On the heels of a successful year in the chapter’s history thanks to a plethora of esteemed Emergency Management speakers and many other accomplishments, the chapter received the well-regarded IAEM 2014 “Student Chapter of the Year” award. Under the supervision of Dr. Duane Hagelgans, numerous initiatives related to the club were implemented including upgrading from the existing Blackboard virtual classroom platform to a more user-friendly Google Hangouts setup. Other improvements have been to substitute some of the outside speakers for a more engaging “Open Forum” a Town-hall meeting of sorts in which those in attendance can openly discuss issues related to Emergency Management and come up with practical solutions.
On Monday, May 19, the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center (LCPSTC) hosted the TRANSCAER Railroad Exercise simulating a railroad derailment in the nearby town of Marietta. There, numerous individuals from various firefighting, emergency management, and other related capacities worked together in a tabletop/functional exercise hybrid to determine best practices in such an event. Also in attendance were 6 of our MSEM students who contributed their time and energy to get hands-on experience with the actions pertaining to a railroad derailment.
At the exercise, the scenario consisted of a timetable 12-18 hours post-incident in which those at the mock Emergency Operations Center would figure out how to best handle the recovery and cleanup. In the EOC were all 15 of the Emergency Support Functions (ie. communications, long-term recovery, etc.) working together including participation from our MSEM students who worked side-by-side professionals to manage the ESFs and help in the “recovery and cleanup” operations.
Two graduate assistants from the CDRE attended the annual Carnival of Majors this spring.
On Monday, May 28th the South Central Task Force hosted a Mass Evacuation Workshop for citizens in the emergency management field for the area. The workshop consisted of a keynote speaker from Louisiana discussing the evacuation during Hurricane Katrina and additional guest speakers discussing programs used during mass evacuation incidents, traffic patterns, and sheltering. The workshop also included breakout sessions with topics such as considering animals during evacuations, state managed shelters, and information from the American Red Cross. We wrapped up the workshop with a presentation from the National Guard and a panel discussion from State representatives from PennDot, National Guard, PA Turnpike, Department of Public Health, Department of Public Welfare and a few others. CDRE graduate assistants Shauna Stoy and Daniel Berndt were joined by Professor Duane Hagelgans, MSEM student Ann Harach and MUPD personnel at the workshop.
The 6th Annual Public Weather Awareness Day, or PWAD, was held this year on Saturday, April 12 and the Center for Disaster Research and Education was yet again in attendance. Cleverly located in close proximity to the Lancaster Emergency Management Agency, the CDRE booth was stocked with information for adults and engaging activities for the children there. Two of our Graduate Assistants Shauna Stoy and Daniel Berndt helped host these booths with Stoy representing the CDRE and Berndt with CERT, also hosted by the CDRE. It was a beautiful day outside, however, with plenty of refreshments, educational and fun activities to participate in, and lots of ‘freebies’ to get, many made the trek to the gymnasium and even Drs. Anderson and Breaux decided to stop by and learn about the weather. As always, it was great fun and great to meet those who stopped by to say hello and we hope to return once again in 2015 for the 7th Annual PWAD!
On Tuesday, April 8th 2014, Exelon Generation in cooperation with the Pennsylvania State Police, FEMA, PEMA, and emergency management agencies from Lancaster, Chester and York Counties, conducted a functional hostile action drill for the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. The scenario involved a radiological incident beginning as a site area emergency at 4:30pm and upgrading to a general emergency throughout the course of the exercise. Millersville University and the Center for Disaster Research and Education were represented at the drill, participating in the Lancaster County Emergency Management Agency (LEMA) Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Professor Duane Hagelgans was assigned as the Public Information Officer (PIO) through his role with the South Central Task Force. CDRE Graduate Assistant, Shauna Stoy, acted as his assistant PIO until halfway through the drill when she took over as PIO completely. This exercise allowed our graduate assistant to gain hands on practical experience in an emergency operations center acting as part of the command staff. Her roles and responsibilities consisted of writing and submitting news releases, providing information to the general public, conducting a media briefing and managing rumor control phone lines. She also gained experience using WebEOC. Concerning her experience, Shauna stated, “This was absolutely one of the greatest experiences I have encountered in my professional emergency management career so far. It was amazing to only be a year into the emergency management graduate program and to have been provided with such an incredible opportunity. The drill was extremely fun and informative. I am very grateful to have acted as part of a command staff in a fully functioning EOC, especially with the experienced and helpful individuals who acted with me during the drill. LEMA really knows what they are doing; it makes me proud to live in such a prepared area.”
