Edited Version November 18, 1998 Transcript

EIIP Tech Arena Online Presentation

"Security in the World of Crisis Management"

Merrily Powell
Regional Sales Manager
Essential Technologies, Inc.

EIIP Tech Arena Moderator: Amy Sebring

The original transcript of November 18, 1998 online Tech Arena discussion is available in EIIP Virtual Forum Archives (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 input were deleted but the content of questions and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the participants to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Amy Sebring: On behalf of the EIIP, I am pleased to welcome you to a special event in our Tech Arena. Our topic today is "Security in the World of Crisis Management," software tools for analysis and response from Essential Technologies, Inc.

Please hold all questions and comments until we get to the Q&A portion of the program about half past the hour. We will review the instructions at that time.

I will also point out for any newcomers that when a full URL is typed in the message area, it becomes a hot link, so you can just click on it, and a web page will display in another browser window.


And now, it is my pleasure to introduce once again, Merrily Powell, Regional Sales Manager for Essential Technologies, Inc. We have run into Merrily a number of times at various conferences, and she has previously participated in two Live From! chat presentations.

Welcome again Merrily, and thank you for taking time to be with us today.


Merrily Powell: To begin, a big thanks for inviting us to present today. We will be showing you an overview of 3 security software products using PowerPoint slides. The press release for these 3 products is going out this week and is available on the EIIP Virtual Forum homepage under ON-LINE EVENTS for today, November 18th.

The 3 software products are Essential Security SuperTab, NBC Warning! and BLAST! These 3 new software products work in combination with EIS/GEM InfoBook to help an organization train, exercise, and respond more quickly should it become the target for an act of terrorism.

Let me give you an overview of each product. Essential Security SuperTab is the important security supplement to EIS/GEM InfoBook, which is our all hazards/crisis management software product. Essential Security SuperTab focuses on security concerns and needs (e.g. bomb threats, kidnapping, disgruntled employees) rather than all natural and technological hazards.

NBC Warning! is a plotting and reporting program to predict the impact of nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) agents such as Sarin, Lewisite, Tabun, Chloride - Anthrax, Ebola, Q fever, Ricin - and more. NBC Warning's plumes display on maps, another feature of our software products.

BLAST! is an explosion modeling program for quickly assessing your organization's vulnerability to bombings. It calculates how an explosion would impact people (extent of damage to ears, lungs and lethality) and property (extent of damage to walls and windows) in a certain building or area. And, BLAST! is the first and only software created for individuals without engineering expertise.

Enough of my longer text paragraphs. Now, let's begin by looking at threats to security where these 3 programs can help. Amy, slide 1, please.


Merrily Powell: Our software lets you prepare for and respond to security related threats and incidents such as bomb threats, kidnapping and hostage-taking, civil disturbances, workplace violence, and the movement/security of critical individuals.

The next slide provides a little more detail about each product. Amy, slide 2, please.


Merrily Powell: Our software is very graphical and easy to use. It looks like a 3 ring binder with tabs and pages that turn. It also lets you, the user, create your own pages to make it even easier. Let's take a brief look at Essential Security SuperTab.

We apologize that in converting the PowerPoint slides to HTML format, the text on the InfoBook pages is not very readable. The 4 areas you will be seeing on the next slide are: Vulnerability & Threat Assessment, Security Plans and Procedures, Response Guides, and Support Data. Amy, slide 3, please.


Merrily Powell: Mapping, aerial photos and other images are an important capability of our software. You can graphically show critical information on a map, including the spread of a biological agent like Anthrax using NBC Warning! Or the extent of a possible explosion in front of a particular building using BLAST! A picture is sometimes worth a thousand words, especially during a stressful incident. Amy, slide 4, please.


Merrily Powell: Let's look at the Essential Security SuperTab page where you select the type of security threat you might need to deal with to a BUILDING; or to a FACILITY/SITE; or regarding TRANSPORT/MOVEMENT; or to an EVENT/AREA; or regarding EXECUTIVE PROTECTION. Amy, slide 5, please.


