EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — November 8, 2006

Emergency Management Assistance Compact
2005 Hurricane Season After Action Report

Jeffrey S. Phillips
Immediate Past Chair, EMAC
Response and Recovery Bureau Chief
New Mexico Department of Public Safety Office of Emergency Management

Avagene Moore
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

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[Welcome / Introduction]

Avagene Moore: Welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum! We are pleased to see each of you here today! Today's topic is the "Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) 2005 Hurricane Season After Action Report."

It is a pleasure to introduce our guest speaker today. Jeffrey Phillips is the Immediate Past Chair of EMAC and Response and Recovery Bureau Chief for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Office of Emergency Management.

Jeff is responsible for state level response and recovery operations in emergencies and disasters through management of the Watch Program, direction of the state Emergency Operations Center, and implementation of the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance Programs. He is also responsible for state level preparedness activities including planning, training and exercises. If you have not read the background page, I urge you to do so after our session today to learn more about our speaker's expertise and experience.

We welcome you to the EIIP Virtual Forum, Jeff. I now turn the floor to you for your formal remarks.


Jeff Phillips: Good morning from the mountain west. I am pleased to be here to discuss the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) 2005 Hurricane Season Response After-Action Report. You can find the report on the home page of the EMAC website at http://www.emacweb.org/

Evaluation of major operations is a core element of emergency management. Within the EMAC membership it is a tradition that goes back as far as the Compact itself. This tradition is one of the things that differentiates EMAC from other interstate mutual aid agreements such as the Civil Defense Compact of 1950. Substantial and important improvements were made to the system as it was used and as the membership grew from 1996 through 2004.

As you recall, the 2004 hurricane season was very challenging and lead to what WAS the most extensive use of EMAC in its history. Following those record responses the EMAC leadership decided to have the formal review facilitated by L-3 Communications Titan Group using their proven methodology. The 2004 Report can also be found on the EMAC homepage: http://www.emacweb.org/. [Note: The direct link is http://www.emacweb.org/?1455 . This is a very large file.]

Everyone knows that evaluation alone does not lead to improvement. Organizations must take action to address issues and make improvements. Between the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons the membership worked diligently on enhancing the web-based operating system, on updating the operations manual, and on outreach and training. All that work served us well during the 2005 hurricane season responses.

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact works. It delivered valuable resources quickly and in unprecedented quantities to Member States engulfed in a disaster of catastrophic proportions. A-Teams were in place in Louisiana and Mississippi before Katrina made landfall. Within 36 hours, 6,335 personnel were deployed to the embattled States. That number grew to more than 65,900 in just 80 days. The EMAC deployment of approximately 20,000 civilian personnel was over 23 times larger than the deployment of resources under EMAC during the previous high for the 2004 hurricane season. The additional deployment of more than 46,500 National Guard personnel makes a clear statement that EMAC is both effective and scalable.

The 2005 Report describes the storms and the resulting conditions and provides an overview of EMAC, the operational systems and the resources deployed. It describes major accomplishments and 157 operational, administrative, and managerial issues and more than 250 related recommendations to improve EMAC processes.

After demobilization, individuals deployed to the areas of operations were encouraged to complete a post-deployment survey to gather immediate feedback on EMAC operations. Survey results provided useful first-impression insights to compare with the information gathered during subsequent facilitated forums and with a similar survey conducted following the 2004 hurricane season EMAC response. We also rolled up State level AARs.

For this AAR, two important facilitated focus group breakout sessions were conducted to gather observations from specific constituencies. In January 2006, 60 individuals who served as EMAC Advance Team (A-Team) members in Louisiana and Mississippi and also persons who worked on the EMAC National Coordination Group (NCG), National Coordinating Team (NCT), and Regional Coordinating Team (RCT) met for 2 days in Lexington, KY.

In March 2006, 150 individual operations and management personnel from most of the 48 Assisting States and representatives of the thousands of practitioners in a variety of support disciplines engaged in a similar facilitated debriefing in Atlanta, GA. Representatives of Federal Government agencies and the National Guard Bureau also participated in the March program. These sessions yielded a first-hand critical view of areas of support that worked well, others that caused some difficulties, and some that require remediation.

A multi-tiered validation process ensured information in the final report represents a fair and accurate depiction of EMAC administration, management, and operations. Representatives from all of the respective EMAC constituencies participated in the validation process, which concluded with a review by a steering group organized specifically for that purpose by the Chair of the EMAC Operations Subcommittee.

