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What is a Tabletop Exercise (TTE)? Focused practice activity that places the participants in a simulated situation requiring them to function in the capacity that would be expected of them in a real event.
TTE Purpose Promote preparedness by testing Policies Plans Training personnel Many successful responses to emergencies over the years have demonstrated that exercising pays huge dividends when an emergency occurs
After-Action Report – 1995 Bombing The After-Action Report following the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City made the following recommendation regarding problems that were identified in integrating the response efforts of multiple agencies…
After-Action Report – 1995 Bombing “Planning, training, and exercising are the only feasible recommendations. If an integrated emergency management system is to be utilized and effective in future disasters, all levels of government must be on the same page of the book. Effective coordination cannot be achieved during the chaos following any disaster. Relationships must be established, plans written and tested, and procedures agreed upon. Regardless of what our particular role is, our mission is the same… to provide effective response and recovery through coordinated logistics, communications, and information support systems.”
TTE Benefits Increase readiness in the event of an actual emergency Provide a means to assess effectiveness of response plans and response capabilities Serve as a training tool for response personnel and their involvement with response agencies Provide and opportunities to practice skills and improve individual performance in a non-threatening environment
Require participants to network with each other and pre-plan decisions on how to use resources Identify planning conflicts and gaps Identify resources needs and opportunities for sharing of resources Clarify internal and external roles and responsibilities TTE Benefits (cont.)
When was the last time…? …you looked at these? …you updated it? Consider the following… Does that person still work there? Didn’t he change positions? We changed cell phone carriers and we all got new phone numbers Do the new employees or newly promoted employees even know where the ERP is?
TTE Climate Change Scenarios Extreme Drought Intense Fire in Protected Catchment Extreme Flooding Impact of Freeze Thaw Shift on Main Breaks Scenario Sea Level Rise
Importance of TTEs What happens if your go-to person decides to take a vacation overseas? Inaccessible by phone or email Unsure of where to get repair parts for the piece of equipment that never breaks TTEs are more important now than ever. Many organizations are having retirements and with the retirements institutional knowledge is walking out the door
Ask yourself… Who would you call from your County, State, or Federal Government if you need assistance? Would you like to know this now rather than 3 AM Sunday morning?
Why not conduct a TTE while that institutional knowledge is still there?
TTE Exercise Objectives Define or refine participants’ roles and responsibilitiesin regards to managing the consequences of a water contamination incident, which should be reflected in their plans, policies, and procedures and other preparedness elements currently in place or under development Build relationships between utilities and stakeholders Determine neighboring utility infrastructure capabilities and needs
TTE Exercise Objectives (cont.) Identify infrastructure coordination requirements of state agencies coordinating under the appropriate Emergency Support Functions Identify other needed enhancements related to training, exercises and other preparedness elements currently in place or under development
TTE Roles and Responsibilities (cont.) Players respond to the situation presented based on expert knowledge of response procedures, current plans and procedures, and insights derived from training and experience Facilitatorslead the exercise by presenting the scenario narrative and facilitating the discussion period and “hot wash” (Action-Planning Session or review session) Evaluators monitor the exercise, track accomplishments according to objectives, and may ask questions Observersobserve the exercise but do not participate in the facilitated discussion period
Water Contamination Scenario (cont.) The local news reports a generalized increase in stomach flu for the community. Due to several recent intrusions and intentional contamination incidents on drinking water utilities around the region, the drinking water utility staff is concerned. The drinking water utility decides to increase sampling, but during morning briefings, finds that a large percentage of the utility staff are out sick or are at home taking care of sick family members.
Water Contamination Scenario (cont.) The agency’s executive director calls in the afternoon stating that there are rumors that the drinking water is the source of the outbreak of illness and that news reports have started to mention drinking water in association with the outbreak. A local hospital calls later in the afternoon and states that laboratory tests are completed and that positive Cryptosporidium resultshad been reported in clinical samples from sick patients.
Water Contamination Scenario (cont.) Central Lake County JAWA has called an emergency meeting including participation from Lake County Health Department, along with agency member utilities. An environmental group is asking whether the wastewater plants will be affected by Cryptosporidium and if the treatment plants will be able to remove or kill it before the water is discharged to the environment.
Water Contamination Scenario (cont.) The drinking water utility decides to take samples from the water distribution system to send to a laboratory for analysis. The member water utilities that receive water from the potentially affected agency are calling to see if the source of the contamination has been determined. Other drinking water utilities along Lake Michigan are calling to determine whether other utilities may also be at risk.
General ERP Questions The questions are divided among eight categories that cover select areas of an ERP Due to their broad focus, some questions can fit into several categories simultaneously Categories
Scenario-Specific Questions The questions are divided among eight themes that cover a variety of issues relevant to the water sector. The answers to these questions should be dependent on the scenario.
Emergency Response Plans Utility Preparedness Laboratory Support Business Continuity Local and State Coordination Federal Coordination Mutual Aid and Assistance Law enforcement
Action-Planning Session Assigned responsibilities, resources and timelines for each action/task/follow-up
Cryptosporidium U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a handbook regarding Cryptosporidium Issuing a boil water advisory (BWA) for the protection of public health from waterborne pathogens has serious implications for a community and must be done only after careful considerations Decisions must frequently be made within relatively short periods of time and with either incomplete or inconclusive information. The most effective way for a community to make decisions is to establish a local task force well in advance of any potential crisis to discuss issues that are critical to BWA decision making. The task force should consist of representatives from public health and regulatory agencies and the water utility.
Most Common Complaint Insufficient information This is exactly what happens during an emergency situation. You are being asked to make decisions with insufficient information.
One more thing… Wouldn’t you rather plan prior to the emergency and know that you have some sort of plan?
Questions? Robert L. Martin, P.E. Water Services Director Alfred Benesch & Company 312-565-0450 firstname.lastname@example.org 205 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60601