EM Forum Presentation — February 8, 2012

Impact-Based Decision Support Services
A New Focus for a Weather-Ready Nation

John Ogren
Director, National Weather Service Training Center

Kim Runk
Interim Director, NWS Operations Proving Ground

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

This transcript contains references to slides which can be downloaded from http://www.emforum.org/vforum/NWS/IDSS.pdf
A video recording of the live session is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm120208.wmv
An audio podcast is available at http://www.emforum.org/pub/eiip/lm120208.mp3

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome back to EMForum.org. We are very glad you could join us. I am Amy Sebring and will serve as your Moderator today.

Today we are going to learn more about "Impact-Based Decision Support Services" and how the National Weather Service plans to implement these services in the future.

As noted in our program announcement, this new focus includes better understanding of societal impacts, making NWS information more relevant to decision makers, and participating directly in making decisions fundamental to the protection of life and property. Please see today’s background page for links to examples relating to the Deep Water Horizon event, as well as the strategic plan document.

[Slide 1]

Now it is my great pleasure to introduce today’s guests: John Ogren currently serves as Director of NOAA's National Weather Service Training Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Previously, John served as Deputy Regional Director for the NWS Central Region, Meteorologist in Charge of the NWS forecast office in Indianapolis, IN, and as Warning Coordination Meteorologist both at NWS Headquarters and Wichita, KS.

Kim Runk is serving as Interim Director of the NWS Operations Proving Ground at the NWS Training Center in Kansas City. The proving ground provides the infrastructure and facilities to effectively transfer new and emerging scientific techniques, products, and services into NWS forecast office operations. Kim also recently served on-site in the aftermath of the historic 2011 Joplin tornado, supporting the rescue and recovery mission.

Please see today’s Background Page for further biographic detail. Welcome to you both gentlemen, and thank you very much for joining us today. I now turn the floor over John to start us off please.


John Ogren: Thank you, Amy. I’m John Ogren and I have Kim Runk here.

Kim Runk: Hello and good morning everyone.

John Ogren: Thank you for having us. We are happy to do this. It has been a long, long time since I’ve been doing EM Forum. The last one was a lot of years ago back when StormReady® was a very baby program, so it’s good to be back.

Today’s focus is going to be on ‘impact based decision support services’. What is this? It is a buzz word that has been going around along with the other buzz word going around that is the ‘Weather-Ready Nation.’ Kim and I are going to take some time and talk about that. We are going to tag team it. I’ve got the first half of the presentation and Kim has got the second half. We’ll get into that and see where it goes. That is going to be the focus.

[Slide 2]

What in the world is a Weather-Ready Nation? We’ve got StormReady® Communities, and we’ve got StormReady® Counties, but really it is our focus in the National Weather Service moving on to the future (and we’ve been doing this for a lot of years anyway) to get it to the point where Americans are really prepared.

We are doing the preparedness work, the mitigation work, and it’s the old adage from back in the 1990s that we are trying to prevent natural hazards from becoming disasters. You do that through preparedness, mitigation and of course we have to do response and recovery, but we hope that is minimized.

We are also trying to work towards where there is that American trust of the National Weather Service FEMA team. When we say FEMA we are talking about all the way down to the local emergency managers. I am still a firm believer that all disasters are local first and last. That is where all the action is happening—not at the headquarters level.

They need to know they can count on timely and accurate warnings and also be given good information on what they should be doing rather than what they shouldn’t be doing. Finally, they need warning delivery that is focused on clearly the threat area—trying to minimize that false alarm effect that is going on.

We have done that with polygon warnings or storm based warnings. We are trying to shrink the amount of hurricane area that we have watches and warnings out for those areas too. Most importantly, it is that these messages are really communicating clearly in plain language that regular people can understand—it’s not like us talking like scientists all the time.