This year, the annual South Central Task Force Homeland Security Conference was held at Central Penn College in Harrisburg from March 25th to March 28th. The Conference included outstanding sessions regarding emerging topics in the field of emergency management including preparing for active shooter, proper usage of social media, WebEOC, response to crude oil spills and train derailment issues, and much more. The Center for Disaster Research and Education had a strong presence at the conference with Graduate Assistants Shauna Stoy and Daniel Berndt in attendance. Professor Duane Hagelgans was also present at the conference, introducing presenters on behalf of the South Central Task Force. In addition, many current MSEM students and alumni attended the conference. The Homeland Security Conference is offered every year. Please visit the South Central Task Force website at https://www.sctfpa.org/ for additional information on the conference.
ICS 300 and 400 are successional courses offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in collaboration with Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC). Both courses train emergency services and emergency management personnel on the Incident Command System for expanding and complex incidents. This spring, CDRE Graduate Assistant Shauna Stoy attended and graduated from both ICS 300 and 400. ICS 300 was a three day course offered in February at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center in Maheim, PA; ICS 400 was a two day course offered in March at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, PA. Both courses included a mixture of lecture and scenario-based activity. The knowledge gained from ICS 300 and 400 will not only help Shauna obtain a job in her future career field, but will also provided her with invaluable knowledge to activate during an incident or to share with others during different training opportunities provided by Millersville University and the CDRE.
On Sunday, March 30th, Troy NeVille presented at a DRJ Workshop in Orlando, Florida on "The Future of Business Resilience Testing."The past decade has seen huge changes in the technology business continuity professionals use to enhance business unit resiliency, create plans, and manage the organization response to a crisis, disaster or emergency. These changes include data center virtualization, mass notification systems, integration of mobile technologies for disaster response and recovery, and social media. However, the testing methods used by most organizations have changed little: boring and unrealistic tabletop exercises or costly and disruptive full-scale exercises. This is especially true for testing a response to an emergency such as a fire, hazardous materials incident, industrial accident, active shooter incident or bomb threat. With all of these changes and difficulties, we should not be surprised to learn that many organizations feel the emergency response plans and exercises in their Business Continuity Program do not adequately prepare them for an actual emergency.
This presentation reviewed the current state of business resilience testing, the challenges organizations have in conducting realistic exercises, and the role virtual reality simulation can have now – and will have in the future - to provide the next generation of testing and validation for organizations and their planning efforts. The session explored the weaknesses in current exercises, demonstrate the potential of this technology, and examine the future potential of virtual reality in other aspects of testing.
The key component of the workshop was the live virtual reality simulation of two emergencies. Collectively, the attendees acted as the Incident/Crisis Management Team leader. Key decisions made by the group played out in the simulator. At the conclusion of each emergency, there was a hot wash to review the strengths and weaknesses of the selected strategy and tactics.
This spring, Landisville Middle School launched their first year of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Camp for Women. On March 11th, 2014, CDRE Graduate Assistant Shauna Stoy participated in this Camp on behalf of the Center for Disaster Research and Education and Millersville University. Shauna presented on the topic of Emergency Management and Emergency Preparedness. She explained how she first became interested in science, discussed her goals, objectives and experiences throughout college, and described some of the career options in the emergency management field. At the end of the presentation the students created their very own disaster go-kits. Shauna Stoy was also joined by two meteorology students from Millersville University, Jimmy and Megan, who discussed the topic of Meteorology, how they became interested in the field and potential career options in meteorology. The middle school students were extremely enthusiastic during the presentations and said they had learned a lot. The teacher who lead the camp was Mr. Stephen Sharp. When the event had concluded, Mr. Sharp stated that, "In addition to comments such as “fun” and “interesting” here was some of my favorite comments: “Very interesting, learned some things I never knew about meteorology.” “I used to think of the only thing in forecasting was broadcasting ("being on TV") but there is MUCH more.” One students responses were summarized by “I learned so much about FEMA, more FEMA please, I want to learn more about FEMA.” Landisville Middle School plans on making this STEM Camp an annual opportunity for their students and the CDRE could not have been more pleased to have participated in such a wonderful opportunity.
