Edited Version of March 4, 1998 Transcript
EIIP Virtual Library Online Presentation

"State of Minnesota Response Activity Matrix (MnRAM)"

Special Presentation


Richard (Ryc) Lyden

Senior Planner for Minnesota Division of Emergency Management

EIIP Virtual Library Online Moderator - Avagene Moore

The original transcript of the March 4, 1998 online Virtual Library 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 discussion, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning. Related questions and discussion from the Brown Bag session (immediately following the presentation) are included in the edited transcript.


Avagene Moore: On behalf of the EIIP, I am pleased to welcome you to a special event in our Library.

Before I actually introduce our special guest, I would like to review how to use links to display Web pages in another browser window for the benefit of our newcomers. When a full URL is typed in the message area, it becomes a hot link, so you can just click on it, and a webpage will display in another browser window. Your browser may display behind the chat window, so you may have to look for it. Make sure you don't accidentally close the EIIP chat login window, or you will be disconnected from the conversation. If that happens, please log back in using a slight variation on your name. I will put up an opening screen URL so you may take a moment to size and arrange your windows so that you can swap easily between windows.


Avagene Moore:

This is a moderated session and our guest will take questions or comments about 20 or 30 minutes into the hour. When you type in your question, it does not appear on everyone else's screen until submitted by the moderator. One more reminder ... please do not send direct messages to the speaker or the moderator. If your question does not get answered during the session, you will have a chance in the Virtual Forum afterward.

And now ... it is my pleasure to introduce Richard Lyden, Senior Planner for the Minnesota Division of Emergency Management, who will explain what MnRAM is and what it's used for. Welcome Ryc and thank you for being here today.


Ryc Lyden:

During the last few years we have had many 'disasters' in Minnesota. Last fall we had 9 open disasters in recovery. We have learned a lot from the real world and sadly missed the comfortable world of 'theory!' The problems we encountered were not unique to this state. As most of you know we had severe flooding last year. State agencies wanted to know what was going on and what status the state was at.

At that time we only used two phases: Response and Recovery. Yet, as waters rose they were A) arriving in the area, B) in the area, or C) leaving the area. When we had our 'After Action Report' meeting to discuss how things went, it became clear that there were more than two phases. It became evident we needed to match agency response with the condition. This allowed agencies to determine their actions based on phase and functions.

It also became clear that our agencies, with various programs and actions do not all respond at the same time. From this review came...



Ryc Lyden:

These are the key points: Early response: BACKGROUND: Industry does not wait for a valuable piece of equipment to cease functioning. If it gets warm or makes new noises then maintenance becomes involved. SOLUTION: Each user and responder identify the early warning signs of an event. They determine who should be notified and what action to take.

NEED: Early information: BACKGROUND: Most incident managers have a strong general knowledge of the conditions they may face. The technical information must come from specialists. SOLUTION: Operating procedures identify the area of specialty and resources available to start the 'what if' planning.

NEED: There should be a smooth and orderly transition from the response to recovery mode. BACKGROUND: Due to the technical aspects of a recovery there will be a change in staff. This can occur on a set date. Events are more fluid. SOLUTION: We have acknowledged the existence of a period of stabilization. We use this time to bring recovery staff in earlier and keep response staff until no longer needed.


Ryc Lyden:

Routine:are we accomplishing the mission of our organization? Are we planning for events that could compromise our mission?

Alert: Are there business units, response agencies that have a need to know when things change? Are there 'hot-buttons' that could put you into increased readiness?

Emergency: Are there events that are large, complex, or sensitive enough to need early co-ordination and policy making?

Period of Stabilization: Things are not getting worse as fast, but are they really improving? What decisions could, or should be made?

Recovery: Do we let response personnel go to early? Should recovery specialists be utilized earlier? Is there a smooth transition or a merely a hand-off?

Routine (post-event): What changes are needed, who will make them, and how do we pass on this new information?


Ryc Lyden:

ROUTINE PHASE: This is where we carry out of our Mission Statement.

The MN Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is continuously staffed. We have utilized a 24 hour State Duty Officer for several years as the single answering point for all state notifications. Professional and support staff work within the EOC during normal working hours. During this time we carry out the mission of our organization.

Activity includes:

Awareness: This includes the identification of hazards, a risk and vulnerability analysis, capability, resource and needs assessment. We acknowledge the existence of civil, economic, natural and technological hazards.

Planning: This planning consists of the basic plan, annexes and standard operating procedures. Job aids are being developed to assist staff.

Mitigation: This is the prevention and reduction of effects from those hazards identified.

Learning: Learning includes training, table-top, functional and full-scale exercises, plus evaluation.

--[SLIDE 5]---

Ryc Lyden:

ALERT PHASE: The most frequently missed phase and the one that could make the most difference. Could you use a 'heads up?' and what information could you use? Who should have early knowledge of a condition? Could early action prevent or lessen the effects of a given situation? and what actions would take place?

