When Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III amazingly landed the U.S. Airways plane he was piloting into the Hudson River, emergency responders sprung into action.
And after the hectic part of the response was complete, Jason Moats, a TEEX training manager received the following e-mail from Brian Onieal with the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness:
“Please thank the staff of TEEX for their help in preparing our first responders and private sector for this port emergency. Everyone is complimenting the unified command operational effectiveness. Good outcomes during emergencies always start with good training.”
Moats is the manager for one of three TEEX training programs designed to teach and practice the “unified command” approach to emergency management and response. A unified command response is one where more than one agency or jurisdiction has authority or functional responsibility during a response to an incident. It facilitates response coordination, resource prioritization and reduces inefficiencies.
Incident Management Training: Moats heads up TEEX’s grant-funded incident management training. The Incident Management course trains emergency response supervisors and mid-level managers in the skills necessary to effectively plan for and manage a large-scale incident using the previously mentioned unified command approach.
Enhanced Incident Management Training: To take it a step further, TEEX proudly operates the Emergency Operations Training Center (EOTC), which is a 32,000-square-foot facility that provides realistic, scenario-based incident management training. The Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command course is taught in the EOTC. The course is designed to give the participants an opportunity to practice the unified command approach by mitigating a computer-simulated disaster in a real-life command post.
“The more you practice, the better your response will be in an actual emergency,” said Dave Nock, training director for the EOTC. “We give emergency managers and responders the opportunity to practice in an environment that looks and feels remarkably close to a real incident.”
Exercises: Finally, TEEX provides varying levels of exercises to jurisdictions, allowing them to assess their plans, policies and procedures during a simulated catastrophic incident in their own backyard. The exercises can range from discussion-based tabletop exercises to full-scale exercises.
A full-scale exercise is the pinnacle of simulated response. Everyone can play. Police, EMS, fire and other emergency personnel actually respond to an incident, while actors play the role of victims.
Over the past two years, TEEX has been assisting the New York/New Jersey Port Authority and responders from both sides of the Hudson in the design, development and delivery of exercises focusing on the establishment and operation of unified command during large-scale incidents.
“It is important that responders to an incident understand the plans, procedures and their role when an incident occurs,” said Hank Lawson, exercise program director for TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center. “It is all about managing chaos when an incident happens. We’ve found planning, training and exercising play a central role in honing an effective response during a crisis.”
Read more about this in the Bryan/College Station Eagle.