Edited Version of February 16, 2000 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation

"Public Education & Information:
The Emergency Planner's Companion CD-ROM Series"

John Sorensen
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

Barbara Vogt
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee

Amy Sebring
Moderator - EIIP Technical projects Coordinator

The original unedited transcript of the February 16, 1999 online Virtual Forum presentation is available on the EIIP Virtual Forum (http://www.emforum.org). The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussions, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the speakers to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Amy Sebring: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum!

For the benefit of our first-timers, when you see a blue web address, you can click on it and the referenced Web page should appear in a browser window. After the first one, the browser window may not automatically come to the top, so you may need to bring it forward by clicking on a button at the status bar at the bottom of your screen.

We will start with a presentation, and then follow with a Q&A session for your questions and comments. Right before we begin the Q&A portion we will review the procedure.

Please do NOT send direct messages to the speaker or moderator as it makes it difficult for us to follow the discussion.

Today we are going to be learning about the Emergency Planner's Companion CD-ROM Series, and specifically the Public Information & Education CD. Background information for today's session may be found at <http://www.emforum.org/vforum/000216.htm>.


We are especially pleased to have John Sorensen and Barbara Vogt with us from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Dr. Sorensen is Director of the Emergency Management Center there. Among his numerous accomplishments, he served as the Team Leader for Prediction, Forecast and Warning subgroup for the Second Assessment that we talked about last spring when the summary volume was published.

Dr. Vogt is currently a research associate in the Environmental Analysis and Assessment Center of the Energy Division at ORNL, but has been involved with emergency planning and risk communication for many years. Please see the background page for further biographical information on both of our guests.

John will start off with the presentation, and then both he and Barbara will be available to answer your questions or respond to comments. Welcome to both of you and thank you for taking time to be with us today.


John Sorensen: The Emergency Planner's Companion CD ROMs were developed for the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program. We would like to acknowledge the support of FEMA, including Kay Goss, Russ Salter, Phyllis Thompson, Peggy Stahl and Robert Norville for making this possible.

CSEPP is a program to provide maximum protection for civilians living in the vicinity of Army depots that store chemical warfare agents, among the most toxic substances in the world. There are 8 sites and 10 states involved in this effort.

Through State/FEMA/ Lab partnerships a number of technical reports and training products have been developed in support of CSEPP. These may be accessed at <htttp://emc.ornl.gov>.


CSEPP has a 400-page planning guidance document that defines the state of the art in emergency preparedness and response for a toxic chemical accident. It was too long and complex for most to comprehend. The solution was to develop CD ROM based training on the PLANNING GUIDANCE that would be self-paced and could be done outside the classroom setting.

The primary audience of this training is planners in CSEPP. Even though it was developed for CSEPP, most information on the CD is relevant to any type of threat.

That is why it is knowledge-based training. It does not offer a cook book approach. It does so in recognition that local agencies have their own approach to writing plans. The Emergency Planner's Companion CD ROMs allow a local planner to obtain the information needed to develop plans within the context of their own planning environment.

Experience has shown that planning is a process and not an endpoint in a document that sits on the shelf.


The Emergency Planners Companion CD ROMs cover what is in the CSEPP Planning Guidance as well as the underlying rationale, that is the why of planning. The planner's companions contain two tracks:

1. One is comprehensive for the planner;

2. The other is an abbreviated version designed for the decision-maker or casually interested party.

Taking advantage of multi-media technology, the CDs offer interactive exercises at the end of each unit. A 20-question quiz is also provided for self-review or certification should a state decide to use it in that capacity. Other features include a bookmark, a glossary, and extensive resource materials including references and pdf. files.

On completing this course the student should be able to:

1) describe the basic logic behind providing public information,

2) prepare sections of site emergency plans related to public education and information,

3) assess and revise as necessary those sections of emergency plans and operating procedures related to public education and information,

4) develop and disseminate educational and informational materials to target audiences,

5) prepare plans and procedures for implementing the JIC in an emergency, and

6) address activities to be evaluated in emergency exercises that involve the dissemination of information to the public in an emergency.


