CHASERS. I would much rather folks out there were SAFE than exhibiting the DANGEROUS action you display.

The post referred to above is quoted below.

Since I’m not around ground zero this afternoon, I took some time to
watch some of the
video samples available on the various video

I observed speed too fast for conditions (wet roads and hail),
following too close (can’t you count one-one thousand, two
one-thousand after you pass a yellow line or pothole?), inattentive
driving (at least two left of center), one busted a red light, a
couple or three almost rear-ended the car in front.

Folks, if you are going to tell the world you are safely operating
your motor vehicle, the pictures need to match. If you are going to
put a picture of you in the car driving, it helps if you pay attention
to what you do instead of dinking on the PC, talking on the radio, dig
for something on the floor or in the back seat, etc. Don’t you all
have partners?

Maybe it would be a better practice to NOT show video while you are
breaking the law. After all, these end up on TV and you don’t get

I’m getting the idea that this is too hard for some but, please, TRY
to be SAFE out there. Tomorrow you are in Oklahoma. I will be too
busy to watch but I bet someone in a clearly marked car will be.

Finally, these examples are NOT representative of Skywarn. Please contact your local emergency management office or National Weather Service office for information about how to be involved in this important activity.