Now I’ll provide some of the highlights of the recommendations that came through in the review process:

Section 3 covers the evaluation of EMAC leadership, coordination and A-Team operations in the following categories: Operations; Command and Control; Logistics; Finance; and Resource Management


Consider defining the composition of an A-Team for large-scale Level 1 disasters

• Member States should send qualified State and local instructors to the EMAC A-Team train-the-trainer course at EMI in order to maintain an instructional cadre.

• Member States should regularly schedule and conduct the A-Team Field Course.

• Evaluate the family of checklists that have been developed in the field and create a standard set for A-Team operations.

• Expedite development and testing of an electronic version of the REQ-A Form.

• Continue enhancements to implement the fully integrated web based operations systems.

• Institute a feedback requirement whereby a Member State informs the Requesting State if it is considering an open resource request.

• Automatically inform all Member States when a resource request is filled and identify the designated Assisting State(s).

• Develop rapid response A-Team capability with sufficient members to withstand the intensity of functioning under the most demanding operating conditions.

• Establish an initial backfill A-Team

• Incorporate into the EMAC Operations Manual guidance regarding National Guard deployments.

• Develop, in coordination with the National Guard Bureau, an educational presentation that explains Title 32 within the context of an EMAC deployment and also explains the implications of EMAC for deployed National Guard units.

• Prepare and implement a comprehensive education and public awareness campaign for Federal Agencies and Other Partners.

• Improve coordination with the Federal Coordinating Officer.

• Have a description of EMAC included in the National Response Plan.

• Establish a cooperative relationship with law enforcement, firefighter, emergency healthcare, and other professional associations whose members traditionally engage in disaster operations. Establish the EMAC Advisory Group to be inclusive of disciplines/organizations.

• Regularly present in public forums information regarding the nature of EMAC and the conduct of EMAC operations.

• Prepare a brief handout explaining EMAC in concise, simple terminology that can be distributed before and during an emergency.

• Provide EMAC educational materials to professional associations whose members regularly engage in response and recovery missions and to local authorities who use their services.

• Emphasize the need for valid REQ-A documentation to qualify for EMAC reimbursement.

• Develop or adopt a resource typing scheme for the resources most frequently requested under EMAC.

Sections 4 and 5 cover administration and management and resources deployed under EMAC, respectively, in the categories: Executing Deployment; Mobilization and Demobilization; Logistics; Field Operations; and Coordination and Control.


EMAC Member States should review statewide emergency response plans to ensure that a comprehensive and current inventory of local response resources is included.

• Member States should consider adopting a variation of the REQ-A model within the State. This would help familiarize local officials with the REQ-A process and better integrate intra-State and inter-State mutual-aid programs.

• Provisions should be considered to allow different States to collaborate in filling a resource request. For example, one State might provide a specialized response team called for on a REQ-A and another might contribute a sustaining logistical package.

• Member States should consider extending read-only access to local jurisdiction emergency management organizations so that they can better monitor the evolving situation.

• Direct dialogue between the requesting and offering entity should be encouraged whenever feasible to ensure that the specific requirement is clearly understood and the responding resources fully match the requirement.

• The Requesting State should thoroughly brief arriving A-Team personnel on unique aspects of operational, legal, and regulatory protocols.

• EMAC should be included in State and local government personnel training and should be included in all disaster training exercises.

• The EMAC Web site should be used as an information resource for deployed personnel and as a pre-deployment learning aid.

• To enhance EMAC Support from local jurisdictions, provide educational materials to mutual-aid stakeholder organizations for distribution to their membership.

• Consider distributing a one-page summary describing EMAC suitable for insertion into local government Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans.

• The EMAC Executive Task Force should remind Member States that it is incumbent on the Requesting State to ensure that every REQ-A accurately reflects the mission details and resource specifications are sufficient to accomplish the mission.

• As the REQ-A is finalized, all parties should be communicating to ensure that a last minute administrative oversight does not create operational delays.

• Member States should consider increasing the number of personnel authorized to execute the completed REQ-A.

A common theme throughout all sessions and all sections was the importance of continuing and enhancing the outreach and training program for all audiences. You can find out more about EMAC at http://www.emacweb.org/

Thank you for your interest. Remember, engaging with EMAC is engaging with the member states. If you want to become further involved please contact your state’s EMAC personnel.

Now back to our Moderator. And I’ll get to try out my typing skills.

Avagene Moore: Thanks for that fine overview of the 2005 EMAC AAR, Jeff. We will now turn to questions from our audience.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Amy Sebring: Has there been any further progress in working with the NIMS integration center on resource typing and has EMAC been involved with the development of the resource database they are working on?