Merrily Powell: When you click on "B" for Facility/Site vulnerability and threat assessment, a flowchart page will display for ease of gathering and assessing the critical information you need if you are faced with a threat that affects a Facility/Site. And any of the information for this and the other threats can display on maps, aerial photos and any other images.

The InfoBook text that is pointed to but is not very readable is: "Add Site Pre-Plans"; "Locate Building Characteristics"; "Add Threats" with 6 threats from "Human Offender", "Fire", "Natural Disaster", "Other", "Chem/Bio", and "BLAST"; "Add Internal Support"; and "Special Needs" for "Handicapped", "VIPs", "Daycare" and "Other". Amy, slide 6, please.


Merrily Powell: And in addition to the flowcharts for gathering the information in PREPARATION FOR a threat, we have flowcharts for RESPONDING TO an actual threat. We have separate flowcharts for Human Response, WMD Response, Fire Response, Natural Disaster, and Bomb Response. Let's look at one of the flowcharts in Essential Security SuperTab, the Bomb Response Guide.

Again, the unreadable text that is pointed to is: "Log and Locate Incident", "Activate Notification List" where you can have a pre-defined group(s) of those people/agencies that must be notified, "Retrieve Vulnerable Sites", "Current Duty Schedule", "Retrieve Intelligence Information". The lower-left InfoBlock gives you one-click access to "Public Relations Statements" that you might need. Amy, slide 7, please.


Merrily Powell: And, in early 1999, we are releasing the 4th security product, Essential Security InfoBook. Amy, the last slide, number 8, please.


Merrily Powell: This was a brief overview of our 3 new security products, Essential Security SuperTab, NBC Warning! and BLAST!. Essential Security SuperTab works with EIS/GEM InfoBook to help you manage all threats to security. With both Essential Security SuperTab and EIS/GEM InfoBook, you have the most comprehensive software products for managing not only threats to security, but also all natural and technological hazards/crises. NBC Warning! and BLAST! are sold separately.

With the 4th product, Essential Security InfoBook, you will NOT need EIS/GEM InfoBook. Essential Security InfoBook will include NBC Warning! and BLAST! and will help you manage all aspects of a security threat/incident from assessment, training, and exercise to response. Feel free to visit our Web site for additional information about these products at <http://www.essentech.com>

I want to thank you all for participating today. Now I'll turn it back to Amy for Q&A.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Merrily.

Merrily Powell: You are very welcome.

Amy Sebring: We would like to take a moment here to review how we will handle the Q&A so that we have an orderly session. We ask that you indicate that you have a question by typing just a question mark (?). Then you can prepare your question, but PLEASE HOLD (don't hit end or send) your question until you are recognized. If we run out of time, you will have a chance to ask afterward in the follow up session in the Virtual Forum. We are ready for questions now.

Audience Questions


James T. Brockway: Merrily, what is the intended market for the fourth product, vice the EIS/GEM with Supertab, Blast and NBC Warning?

Merrily Powell: It would be for those who only need to manage security related threats as opposed to those who might have to manage both security and all other hazards.


Amy Sebring: Merrily, can you briefly describe how the Blast! product works, you mentioned it was for non-engineers. What do you have to know for input?

Merrily Powell: Sure. It is a very easy to use modeling program. You select the type of bomb, if you know it; the size, if you know it and the type of building construction and windows where you intend to see your vulnerability. Then the program calculates the effects of that bomb to human ears, lungs and lethality, as well as, to the extent of damage to the building and windows based upon the number of feet where the varying degrees of damage occur. You can make educated decisions.

Joe Saleh: It also creates a plume footprint that you can overlay on existing maps


David Crews: Is this conventional weapons or small nuclear ones too?

Merrily Powell: BLAST is not nuclear devices.