Public Information and education is one title in this series. Other titles include Command and Control, Protective Actions, Emergency Support Operations, Communications, Reentry & Recovery.


This screen depicts the main user interface for the CD. Users would click on one of the two notebooks to access the instructional materials, or on the evaluation clipboard to take the test. Also accessible are the text of the CSEPP Planning Guidance, a glossary, help screens, and related information resources.


This screen shows the user interface for accessing the glossary. When one clicks on a term in the scrollable column of the left the definition is given in the box on the right,


If one clicks on RELATED INFORMATION, the screen ON SLIDE 6 appears. One can access a number of useful information including relevant web sites, examples of preparedness publications, reference documents, and relevant training videos.


If one chooses Multi-hazard Preparedness Publications, a list such as the one depicted in slide 7 would appear. Included in the list are relevant FEMA and Red Cross publications.


When one clicks on one of the notebooks, they are presented with the notebook menu as shown in slide 8. From here they can access each of the 8 units, a help function, the bookmark, or the course map.

Following an introduction, the units cover the following topics:

Basic Concepts,

Planning a Pre-emergency Information Program,

Methods for Disseminating Information,

Effective Communications,

Disseminating Warnings,

The Joint Information Center, and

Evaluation in Exercises.

Under basic concepts, we discuss the differences between pre-emergency and emergency information programs including different program objectives, such as awareness versus guidance; different timeframes, such as non-immediate versus immediate; different channels of communication, such as brochures or calendars versus the emergency alert system; and different social context, such as normal versus emergency situations.

In Planning a Pre-emergency Information Program we emphasize the need for targeting information because our society is quite heterogeneous and different groups are influenced by different information sources and channels.

In Effective Communications we discuss the style, format and content of informational materials as well as the need for sustained communications.

The Joint information Center stresses the critical need to control rumors and provide consistent information to the media and public.


Slide 9 shows the interface at the sub-unit level. This screen shows the graphics associated with the style of the notification message in Unit 5, effective communication. It reinforces the concept that information should be clear, accurate, certain, consistent and specific.

Students navigate through the course by clicking on the green highlighted arrow. Alternatively they can access the bibliography, summon help, or review the objectives of this unit (light bulb). Choosing the menu takes one back to the Unit Menu. Clicking on map takes one to the course map.

[SLIDE 10]

[SLIDE 11]

A map is a very useful navigational device in a training CD. This allows the user to navigate at the sub-unit level without needing to scroll through many screens. This is useful when using the CDs as a reference document. The buttons have the titles of the sub-units and approximate playing times.

[SLIDE 12]

These are the minimum specifications for the CD ROM. It is recommended to have a Pentium Processor, Windows 95 or later, 32 MB of RAM, a 6x or faster CD ROM Drive, SVGA monitor or greater, 256 colors, a 16 or 32 bit sound card, and QuickTime for Windows.

[SLIDE 13]

So how does one obtain these CD's?

There are 3 ways:

1) From FEMA HQ or Regions with CSEPP programs;

2) From NTIS, or

3) By emailing John at: <[email protected]>.

That concludes our presentation. Barbara and I would be happy to try to answer any questions you may have.

[Due to a technical problem at the server, the Q&A portion of the program was not recorded.]

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much for being with us today John and Barbara, and for your valuable contributions to this field. We will watch for the other titles in the series as they become available.

Please stand by for a moment while we take care of some business. Avagene, can you tell us what's on for next week please?

Avagene Moore: Thank you John and Barbara for an excellent presentation. Next Wednesday we will have Troy Armstrong with ecorp.com Inc. demonstrating a new Emergency Management Software application in the Tech Arena. Please be with us then.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Ava. Are there any announcements from the floor? Now is the time.

Another excellent piece on Public Education in the context of earthquakes is the latest issue of the Natural Hazards Informer which is available online at <http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/informer/infrmr2/infrm2wb.htm>

Thanks again John and Barbara, and thank you, audience. As usual, we will have a text transcript posted this afternoon, and reformatted versions available next Monday. We will adjourn the session for now, but you are invited to remain for open discussion.