[Slide 3]

Let’s delve a little deeper in that. Really what it is going to cause us to do is provide decision support services. We are going to get into that. I am one of those people that think the National Weather Service has been providing decision support services for as long as we have been issuing any type of forecast and warning services, but we really want to make that fundamentally a part of our culture and quit being scientists and give you information you can make smarter decisions with.

We have unique local relationships. That is one of the powers and one of the strengths of the National Weather Service—our structure is such that we are where you are. That’s why we have 122 forecast offices out there. We are all within a couple of hour’s drive of one another with the exception of the far west.

That allows us to build those very strong local relationships to where we are not meeting for the first time in the EOC or at the incident scene. We really want to empower the work force. Something we are trying to do that is not complete—we are doing some pilots right now—is to create Emergency Response Specialists.

These are folks that are going be highly skilled in communicating hazards to you and doing it in a way that it is in your language, not our language. In Amy’s introduction of me, you heard that I was a warning coordination meteorologist and did that for a number of years.

One thing I did absolutely wrong back then, and we suffer from this across the National Weather Service—we meteorologists keep trying to turn emergency managers into meteorologists. We keep trying to teach you what our terminology means, when the fact is that we need to flip it.

We need to learn your language and put things in terms you understand so you can make smarter decisions and have that dialog back and forth and so we have a mutual understanding of what is going on. Thirdly we need to invest in science and technology and that has really been a driver, too.

I think back to working in Kansas in the early nineties and what technology we had. It was great at the time. We had the sixth Doppler radar in the country but those things are over 20 years old now. There is a lot more technology out there at our fingertips that we could utilize to help you make better decisions.

[Slide 4]

How is it different from where we’ve been? Probably the biggest change we are looking for is to not be so product-centered—to be much more customer-centered. What is it that you need?

Today we use pre-formatted forecast warnings. They all pretty much look alike—a severe thunderstorm warning that is going to produce quarter size hail and 60 mph winds looks, feels and sounds like the severe thunderstorm warning that may produce 100 mph winds and do significant damage equal to a weak tornado.

How is it that we can raise awareness and communicate what the actual threat is? If you go down the bullet list on the left hand side today we are looking at forecast and warning products. In the future, where we are going is looking at forecast and warning information. The warning is important but the information is even more important.

What is the actual threat? Is it going to be softball size hail? What is the strength of the hurricane? How much snow are we going to get and when—not so much that there is an advisory, watch, or warning—what is the impact going to be?

That is where we are different. Today we are mostly schedule driven except for the case of severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings—that’s where we are impact driven. But oftentimes with winter weather and hurricanes—a lot of our things are schedule driven when we need to tell you what you need to know when you need to know it.

We need to continue that relationship so we understand when you have your critical decision times. The last one is some really rigid rule based thresholds for issuing watches and warnings. We need to evolve to where we meet customer needs.

A good example here is that its wintertime so we’ll take a snowstorm—there’s a significant different in my mind, and you guys can tell me different later—if you’re going to get four inches of snow late on a Saturday night that comes down over a period of six hours, or if you get a quick inch in the heart of rush hour in a major metropolitan area. The impact of that is totally different.

While we might issue a warning or advisory for something that is going to have little impact in the overnight hours of a weekend and falls relatively slowly on warm roads versus it is really cold, we get a quick inch and we have hundreds if not thousands of accidents in that morning rush hour.

Those are totally different yet with an inch you might be lucky if you had an advisory issued. We want to really look at those impacts rather than the rigid thresholds.

[Slide 5]

Why are we doing all this? Let’s face it—it’s been busy. In 2010 it was incredibly busy and 2011 upped the ante. Typically we have two or three disaster events a year that cost a billion dollars or more. In 2011 we set a record. There were twelve disasters in excess of one billion dollars in economic damage.

It was an unbelievable year. We set records for fatalities—Joplin had a lot to do with that, but we also had the tornados in the southeast United States, wildfires, floods—an unprecedented year. That is why there is a very strong push for the Weather-Ready Nation and a strong push to move our forecasters towards impact decision support services.