The 2014 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Conference took place February 1 – 7 in Atlanta, Georgia and our Research Assistant Daniel Berndt had the opportunity to attend. He represented the CDRE and Masters of Science Emergency Management (MSEM) program at the Student Conference’s Career Fair both Saturday and Sunday. Also in attendance was Millersville University’s newest graduate degree program, the Masters of Science in Integrated Scientific Applications (MSISA). The fair was a tremendous opportunity for undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates alike to immerse themselves and explore future opportunities. Countless Graduate Schools and job opportunities ranging from NASA to Accuweather were represented offering individuals a chance to speak with those at the respective company or school, discuss resumes, and possibly even be offered a job.
Professor Duane Hagelgans, Graduate and Current MSEM Student Are Published in the IAEM News Bulletin
Emergency management professor Duane Hagelgans, recent graduate Brian Bannon and current MSEM student Bryan Payne have recently been published in the November 2013 IAEM News Bulletin. The article features information about the mentoring program at Millersville University and the importance of mentoring at the graduate level. This article can be found on Page 7 of the November bulletin using the link provided below.
Dr. Hagelgans is also published on page 19 with CEM Kim Wheatley discussing the role of education in emergency management.
To view the bulletin click here.
On November 7th, CDRE Graduate Assistants, Shauna Stoy and Paul McGonigal, attended the 2013 Business Continuity and Emergency Preparedness Conference which took place at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg, PA. The Business Continuity Conference was hosted through the collaboration of Millersville University's Center for Disaster Research and Education, The South Central Task Force, and the Mid-Penn Chapter of the Association of Contingency Planners. This conference offered several break out sessions including the basics of business impact analysis, emergency response best practices, business continuity planning and evaluation, and testing your business continuity plan. There was also a keynote speaker, Edward Brown, who works for KETCH Consulting. Mr. Brown spoke on the topic of "Why your role as a BCP professional can save lives, jobs, and families." The conference was organized by Mr. Troy Neville and will be hosted again next year for the 2014 Business Preparedness Campain.
The Center for Disaster Research and Education (CDRE) and Millersville University’s Master of Science in Emergency Management (MSEM) Program were represented at the 61st annual International Association of Emergency Management Conference from October 25 to October 31, 2013 in Reno, Nevada. Emergency Management professor Duane Hagelgans was accompanied by CDRE Graduate Assistants Shauna Stoy and Paul McGonigal and MSEM students Alysse Stehli, Ann Harach, and Jarrett McLane. The group participated in promoting the program as part of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Expo (EMEX). The CDRE/MSEM booth received many interested participants with very positive feedback regarding the MSEM program and our new Business Continuity initiative associated with DRI.
In addition to representing the CDRE at the EMEX Booth, the faculty and students attended many intriguing workshops and lectures lead by distinguished professionals in the field of emergency management. Our very own Dr. Hagelgans was one of those distinguished professionals leading a lecture on "Local and Regionalization of Emergency Management: The Future of Emergency Management". In addition, Archeologist Brian Fagan led a discussion on the changing climate and the changes in emergency management throughout different eras associated with our changing climate. Moreover, there were many sessions on planning, preparedness, response and recovery for active shooters, hurricanes and flooding, reunification and the “all hazards” approach. Overall, the conference was very interesting and informative. The MSEM faculty and students had a chance to promote the MSEM program and the CDRE as well as learning valuable information to bring back to improve the program.
