Texas Emergency Management ONLINE2011 Vol. 58 No. 11

PREPAREDNESS: A LOOK AHEAD

Regional Boundaries
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The issuance of the Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8: National Preparedness earlier this year is causing emergency management offices across the country to reevaluate how they will prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects of disasters. The directive also requires a reexamination of how organizations will measure the effectiveness of their performance in those areas. TDEM’s State Coordinator for Preparedness, Chuck Phinney, outlines what the state’s Preparedness Section is doing to meet the goals of the directive and other plans.

WHAT IS TDEM’S PREPAREDNESS SECTION DOING TO ENSURE COMPLIANCE WITH PPD8?
Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8 will change how FEMA measures preparedness for the nation and how we, as emergency management professionals, measure ourselves. FEMA will develop a phased roll of the goals of the directive, which will outline certain core capabilities by which we measure our preparedness. Presently, I am reviewing the information regarding the directive and its goals, and working with my staff to implement and practice what we need to do to ensure the state of Texas and local jurisdictions are in compliance. (Click on the following link for more information about PPD8: FAQs on PPD8)

WHAT ARE THE TOP GOALS FOR THE PREPAREDNESS SECTION FOR THE COMING YEAR?
The main goal for the entire Preparedness Section is to continue to enhance our relationships and communication with local jurisdictions. One main way I see us doing this is by establishing clearly defined TDEM regional points of contact for the locals. We also will continue to focus on providing excellent customer service by developing solutions that streamline workflow processes and enhance communication, thereby helping us all to complete work in a more timely fashion.

WHAT CAN LOCAL JURISDICTIONS AND STATE PARTNERS EXPECT FROM THE PLANS UNIT?
The Plans Unit in particular has instituted some changes to strengthen communication and work processes with the locals. TDEM now has Planners assigned to each Region throughout the state. [Click on the map above.] They serve as the main points of contact for locals in those areas who have questions about their plans. The Planners ensure that Regional and District Coordinators in these regions are involved in the communication exchange. Additionally, the Plans Unit is developing an e-planning solution to use when working with the locals on updating plans.

Six months ago, TDEM began accepting plans via email for the first time. This was a huge breakthrough in how the state conducted business with the locals, making the speed and ease of communication and work completed much more timely. The e-planning solution is one more way we are hoping to enhance how we do business, making it easier for the locals to send us their plans for review, and for Planners to notify them of changes as necessary. Even with the launch of this new solution, which we hope to roll out next year, the Plans Unit will still accept plans for review via email and mail.

WHAT ARE THE TRAINING AND EXERCISE UNITS FOCUSED ON?
The Training and Exercise staffs have begun to survey each region to discover what they would like to focus on and identify what core capabilities they would like to strengthen. Once the survey is completed, an analysis of the feedback is conducted and training and exercise planning workshops (TEPWs) are scheduled, we are visiting each DPS Region and inviting District Coordinators and EMCs to be a part of the conversation with the locals. We will talk about their strengths and weakness, what capabilities they want to enhance or develop, and then develop a multi-year training and exercise plan around those capabilities. We are trying to push more training out to the regions and leverage the resources available regionally to serve everyone. At the end of the day, we want each region to train and exercise the way they will respond. So far, we have completed three TEPWs in Regions One, Four and Five.

For more information about the Preparedness Section, visit the TDEM Preparedness webpage.

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