The other is—and this has been going on for quite some time and has been running with the social scientists over the years—that community vulnerabilities are increasing. We still continue to move closer to the coasts where there is more danger of hurricane. People still like to have their log cabins in the woods, which increases the risks of wildfire.

There is nothing like having a nice creek running through the back yard until the creek rises and gets up into your house and then we have a problem. Those community vulnerabilities are still out there and they are ever increasing.

[Slide 6]

One of the key issues we need to take a look at is to continue to team up with our trusted core partners, and that is you. It starts in the local weather forecast offices with county, city and community emergency management folks but it also works at regional levels with regional FEMA, Corps of Engineers, USGS, and it also works up into headquarters and inside the beltway where our headquarters are working with FEMA headquarters and everyone else.

The second is to train—and that is where I come in as the training director today—how to train and prepare the proper skill set needed to operate in a collaborative decision support culture. That is the key—that we are actually collaborating and not just communicating information back and forth.

[Slide 7]

What does the decision support thing actually look like? As I said earlier, it’s not new. I felt like as a forecaster in Wichita and a warning coordination meteorologist we are providing decision support information all the time. In fact, we dabbled with actually being on the scene or at least providing at the scene during that time we had the world’s largest grain elevator blow up.

It was about five miles from the office so we didn’t go for the incident scene but the problem was they had search and rescue crews in there and they were the same search and rescue crews that worked the Murrah Building after the Oklahoma City bombing. We had storms in the area. We were able to identify the wind shifts, the outflow boundaries, which were nearby and were able to alert the search and rescue crews ahead of time to get out of that facility so we didn’t lose more people than we already had.

That was the same type of decision support services that the Norman Office had provided after the Murrah Building. It occurred again after 9/11 and again after the Greensburg tornados. This isn’t new. The difference is that it hasn’t really been a foundational part of our culture. We do it in an ad hoc manner. A big bad thing happens and we spring into action and just go do it.

The thing is we don’t understand incident command systems in the world you all are living in. We really need to focus on training and ICS. We are doing that already, but it also covers a large spectrum. Not every day is going to be a Murrah Building. Not every day are we going to have the world’s largest grain elevator blow up or a Greensburg tornado (which is a good thing). How do we give that information in a consistent manner to you every day?

Whether it is just through chat of an existing product suite—we are already doing briefings and multimedia broadcasts, conference calls with a lot of folks there, but also how do we fundamentally prepare our folks if we do have a really big and bad event and you request that we will be in your command center or incident command site that we understand the structure and how to behave and communicate in that culture? That is something very new to us and we need to train with you on.

[Slide 8]

The critical factors—collaborative partnerships, and again we are going to get more into collaborative versus cooperative—you know we have been cooperating for years but how can we really collaborate the decision making process? I’ve given you that key bit of information and every event is going to be entirely different.

Every disaster I’ve been involved in has been somewhat different. Yes, it is a tornado but they are all different in the response and recovery. We are really working on our risk communication skills. How do we elicit the appropriate response from the public? How do we elicit the appropriate response from you?

How do we appropriately respond when you ask us for information? We need decision support services at every level in the National Weather Service, from the local forecast office to our headquarters folks up in Silver Spring.

[Slide 9]

Some of the things we are actually doing—we have a national operation center that is quickly spinning up and that is in our Silver Spring headquarters. They are going to be at that highest level. They are the folks actually coordinating with FEMA headquarters.

We have one meteorologist, Sally Johnson. Sally is co-located in FEMA. She gives the daily weather briefings to the senior FEMA folks but they may also be coordinating all the way up to the White House if it is an extreme event. That is their domain.

[Slide 10]

Another thing we are doing is spinning up regional operations centers. This isn’t exactly new. The southern region has been doing this for quite some time. The central region of the weather service has had a regional operation center for a couple of years and they are starting to spin up in the east and the western part of the U.S.