Jeff Phillips: Amy, typing is huge no matter what discipline you’re coming from. We’re engaged through the EMAC Executive Task Force with the NIC and have also taken on the project as an "of, by and for" the states perspective through NEMA. As for the database we continue to talk and have added the 120 typed resources but have not pushed on the database itself.

Mark Rohr: Amy asked my question. Why would you not just adopt resource typing? It exists now.

Jeff Phillips: Mark, as you know there are a number of schemes and states are grappling, not to mention local governments, with implementation.

Nancy Houston: What transportation resources, including equipment and personnel, were sent via EMAC and how quickly did they arrive?

Jeff Phillips: Nancy, I don't have the exact figures with me but there is an attachment to the AAR that lists that out.

Amy Sebring: Jeff, can you tell us a little more about the EMAC Advisory Group that has been set up? Composition? Participation in implementing the recommendations?

Jeff Phillips: It was a great idea and was our way of formally engaging disciplines and partners; we focused on the major disciplines and their national organizations, such as the I-Chiefs. We've already met and seen the benefit of the effort as a two way street to enhancing knowledge understanding and use of EMAC.

Avagene Moore: Jeff, is the group involved in the latter part of Amy's question re: implementation of the recommendations?

Jeff Phillips: Oh yes, because as I said the most consistent theme in the recommendations is outreach, training, etc. In addition they have been and will be asked to input their expertise on specific recommendations - more at the tactical implementation level.

Mark Rohr: Back to resource typing. The NRP only recognizes one scheme and that is the NIMS 121. Why would EMAC use any other?

Jeff Phillips: Mark, EMAC has attached the 120 into our on-line system but when you practically attempt to use resource typing; often you can only get to kind and definition. The request for IMT is an example, it does not mean the same thing in every state so the 120 alone is not the solution until every entity in the country adopts and implements the exact typing.

Deborah Matherly: I believe you mentioned the additional need for protocols with the National Guard. Could you expand on this, please?

Jeff Phillips: Sure, we count heavily on our NG partners and they have always come to the job. One big issue this time was the use of Title 32. With T32 comes a host of issues that were, for the most part, worked out but we all agreed that formalizing the protocols up front is important so people know what they are getting into and how it all will work. They also provide surge for other capabilities but they are protocol driven as are many of us so we determined a systematic approach should prevail.

Ed Bruette: Communications is always a problem during disasters. What recommendations have been made re: the inclusion of Ham Radio deployment? Have there been any negotiations with the National Association for Amateur Radio (ARRL)?

Jeff Phillips: Not directly. You are correct about the need and capability. The key thing is that assets that can be obtained by more direct mechanisms like HAMs may not need to go through EMAC.

Amy Sebring: Somewhere I got the idea that the Department of Health and Human Services is interested in working with EMAC. Is that correct, and if so, in what area? (Incidentally, there have almost NO Health & Medical resources typed beyond the EMS category and the national resources associated NDMS.)

Jeff Phillips: Yes that is correct; however, here too they were primarily responding to post-Katrina mandates and efforts. We work closely through the NRP ESFs on large scale events through the NRCC and in the affected states, but the need exists in the non-event times to deconflict, discuss, orient, and understand each others needs and capabilities.

Avagene Moore: From your perspective of direct involvement and serving as the EMAC Chair this past year, what is your dream or vision for EMAC over the next 5 to 10 years? What will it take to accomplish this in your opinion?

Jeff Phillips: Wow. If king for a day I would have Intra-State Mutual Aid in every state, with detailed implementing procedures and widespread understanding so that when we get into Inter-State mutual aid it is SEAMLESS! Accomplishing is just like any other core EM principle, that is practice, diligence.

Deborah Matherly: Can you provide an example of the specific challenges in coordinating response with federal entities, and/or recommendations for improving that coordination?

Jeff Phillips: Deborah let me try. I can usually pontificate but typing and pontificating is hard. The ESFs don't always understand or "respect" state's autonomy so it is a challenge for the EMAC leadership to literally fend off "resource mission assignments" from federal partners when they have no such authority. Sometimes they actually get mad, but with a bit of expectations management and communication it usually works out. That is much better done in the non-disaster times than in the heat of a catastrophe but over the years we have had to do it in that environment.

Amy Sebring: I especially like the recommendation to implement the use of the REQ-A down to the local level on a routine basis. I assume that is a request form. Is it available online anywhere to non-EMAC authorized individuals? Is there a published directory of state EMAC POCs? [Note: A copy of the form can be found in the State of Minnesota’s EMAC Operation Plan, pages 23-25 of http://www.hsem.state.mn.us/uploadedfile/MNemacplan.pdf ]

Jeff Phillips: Amy, last question first, the EMAC website has a public and private side; on the public is an interactive list of POCs. On the use of the REQ-A down to the local level we are proceeding very cautiously. We want to give information and collaborate but when resources go between states they are authorized by the highest level of the state and we have to take great care.