Bruce Zelis: So, if a given number of population is in the affected area, will it give you predictive results, i.e. deaths, building damage, etc.?

Merrily Powell: Yes. Let me add the footage is what is critical. If within 15 feet you can expect major damage vs. the footage is 200 feet.


Daryl Spiewak: What about explosive devices containing chemicals or biologicals?

Merrily Powell: Daryl, that is a good question. My knowledge is that BLAST! models a number of specific as well as unknown explosives. It does not have a biological component in it. However, NBC Warning! does just that for nuclear, biological & chemical agents.

Joe Saleh: The explosive materials include TNT, C-4, ANFO, and Primacord.

Amy Sebring: That is Joe Saleh of Essential helping out. Hi Joe.


Amy Sebring: Yes, can you describe the Warning! module a little more, Merrily?

Merrily Powell: Certainly. It is also simple to use. You select the agent, the weather conditions, the way it was released, e.g. missile, shell, and dispersed and others above the ground, under the ground if you know and a second location and agent can be entered. Then it also calculates the plume for the effect of the agent and that plume may be displayed on maps.


Amy Sebring: Have you had international interest in these products, Merrily?

Merrily Powell: Most definitely. We also have international distributors throughout the world.


Amy Sebring: What will the license for the new product cost approximately, Merrily?

Merrily Powell: Costs are:

Essential Security Tab for $1495 for a s/u license

NBC Warning! is $2495

BLAST! is $2495 as well. We have discounting for multiple licenses too.


Amy Sebring: The new product being released early next year?

Merrily Powell: Yes. I do not have a release price yet, but I think it will be between $5000 and $9000.


Denis McCarthy: Does this replace Cameo used in the public sector or augment?

Merrily Powell: Denis, no. Cameo is just a chemical plume modeling program. And we include Cameo in our EIS/GEM software. NBC Warning! is chemical and nuclear and biological. BLAST is for explosives. And Security SuperTab is a management tool that Cameo is not.


Denis McCarthy: Will working models be available at the Project Impact Summit?

Merrily Powell: If you would like, I can certainly have them available and would like to do so.


Avagene Moore: Since there is concentrated training highlighted in selected cities on terrorism, are you finding an increased interest as result of the training in certain areas? Or interest because some areas realize the need and haven't yet received training? Is there a relationship between terrorism training and the need for technology?

Merrily Powell: Yes, I believe so. Our software help cities cope with the difficulties of assessing their vulnerabilities and being able to develop plans and procedures for dealing with an incident. We have had a great deal of interest from cities all over the USA.


David Crews: What kind of learning curve is there on your software?

Merrily Powell: We feel that we have improved our learning curve from earlier versions with the very graphical flowcharts and the ability to create your own "pages". Users can only put those functions on a page that they know they will want to get to. The fact that the software does so much more may not be important at the time of an emergency, just getting to the most critical info very quickly and easily.

Joe Saleh: Users have started publishing their pages on county/agency web sites for example <http://www.whghosp.com/wocoes/wocindex.htm>


Amy Sebring: Does this sort of vulnerability assessment also help cities to mitigate against these types of events?

Merrily Powell: Absolutely. They can decide if certain places are more vulnerable than others and take actions accordingly. They can also know what is in harm's way in the event of an incident so they are more prepared to protect those entities and people.


David Crews: Many users are over 40 with limited computer skills. What kind of training will they need?

Merrily Powell: David, I believe that being able to offer regional training is good. But I also feel that our being able to help the user create these paperclip pages is very important. This reduced training time to almost nothing.

Imagine that a page can have InfoBlocks to the following:

1. enter a new incident

2. enter e message for an incident or request or task

3. find a resource

4. find a person

5. find an organization

With this, you don't need any training. If we can get our users to tell us what they need EIS/GEM to do, the training issues are very much reduced.


Amy Sebring: How about a short synopsis of minimum system requirements, Merrily?