What is their role? They are going to be coordinating with their counterparts and external partners, maybe their FEMA regions or Corps of Engineer regions. They are also going to be reporting up to the national operation center so we have a consistent message that is coming from the local office where the actual event occurred to the regional office and to the national headquarters.

We know from experience it is very difficult to do. We have had some experiences on the Red River and other events like that. That’s the regional operation center.

[Slide 11]

What about the local offices? Kim and I were discussing this right before the call. Really the title of the slide shouldn’t be "local office operations" because they are going to continue to do their thing but these are significant culture changes. These are significant ways that we change the way we deliver information.

We have discussed some of this stuff already. It is really information based versus product based. We need to give you the information when you need it so you can make the right call. Secondly it is impact based versus phenomena based. Recall the story I told about the snowstorm. What is the difference between a quick inch at rush hour versus six inches that fell over eight hours on warm ground? It’s totally different.

We will really get into a collaborative session versus coordination—some of the technology we are going to be trying out in the operations and services proving ground that Kim is going to be talking about.

[Slide 12]

Finally it is really focused on—this is where we need to change culture and also look at training—that is really increasing our knowledge of incident command systems by going through those FEMA courses, train and exercise with you locally to where we totally understand how your operation works, and we have that understanding.

You don’t need to become meteorologists. It helps if you understand the weather but we really need to understand your business better so we can truly collaborate. The importance of consistent messaging, top to bottom and bottom to top—we know from research that when there is a tornado warning issued, the first thing people do is look outside or try to confirm it. They may call a neighbor or they may change the channel or look somewhere else to see if it’s true.

If they get inconsistent messages then they more often than not they don’t do anything. If we start feeding inconsistent messages up the chain it all gets confused and then we get different issues—really align the message with the impact and truly try to talk about what is the impact of the phenomenon we have—not the phenomenon itself.

We need to be absolutely adaptive to the incident needs and use that plain language skill. You can see the little cartoon on here that Kim added. He said that unfortunately this was in an actual briefing—a fairly senior level briefing. The weather forecaster said to worry about "stratiform precipitation under the deformation zone". What the heck does that mean? The response back was, "Is it going to rain, how much, and when?"

With that I’m going to turn it over to Mr. Runk. He is going to be talking about an operations proving ground which is something brand new that we are spinning here at the Weather Service Training Center and it is really going to help us get toward that incident decision support.

[Slide 13]

Kim Runk: How are we going to address these needs—the whole spectrum ranging from the skill sets that forecasters need and also to making sure we have thoroughly tested out new science and technology in terms of how it is going to contribute to this focus on impact based decision support services.

We are standing up a new group called the Operations Proving Ground. The vision of the proving ground is to prepare today’s forecasters to support tomorrow’s Weather-Ready Nation and all the priorities associated with the Weather-Ready Nation initiative.

That means the kinds of things that are addressed in this bullet—that group will establish relationships and processes so there is an effective and streamlined transfer of research to operations to make sure we are getting the latest cutting-edge tools and techniques to maintain world class forecast services to partners and customers in the American public.

We also want to make sure we return the feedback loop and communicate back to them any issues we’re seeing as we’re testing them out before implementing them into operations. Any capabilities tested, whether it is a tool or technique or perhaps even a collaboration mechanism, we want to do it in a realistic operations environment.

We will have a mock weather forecast office or river forecast center and a mock emergency operation center and we will involve partners such as yourselves in the processes so we are assessing human factors, work flow, the actual communication and collaboration issues in addition to just testing out science and technology.

Before we deploy anything into the field we want that entire end to end process to be checked out because ultimately we want timely and appropriate actions and response by the public and fewer fatalities than we experience now.

[Slide 14]

We sort of prototyped this entire process last year through the Weather-Ready Nation initiative and thanks to Central Region Headquarters I received a little bit of funding to host a one week in-residence workshop that we called Decision Support Services Boot Camp. Everybody knows people learn better when they are actively engaged and not just listening to lecture like you are doing now.