On Friday, October 11th, over 100 agencies participated in a full scale active shooter drill at Central York High School. Multiple students from the MSEM program served as victims and observers during the drill. In addition, Dr. Hagelgans participated in the drill as the PIO with the South Central Task Force. “There are very few of these drills that have taken place in the whole nation,” said Dr. Hagelgans. The drill was extremely realistic and put the emergency plans of the school, police, emergency managers, and families to the test.
To view video coverage and a full article on the drill click here!
On Monday, August 19th, Dr. Hagelgans and CDRE Graduate Assistant Paul McGonigal assisted Blue Rock Fire Rescue with live fire extinguisher training for this year’s Resident Hall assistants. Approximately 60 students participated in the fire training exercise, which teaches the students how to properly use a fire extinguisher as well as what to do if there is a fire on campus. The students were given an overview about fires, fire extinguishers and proper evacuation techniques, and then each student was able to use an extinguisher to put out a fire.
On August 19, 2013, Paul McGonigal and Shauna Stoy attended a week long training course at the Emergency Management Institute to prepare them for their upcoming involvement in planning for the Community Emergency Response Team. Paul and Shauna are both beginning their first year in the MSEM Program at Millersville University and serve as the Graduate Assistants for the Center for Disaster Research and Education. The training at EMI included two sections; CERT Train the trainer and CERT Program Manager. When asked about her experience, Shauna Stoy stated the following:
“This course was such an amazing opportunity. The instructors were very energetic, motivating, and informative. I was able to network with people all around the world. I gained a solid foundation encompassing the basics of CERT as well as how to teach the material and manage the program. It was terrific to be able to gain different perspectives on how CERT is run across the country. I have come back to Millersville feeling prepared and excited for our CERT training program, which will be held in October, and I look forward to exploring new ideas to enable our CERT members to be more involved in the Millersville community,”
CERT Training for Millersville University will begin Monday, October 21st. Registration for the Fall 2013 training course is due by Monday, October 14th. For more information on Campus CERT visit the CERT tab on the CDRE Webpage at http://www.millersville.edu/cdre/cert/ or attend the Information Session hosted by Shauna and Paul on Wednesday, October 2nd at 8pm in room 18 of the Student Memorial Center.
By Corporal Robert L. Bailey, MSEM, Pennsylvania State Police, Coatesville, Pennsylvania
As a recent 2013 graduate of Millersville University of Pennsylvania, with a master’s degree in emergency management, I have greatly increased my knowledge base about emergency management. My decision to go back to school to obtain a master’s degree was based solely on my goals and aspirations to improve my educational level and enhance my knowledge base of the field.
EM Skills Useful at Nuclear Power Plants
In 2005, I completed my bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a concentration in criminology. After graduating, I obtained a position as a nuclear security officer with Peach Bottom Nuclear Power Plant. This position provided me with an introduction to the field of emergency management. My job duties included:
- interviewing and detaining people who violate the rules and regulations of the federal government;
- reporting violations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;and
- carrying out investigations to prevent radiological sabotage.
This position gave me the desire to pursue law enforcement with an emphasis on emergency management.
Benefits of EM Skills in State Police Positions
In 2007, I became a trooper for the Pennsylvania State Police. After attending the Pennsylvania State Police Academy, I was assigned to the patrol department. As a patrol trooper, I was tasked with enforcing the traffic and criminal law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I also had the opportunity to investigate criminal and traffic incidents. Law enforcemment works closely with all facets of emergency management, which gave me the opportunity to view the roles of all participants. The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was used in every incident in which I participated, whether it was a unified command approach or a single command
As a patrol trooper, I had an urge to educate myself in the field of emergency management. Typically, law enforcement is seldom considered a part of emergency management. What commonly comes to mind when people think of positions within the emergency management field is EMS, firefighters, emergency managers and American Red Cross. I wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between law enforcement and emergency management. What better way to do so by obtaining a master’s degree in emergency management?
In 2010, I began to take courses at Millersville University for their EM master’s program. From the very first semester, my knowledge base grew dramatically, and I was able to use some of the principles that I learned within my current position. My outlook on emergency management changed in a positive manner, because I knew the terminology commonly used in the field. Topics that I considered to be over my head, or above my pay grade, were topics about which I was now knowledgeable. The master’s program has given me the tools to be an administrator if I choose to do so.