Merrily Powell: Well, a Pentium with 32 megs of ram and of course some decent disk space. Especially if you have a lot of maps or other images that are useful to you. Our software itself doesn't take up that much room.


David Crews: Who puts the data in for the ease of use?

Merrily Powell: The user does. But I would like to add that we are keenly aware of the limited time that emergency managers have. We have a very simple to use import program that allows almost any digital data to be brought into EIS/GEM; digital data means spreadsheets and other database programs. Even word processing files are very useful for SOPs and we can bring them into EIS/GEM easily.

Joes Saleh: Data can be imported from various sources, spreadsheets, other databases, save several hours of data input.

David Crews: That's why I brought up the over 40 crowd and the learning curve!

Merrily Powell: We understand and we try to help as much as we can. The graphical nature of the software helps we think.

Jim Cook: As an example of how easy Blast! is to use the size of the device is calculated by Small Container (briefcase), Car, Van, Small Truck, Med. Truck, Large Truck, Tanker and User Input. You do not have to know the actual weight of the explosive.


Denis McCarthy: Has FEMA seen the value for use by local emergency management officials and are they taking any active role?

Merrily Powell: Let me address the FEMA question. FEMA, I think, has its hands full with the national picture. However, what I can tell you is that we hope to have a LOCAL EM InfoBook shortly!!!!! Yes, that is something that we have been trying to develop for a long time. If we are successful, and we should know within a month or so, we will have a lowcost product with the major functionality that local EMA's need. Maybe another Virtual Forum for that?????

Amy Sebring: Now that IS exciting, Merrily.

Merrily Powell: We also think so.


Amy Sebring: Will the new Security product be stand-alone or will a LAN version be available?

Merrily Powell: I believe it will only be a s/u version, but I'm not sure if that has been cast in stone and the price will be about $1495.


Denis McCarthy: How will the local infobook differ from the EIS/GEM infobook?

Amy Sebring: We may have to do another session on that one, Denis. Merrily, let's wrap up by telling folks where you will be during the upcoming weeks or months and where they can see these products in person.

Merrily Powell: Right here at 800 999-5009, ext 3064. I live here or so it seems.

Final Question:

Amy Sebring: You have plans for some upcoming conferences or events? I thought you lived on the road!

Merrily Powell: Our website is a good spot, but I have PowerPoints that go into each product in depth. If anyone wants them, just email me and I'll send you a CD with all of them. My email address is: <[email protected]>. You don't need PowerPoint at all to view them, that's for those who may not be at the "cutting edge".

Amy Sebring: Thank you very much, Merrily. We will have the transcript of today's session and the links to the slides posted in the Tech Arena in about a week. Just follow the Transcript link on our home page.

We would like to take a moment here to mention what we have coming up. Avagene?

Avagene Moore: Thanks, Amy. Before upcoming events, I want to tell Merrily that she did a great job in this session today!

Merrily Powell: Thanks.

Avagene Moore: Tomorrow night, Thursday, 8:00 PM EST, is our Mutual Aid session; since we used this time for WEBEX preparation for about 3 months -- we are now ready to get back to an informal discussion at this time and invite you to join us then.

Next Tuesday, November 24, 1 PM EST, is a Round Table session. This is a time period for Partners to step forward with a topic. At the moment, we need a Partner to do just that. Should add that IAEM will be moderating one Round Table session each month starting in December.

Next Wednesday, November 25, 12:00 Noon EST, Maria Younker, FEMA, will be here to discuss FEMA's Compendium III of Exemplary Practices in Emergency Management. We will have 3 or 4 of the winning entries represented also to discuss their exemplary practices.

As a sidebar, the EIIP Virtual Forum made it in the new compendium as an exemplary practice -- we are very happy to be in such good company this year. Back to you, Amy.

Amy Sebring: Thanks Avagene and thank you audience. Since our time is up, we will close down the Tech Arena 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. Thank you for your cooperation.