Rather they are participating—they are active in listening, and doing and questioning, and there is a lot of discussion and discovery. We deliberately designed the boot camp that way. We practiced assessing risk as a function of both hazard and vulnerability.

As an example, when I was in Joplin immediately after the tornado we gathered together with some of the section chiefs and established some criteria—some sort of decision thresholds. For example, law enforcement branch determined it was going to take them probably 45 minutes to an hour to clear all the search and rescue workers and first responders off the damage zone and maybe something as little as 35 to 40 miles per hour would start turning some of that debris into a flying safety hazard.

Normally a thunderstorm or a 35 mph wind associated with a front would not be a life-threatening thing that you would get some kind of specialized warning for but in that situation we had to adapt to the incident needs. It isn’t just the hazard but it is the vulnerability of the incident and event to that particular hazard.

It is the core partners being involved in those planning and facilitating dissimulations that are important. We conducted three complete full-day scenarios. One centered around an urban tornado actually patterned after Joplin, another one patterned after an inland oil spill and a third patterned after several of the major main stem river floods we have experienced in the last three years or so in the central region.

[Slide 15]

The boot camp experience involved people who were doing the kinds of routine activities you would normally do—ICS planning briefings, press conferences, we filmed them doing media interviews. We provided documentation kinds of activities and that sort of thing but we also threw them some curve balls and those kinds of things normally happen in an incident as many of you are well familiar with.

We made them adapt to a loss of power and we threw aviation briefings at them and a lot of unplanned events just to test their capabilities. We even fed them inconsistent information that challenged their ability to stay in their lane and make sure they had consistent messaging top to bottom.

[Slide 16]

In the end probably the most important lesson—we also included on the final day some panel discussions where partners from the emergency management community shared some of their experiences and insights—probably the most important lesson of the entire week was that partner involvement was crucial.

In our feedback surveys from all the participants that consistently drew the highest ratings from the feedback surveys. Those kinds of insights and immediate candid feedback were really valuable to the forecasters’ learning experience.

[Slide 17]

In turn many of the partners that were involved in planning and executing and facilitating the sessions found it valuable, probably summed up best in this quote from Kevin Brown from Cole County, Missouri who served with me in Joplin.

He stated, "This program’s goal is very exciting. Growing the number of qualified NWS emergency response specialists will be a huge benefit to those of us who lead disaster recovery teams and manage emergency support functions. Working together to train as though we’re on an incident really builds camaraderie and understanding; and it accelerates the learning curve."

[Slide 18]

In the end that sort of design and format structure seemed to be fairly successful and that is what we are going to pattern our most intensive operational readiness evaluations after in the operations proving ground.

This slide sort of illustrates and underscores the reality that even in research and science it is supportive of our empirical observation—that collaborative teams tend to make more effective risk reduction decisions than individuals. That came from Decisions Sciences Journal.

[Slide 19]

What is next? As we wrap up we are now spinning up this Operations Proving Ground and we are trying to complete the hiring of our final staff. We are going to build out our facilities to imitate everything about the environment of weather forecast operation and for some of those evaluation sessions where relevant—an emergency operation center.

We are establishing our governance process and how we going to coordinate with research labs and test beds. We are going to try to run a demonstration evaluation just to shake out the process and facility probably late this summer if everything falls into place with those sixteen new National Weather Service Emergency Response Specialist personnel that John alluded to in the section he was talking about.

Finally for next year we want everything to be in place so we can develop and execute a full schedule of reviews and ratings and evaluations for the next fiscal year.

[Slide 20]

It is our hope that this structure, even in the face of reduced budgets and talk about how we can streamline and make government more efficient and effective, that we can still work together to move the United States toward being a genuine Weather-Ready Nation through providing superior impact based DSS.