EM Master’s Helped Obtain Criminal Investigator Position
In 2012, I had the opportunity to pursue a position as a criminal investigator (detective) with the Pennsylvania State Police. The selection process for pursuing a specialized position can be daunting and stressful. Due to the master’s program having improved my knowledge base in the emergency management field, I was fully prepared for the interview and selection process. I was fortunate to obtain a position as a criminal investigator. In that role, I have used the principles of emergency management in 100% of my investigations.
Preparing to Take on the Role of Incident Commander
I was recently promoted to the rank of corporal with the Pennsylvania State Police. The testing process to get promoted can be time consuming and challenging. The master’s program prepared me to be successful in the promotional process. As a patrol corporal, my responsibilities consist of being an incident commander at smallor large-scale events. I also have to know what resources are available to effectively bring an incident to a successful resolution. Being able to work with different agencies and having full knowledge of common terminology used in the field of emergency management has given me an advantage.
Looking Toward the Future
After completing my master’s degree, I now wish to pursue a doctorate degree in organizational leadership. The master’s degree has given me the knowledge base to be an effective leader in my field. My decision to go back to school to obtain my master’s degree has provided me an advantage on what to expect professionally in the field of emergency management.
MSEM Student Dennis Merrigan Selected as Milton Hershey School Intern for Home Life Programs and Student Safety
Dennis Merrigan is currently attending Millersville University pursuing his Masters of Science in Emergency Management. This spring, Dennis was awarded an internship with the Milton Hershey School involving the development of an “All Hazards” Plan for large residential Schools. The project includes the development of a plan that will address all types of crises, emergencies, and disasters that may impact the campus. The plan will include all phases of an emergency: Prevention; Preparedness; Response; and Recovery. Dennis will be responsible for assisting in the development of the plan by facilitating and attending meetings, gathering necessary information from key stakeholders, comparing data from similar institutions as well as planning and formatting documents to be included in the final comprehensive plan.
The “best” test for a BC plan is an actual disaster. As recent disasters have highlighted, they always seem to find the weaknesses in “tested” plans. These weaknesses can result from incorrect assumptions by planners, lack of support for controls by management, management being overwhelmed by the emergency situation or planners lacking the mechanisms to realistically test some disaster scenarios. In any case, the weaknesses in BC plans can have serious negative impacts on the business – the very thing we are trying to avoid. The challenge is improving testing to help identify these weaknesses before a disaster strikes. Tabletop exercises can only go so far but full scale exercises disrupt operations and are expensive.
Troy Neville has over 20 years of experience in information technology and emergency services with an M.S. in Emergency Management and a B.S. in Computer Science. In addition to being certified as an ABCP, he is also a certified Fire Officer III, Fire Service Instructor II and Incident Safety Officer. Troy’s knowledge and experience in both BC and first responder realms will provide a unique perspective to BC plan testing for an emergency response.
In the BC world, “emergency response” is generally divided into two time frames: before the arrival of emergency services and after the arrival of emergency services. Successful management of an emergency requires not just good planning, but trained personnel able to handle the pressures of a crisis, especially when lives are at risk. Many disasters also involve careful coordination with emergency services including fire, medical and law enforcement agencies. However, reduced public safety budgets may limit the ability of these agencies to fully participate in exercises. Even with their participation, realistically simulating an actual fire, active shooter, bomb threat or chemical incident in real time is another challenge that can be difficult to overcome.
What is the alternative? Many industries have turned to computer-based simulations to provide realistic training at reduced costs. Can this technology be used for BC plan testing by businesses?
In “Testing Emergency Response in Virtual Reality”, attendees will discover the exciting potential of virtual reality simulation in business continuity testing. The session will show how computer-based technology can be used to enhance BC plan testing to help ensure the organization, its people and its procedures are ready to respond to an emergency.
Emergency Response Session 2 - Testing Emergency Response in Virtual Reality