Gilbert Gibbs: Noting the recent announcements of the FCC, concerning RACES and ARES, it may be difficult to blend in all the different rules and procedures for message handling in the future. Is EMAC flexible enough to accommodate all those rules changes, to avoid mixing apples with oranges?

Jeff Phillips: Yes and here's why: EMAC doe not speak to practicing emergency operations in the affected states. It is a mechanism for moving resources from one member state to another so the expectations and target capabilities that are implemented under new doctrine, etc don't actually affect EMAC, only the states and localities. Hope that answered your question.

Gilbert Gibbs: That's very good, not the conflict that I envisioned. Thanks.

Amy Sebring: An OASIS Technical Committee is working on a resource related messaging standard. Is EMAC/NEMA participating in that effort?

Jeff Phillips: We are aware. Gary Ham or someone provided Angela Copple, the NEMA EMAC Coordinator with information about two months ago.

Amy Sebring: I think this would relate to the electronic REQ-A very likely.

Deborah Matherly: Do you have an opinion on direct city to city agreements?

Jeff Phillips: Yes, I do. It goes to the core of our 13 article compact that states that EMAC does not preclude or supercede other agreements. The keys I have pointed to when speaking to cities is that there are only a handful of "key provisions" that they need to focus on for their own best interest and they need to understand that they cannot "compel" a state to broker their local-local agreement, but do what you think you need to do to keep people safe and respond.

Amy Sebring: Back to HHS, where pandemic flu is the latest and greatest. I expect EMAC is "All Hazards" in approach, but is there any planning going on in EMAC with respect to pandemic? We are definitely getting the sense that the feds are telling us you are pretty much on your own!

Jeff Phillips: Certainly there is pandemic flu planning going on in the member states, among the key agencies and municipalities and that is always first. EMAC being a resourcing mechanism would only be a topic after resource shortfalls are identified. Interestingly though, I think most of us at the state level have concluded that very little EMAC use is likely in a pandemic scenario because we're all first responsible for protecting our own and we would be hard pressed to let go critical resources when they are needed at home.

Robie Lovinger : What types of State to State collaborative efforts have you seen regarding resources for citizens with disabilities?

Jeff Phillips: In my other capacity, I'm working on the new Targeted Capability List for emergency services for persons with disabilities. This may lead to specific resource needs that states identify as shortfalls and therefore look to use EMAC. EMAC can also be used for evacuation planning across state lines so there are avenues for this conversation.


Amy Sebring: Does EMAC work with volunteer deployment?

Jeff Phillips: Amy, good question, one we get a lot. The answer is not really, because if someone or some entity can volunteer in New Mexico then they can volunteer in Ohio too, through established mechanisms. We focus on resources that by their nature are public or can be brought on to state service.


Anne-Marie: What if any collaboration has EMAC and the National Guard with regard to pandemic planning?

Jeff Phillips: Only at the highest, broadest level through EMAC - although of course at the state level with our other hats we've been very active here.


Jeff Phillips: I think the key for everyone is to remember that resources follow missions or assignments and EMAC is a resource mechanism so if there are no task assignments that are unresourced EMAC is not likely to be used. States also have other ways of filling resource needs so no two states or responses are alike in terms of their use of EMAC. There is no "pro forma" solution that we all plug in.


Avagene Moore: Thank you, Jeff! We greatly appreciate your effort and time on our behalf. We wish you well as you continue your work in New Mexico and we will continue to watch the EMAC as it grows and evolves.

Please stand by a moment while we make some quick announcements. If you are not currently on our mailing list, and would like to get program announcements and notices of transcript availability, please see the Subscribe link on our home page.

We are proud to announce a new EIIP Partner today. We welcome the State University of New York, Canton College of Technology www.canton.edu . The Point of Contact (POC) to the EIIP is Dr. Michael O'Connor, Associate Professor of Emergency and Disaster Management.

If you are interested in becoming an EIIP Partner, please see the "Partnership for You" link on the EIIP Virtual Forum homepage http://www.emforum.org .

Again, the transcript of today's session will be posted later today and you will be able to access it from our home page. An announcement will also be sent to our Mail Lists when the transcript is available.

Thanks to everyone for participating today. We appreciate you, the audience! Before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Jeff for a fine job. The EIIP Virtual Forum is adjourned!