By adopting some of those needed culture changes John alluded to, in particular to really infuse NIMS into the DNA of who we are and how we operate, and we hope that we will be embraced as an agency—as a valuable part of the emergency preparedness and response team, that together with you we will succeed in saving more lives and enhancing the United States’ economy.

[Slide 21]

That concludes our formal briefing. I guess we open it up for questions.

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much gentlemen. A very interesting and helpful overview I believe. Now, let’s proceed to our Q&A and audience comments.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Amy Sebring: John, do you anticipate this new focus having some impact on hurricane season this year?

John Ogren: Yes is the short answer. We have emergency response specialists in a pilot there in Tampa. While their focus is really going to be on environmental concerns they are absolutely going to be there.

This is an evolving thing. We are not going to be able to train things up and flip a switch and say that here is decision support. We have been doing this for quite a while and we are really improving the way we do it and we want to enhance that as we move forward.

Rather than seeing a light switch turned and "here we are", I think you will gradually see more collaboration and improved information sharing as we move forward.

Amy Sebring: You mentioned the warnings in particular. Do you expect to see changes in some of those warning messages in the near future or is that down the road?

Kim Runk: We are actually developing a demonstration project specific to tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in Kansas and Missouri this spring. There will always be a need for specific warning types of products. When the hazard is life-threatening we will continue to do that.

We are sort of toying with some different ideas through the collaboration with social science experts as well as emergency managers (and media partners, by the way) to make sure we craft the messages so the most important information is communicated and the impacts are communicated and what you need to do is communicated very quickly and very near the top.

We are going to conduct probably at least a two year experiment with changing the format of how those warnings are communicated and getting some continual customer and user feedback to try to improve that and hopefully also to motivate the proper response so that people perceive a risk and take action.

Amy Sebring: What is the National Weather Service doing with the social media avenues to get the messages out to the public?

John Ogren: We already have Facebook pages on almost all of our weather forecast offices and we run bots that actually post any pertinent watches and warnings and that type of information out there. What is more important is that we get a lot of more information back from the public in terms of what is going on.

You see a lot more people posting about how much rain has fallen, how much snow has fallen in the area, how big the hail is, whether they have tree or structural damage and things like that. I read recently that we are very close to an agreement with Twitter where we will be able to tweet messages out.

Of course we can’t do that in very many characters so we will have to look at how we are going to tweet those messages out. I think the real bonus to the weather service and everybody in the warning process is that we are getting a lot more information where people can provide it.

Sure you run that risk of getting bogus reports, but on the other hand, the vast majority is going to be there. You certainly have to scrutinize the information you get from the public but the vast majority is going to be pretty good.

Amy Sebring: You mentioned collaborating with other federal agencies at the regional level. I noticed the EPA was at your boot camp session according to one of those t-shirts (in the slide photo). What were some of the other types of partners you invited?

Kim Runk: We had representatives from FEMA Region Seven, right here in Kansas City. We had EPA Region Seven and they had also been—everyone we invited had partnered with us on incidents. EPA was serving with us an oil spill in Enbridge, the Enbridge Oil Company in central Michigan near Kalamazoo. We also have the Corps of Engineers who were here and had partnered with us in a joint field office operation for the Missouri River flood and we had county emergency managers who had served with me, one was the ops chief and one was the plans chief in the first couple of weeks at least after the Joplin tornado incident.

Basically it was local and county emergency managers, FEMA VII, EPA VII and the Corps of Engineers for that particular boot camp.

Amy Sebring: Are you planning to repeat those boot camps in the future?

Kim Runk: Yes. Our hope is that the Operations Proving Ground will integrate that process into at least one evaluation session every year.

John Ogren: What is also learned from that and the sessions we’ll be running in the proving ground directly turns into training of our own staff so that lessons learned that we have through these interactions—that is how we are going to use that information to prepare all the rest of the forecasters across the nation as to what exactly decision support services are, how to speak in your language, how to speak in terms of impact versus phenomena.

