C3 Meeting Summaries
10-21-10 NIMS Implementation Requirements, Farewell to FEMA’s June Uson
The Oregon FEB, GSA NW/Arctic Region and FEMA Region X’s bi-monthly Oregon and SW Washington Crisis Continuity Coalition (C3) meeting last month was like no other the group of local federal emergency management professionals had held. It was the last one with long-time FEMA Region X National Continuity Program Manager June Uson. After a 27 year career in federal service, June’s last day at FEMA will be November 3rd.
Since 2004, June has been a reliable partner with the Oregon FEB in hosting our local emergency preparedness working group, delivering no-cost FEMA training to Oregon, and helping plan and host preparedness exercises. She has been a vital part of assisting local federal agencies to be more prepared in the event of an emergency. The Oregon FEB is grateful for her dedication, expertise and friendship, and she will be missed.
In other C3 business, FEMA’s Matt Bernard presented new National Incident Management System (NIMS) implementation requirements for federal agencies. NIMS is the overarching system that provides a template for federal, state, local and tribal govern-ments, non-profits and the private sector to work together to prepare for and respond to emergencies. For more information on NIMS, go to
Leslie Malek, Senior Records Analyst from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Pacific Alaska Region, carefully slipped a sheet of mylar under the multiple page document drowning in a bin of water. She lifted out the mylar with the soaked document gripped to it and held them upright, letting excess water drip from them back into the bin. She then placed the two face up on top of some paper towels, and slowly pulled the mylar sheet out from under the document. She advised the 20 federal emergency managers in attendance to let the document dry in the open air or with a light fan circulating in the room. Don't use a hair dryer! Once the document has dried sufficiently, the pages can be pulled apart and paper towels can be placed between them to soak up additional water. This is part of the tedious but critical process of recovering water-damaged vital records.
Malek also explained the importance of having a vital records plan, determining priorities, and backing up as much as possible at off-site locations. One of the successes that arose from Hurricane Katrina was that many of the federal agencies in the region had their vital records in electronic format, on servers that were outside of the region. However, there are still often some vital records in hard copy, and they are the ones at greatest risk when exposed to moisture. Mold can begin to set up on wet documents in 24-48 hours, so time is of the essence.
June Uson of FEMA Region X reviewed the recently released FCD-1, and briefly summarized FCD-2. June also made reference to a new continuity evaluation tool, a COOP excellence series that FEMA has developed, and a continuity communications directive released last year (this document is For Official Use Only and cannot be posted online).
Steve Borgen then distributed a Guide to Security and Emergency Preparedness in the Planning Process from the Oregon Department of Transportation, and the City of Portland's Evacuation Annex. This was intended to highlight the need to consider transportation issues and obstacles when developing and implementing continuity plans. Steve also distributed a document that summarized how several metro areas around the country have been implementing the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Trasportation Equity Act of 2005, and a notice from Tri-Met about how they offer free taxi ride service to those employees with passes and whose employer participates in a transit pass program.
The meeting included June Uson of FEMA’s overview of the recent National Security Presidential Directive/Homeland Security Presidential Directive. It establishes a single National Continuity Coordinator responsible for the development and implementation of federal continuity policies.
Layne Frambes, Area Commander of the Federal Protective Service, also provided some of his insights into what contributes to good emergency preparedness and continuity planning. His recommendations included having more than one option when it comes to both planning and communications, do the “what ifs” (worst-case scenarios), understand that not everyone can be counted on, and develop relationships/communications channels now, before an event takes place.
Despite the rough weather in the Northwest during the week of Jan. 15th, The Oregon FEB, in partnership with FEMA and the General Services Administration, pulled off their pandemic flu tabletop exercise without a hitch. Almost forty federal and local government employees braved the ice and cold to learn from each other how to better prepare for a potential pandemic flu outbreak.
Special guest Dr. JD Malone of the Pacific NW National Laboratory in Washington opened with some fascinating background into the nature of pandemic flu, the research being done to combat it and several preventative methods. Matthew Smith from FEMA then facilitated the scenarios and points of discussion, which delved into everything from evaluating planning assumptions to how agencies return to normal operations once the pandemic is actually over. Some experts predict that absenteeism rates could be as high as 30 - 40% during the peak of an outbreak.