EOC-Activation Level- As information is received concerning an increased risk of an event a State Incident Manager (SIM) is assigned. The SIM is assisted as needed by technical specialists and incident management staff. This may include Finance/ Administration, Logistics, Operations and Planning Officers.

Activity- Staff members are notified of any changes in EOC activation. Externally: We will notify warning points, other public agencies, and private contractors that have assigned functions. During an increase in readiness, specific agencies and responders are placed in either stand-by or staging according to their roles. At this time, consideration would be given to shelter or evacuation depending on the circumstances and the agency responsible.


Ryc Lyden:

EMERGENCY PHASE: Depending on your type of organization, this may have been given a lot of attention. For others, your plan is simply to call 9-1-1. Emergency procedures are commonly known to only a few persons. Frequently, procedures are not in a written format.

Activation Level- During this phase we identify which incident management staff functions are needed and assign staff as needed.

Activity- Resources appropriate to the incident are identified, accounted for and placed appropriately. This includes equipment, personnel and supplies.


Ryc Lyden:

PERIOD OF STABILIZATION: This period is marked by a slowing down, leveling out or lessening of the crisis. This is NOT a clear indication that the worst has passed. It may be only a momentary opportunity to regroup.

EOC-Activation Level- Situation and resource status reports continue to be reviewed. Planning staff address the possibility of demobilizing committed resources.

Activity- A preliminary damage assessment (consequence analysis) is conducted to assist in planning for the recovery. Requests for jurisdictional declarations are considered and prepared as necessary. On a local or business level this may include an insurance review. A Recovery Task Force is assigned.


Ryc Lyden:

RECOVERY: This is by far the longest phase, and is the one that will be used by the public and stakeholders to gauge overall success.

EOC-Activation Level- Recovery Task Force works on mitigation, applications, and grants.

Activity- A preliminary hazard analysis is conducted to assist in mitigation planning. There is possible re-entry into evacuated areas, as deemed appropriate by officials. There is a review of the incident and response. Mitigation (Prevention/Reduction) of new and existing hazards is accomplished. There is relocation in both long-term and permanent settings. There is resumption of activities as possible.


Ryc Lyden:

ROUTINE (Post-event): EOC-Activation Level- Regular staffing during office hours and the State Duty Officer continues in 24 hour operation.

Activity- Review of the recovery. Plans and procedures rewritten as needed. Learning is updated with training, exercise and evaluations.


Ryc Lyden:

Minnesota has adopted the MnRAM (Minnesota Response Activity Matrix) as the standard for all planning and response activities at the state level. Our state agencies are now in various phases. We are gearing up for potential floods along the Red River, forest fires in the north, and potential confrontation on Indian treaty rights.

The adoption has already paid off in early discussions, assignments and planning among agencies. Counties and cities are also taking a look at what they could do to utilize this system. This transition to use the MnRAM brings more planning, more responses, more communication. We feel strongly that it will also mean less consequences.

You may view the entire plan and the MnRAM at http://www.dps.state.mn.us/emermgt/eop/meop/annexb.htm

If you have any questions at a later date you may contact me via e-mail at [email protected] Thank you for your attention.

Avagene Moore:

You may submit questions now for Ryc. Great presentation, Ryc.


Avagene Moore: Ryc, I may have missed this --- how long have you been using the MnRAM in your state?
Ryc Lyden: We have been working on the system for about 8 months. It was finally adopted in January as a state program.

Claire Rubin: Was this matrix an original creation, or did you use work of other agencies, or other states?
Ryc Lyden: This was done entirely within Minnesota.

Amy Sebring: Are you providing planning assistance on this with local level, Ryc?
Ryc Lyden: Yes, we are just getting the program down to the local level. It is not mandated for them! But, available and suggested.

Peter Devenis: Ryc: Have you had a chance to utilize the system in a response, or are you planning any exercises to exercise and test this new system?
Ryc Lyden: Yes, we are currently working on this with our Radiological Emergency Preparedness program, the spring floods, forest fires, and treaty issues.

Rick Tobin: Since the floods are now a year behind us, do you still find real, honest interest in the process of mitigation?
Ryc Lyden: Honestly, we still have a lot of frustration. Our mitigation projects will go on for years and we have new flooding already taking place. We are finding that this works well in response and at the EOC level.

Avagene Moore: Ryc, you mentioned treaty issues --- are you working with Indian tribes in Minnesota?
Ryc Lyden: Yes, we have several tribes. A trial took place last spring on spearfishing and there was a 8 month stay. It is now over and we already know of folks coming in for a demonstration/confrontation.

Peter Devenis: Ryc, how have you communicated to the public the State's new MnRAM Model?
Ryc Lyden: At this point we haven't. It has been shown to all state agencies and the professional emergency management organizations in the state. Our response community is also just starting to work it into their plans.