Amy Sebring: Are you going to train sixteen people around the country?

John Ogren: It’s going to cross the gamut. We have sixteen response emergency response specialists today. We need to evaluate whether that is going to expand or not. I suspect it will. Those would be the people who are truly trained up to go on scene. They are very similar to our incident meteorologists or IMETS in the fire weather community, to where they can go on scene to the fire and help the fire managers determine a strategy or game plan as how to fight that wildfire.

We are trying to expand that into really all hazards. Whether it is an oil spill, or flood, or aftermath of a tornado—it doesn’t really matter what the event is. If you need weather information they would be able to integrate into the EOC of the Incident Command Structure and actually provide that information.

Decision Support Services are going to go all the way down to very last person who might answer a phone at a forecast office and really change that culture of "we have a winter storm warning—what’s the real impact—are we going to have a quick inch at tomorrow morning’s rush hour and it’s going to be a really hazardous time?"

You could help the road crews plan their game plan on how to fight whatever the event is. Maybe it’s really a blizzard a couple of days in advance where you can ramp up and prepare well ahead of time before the event occurs. So top to bottom, everybody is going to get some level of training.

Avagene Moore: Gentlemen - since tornadoes have already impacted some areas heavily and on the national news, are NWS offices getting more requests for survival information? Are you aware of more people building safe rooms for example?

John Ogren: In spots—it makes empirical sense that in those areas that have recently been affected by them you see safe rooms going in all over the place. I was part of the May 3, 1999 tornado—the Kansas portion, not the Oklahoma portion—and even as I was doing damage surveys the next day I could see where a new mobile home park was going in and they were putting in, proactively, an above ground steel reinforced concrete tornado shelters.

They were going to have one where every person would be within 100 yards of one of these shelters. Unfortunately it is really spotty. Are there a lot of safe rooms and shelters going on in Alabama and Mississippi after last year’s tornados? I suspect there are. I suspect they sold a lot of weather radios down in those areas too.

It seems to be human nature that if you’re not directly impacted, we still fall into that "it’s not going to happen to me" syndrome.

Amy Sebring: One of the kinds of hazards where the weather service would have a large role in decision support would be a radiological dispersion type event. Are you doing anything specific in that regard?

John Ogren: Yes. Specifically we have been preparing for it from the Cold War. We do have dispersion models that we have access to. Those offices that are nearby nuclear power stations and plants are very well-versed in that. If something like that were to occur—a dirty bomb, or something like that were to occur, we do have capability of helping with dispersion modeling and helping you make those types of decisions.

Kim Runk: We actually do that with lesser events with some regularity. For instance if a train wreck occurs and there is some kind of chlorine spill or ammonia chloride that farmers use, you’ll occasionally see some kind of tank get into an accident. The local office will run dispersion models for the local EOC manager to determine where the wind is going to take that plume.

Rob Schwartz: Do you see changes with EMWIN (Emergency Managers Weather Information Network)?

John Ogren: No, I really don’t know. I know it’s out there and operating and it is a very valuable back-up tool, but I’m not familiar with what is going to change in the future.


Amy Sebring: Time to wrap for today. On behalf of Avagene and myself and all our participants today, thank you very much John and Kim for taking time to share this information with us today. We wish you the best of success as you move forward to implement these plans.

Before you go, PLEASE take a moment to do the rating/review! Note: We are asking you to rate the relevance of the information, and this will assist us in our future programming.

We are very pleased to announce a new EIIP Partner today, the Washington D.C. Metro Area Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners or ACP. http://www.acpdc.org/ represented by the chapter President, Arthur Fuller. Welcome!

If your organization is interested in partnership, please see the links near the bottom of our home page, or at the bottom of each program announcement if you are on our mailing list. And if you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe from our home page.

Our next regular program will take place, Wednesday, February 22nd. Please mark your calendar and watch for our announcement. Until then, thanks to everyone for participating today. Have a great afternoon. We are adjourned.