Amy J Sebring: Have you coordinated this approach with FEMA region?
Ryc Lyden: FEMA is only somewhat aware of it at this point. It is getting attention at other State Emergency Management agencies though. Planners who have taken this back to their organizations are finding there is a real need.

Amy J Sebring: What kind of flooding are you expecting this year, Ryc?
Ryc Lyden: We have our rivers flowing at 400%, the ground saturated, and little rain or snow. Hopefully, it will only flood in a few low areas. It is about 8 inches over in about 10 places. A real concern is the high danger of forest fires due to the lack of snow.

Rick Tobin: If the El Nino climatology projections are right, the forest fire concerns will be very, very serious in two years.

Amy J Sebring: Ryc are you expecting spring rain courtesy of El Nino?
Ryc Lyden: We are already at Alert in Minnesota for several scenarios. Last year we would only be looking for something to happen. We have been getting thunderstorms for a few weeks. The rain isn't frequent or plentiful but it does impact our Red River valley.

Ryc Lyden: I would also be happy to answer questions via phone at any time. (612) 282-5395.

MP Piering: I am interested in whether your response had specific approaches to working with elderly residents impacted by the disaster.
Ryc Lyden: We had a number of people from Human Services that worked on issues regarding the elderly. I am also a nurse and followed that planning. I cannot say if there was anything done different from other locales. We did close a hospital and evacuate a number of nursing homes.

Amy J Sebring: We will be having our first evening round table discussion which is unmoderated, but for a serious 1 hour discussion. Is an aging population increasing our vulnerability to disaster into the next century? It will be at 8:00 PM EST in the Virtual Forum room.

Rick Tobin: For those dealing hospitals and elderly, I recommend the Florida report," Specialized Needs Task Force Final Report, February, 1996"

Chip Hines: Does this system dovetail with the PPA/CA process that your State negotiates with FEMA?
Ryc Lyden: Yes. There are others in the Division working more closely with it. However, it is keeping us easily up to our schedule. If you look at the actual form it shows how this matrix coincides with FEMA’s four phases.

Rick Tobin: There appears to be a trend to add the stage, "Relief" to the basic four FEMA stages.
Ryc Lyden: We discussed a lot of items while putting this together and decided to start with what we knew was needed and implement from there.

Amy J Sebring: Any further ideas for the future in this area Ryc?
Ryc Lyden: There has been a lot of discussion on FEMA’s four. We are building a course for use with the MnRAM. It is already part of a Facility Emergency Planning Course that we designed 4 years ago. It will be included in all training in Minnesota.

Amy J Sebring: It really sounds like you are integrating this approach very well.
Ryc Lyden: Our Minnesota Incident Management course, and Intro to Emergency Planning are being revised to include this. It has easily gained support in Minnesota.

Chip Hines: How far out are you able to effectively plan with this system?
Ryc Lyden: We are constantly planning. But, as soon as any intelligence or data is received we decide if we need to go to another level for that specific event or condition. We may be at different levels for different situations.


Amy J Sebring: Thank you very much Ryc and we will have the transcript and the slides from today's session posted in a few days with the background material.

Ryc Lyden: I hope this proved useful. Thank you for inviting me. Thank you all for your questions. They give me new food for thought as well.

Amy J Sebring: Thank you audience, and since our time is about up, we will close down the Library for today, but we will be in the Virtual Forum room for a few minutes longer, and you are welcome to join us there for open discussion.


Further Discussions and Questions in the Virtual Room -

After additional expressions of appreciation to Ryc Lyden, a few participants stayed for the second hour with additional comments and discussion related to the library presentation; the following are excerpts from the Brown Bag session that convey additional information about"State of Minnesota Response Activity Matrix (MnRAM)."

C. Rubin: For the past few years, I have been working on a matrix of the recovery process, with the emphasis on local level decision making. The current version is on the ICMA web site <www.icma.org/publications/40834-update.htm.> I would be interested in your views and reactions to my matrix effort. As you will see it takes on a smaller segment than your matrix.

Ryc Lyden: I would be happy to look at your matrix.

Amy J Sebring: Let's put it up again. <http://www.icma.org/publications/40834-update.htm>

Here's the actual page with matrix. <http://www.icma.org/publications/40834-update3.htm>

We have also included link to Minnesota Appendix B on Incident Management on background info page. Thank you again Ryc, and hope you can join us tomorrow evening. I have to leave now to do my Severe Weather Awareness thing this week.

Ryc Lyden: Thank you Amy. It proved to be an interesting approach to presenting. Very beneficial. Missouri Emergency Management requested a copy of the MnRAM about a month ago. FYI. If there are no further questions I take my leave. Thank you everyone for making this an easy presentation.

Avagene Moore: Thanks to everyone for helping make today's Virtual Library session a success. So long! Don't forget tomorrow evening, Thursday March 5, 8:00 PM EST. Join us then for our premiere Round Table discussion.