Preparing for the Season: Partners in Preparedness Summit 2018

This week is the annual Partners in Preparedness Summit, hosted by a variety of agencies and response focused groups in Mississippi (MEMA, MSDH, etc.). This summit highlights the importance of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agencies message of being prepared for the upcoming hurricane, as well as any other potential disasters on the horizon. 

This event was highlighted by several speakers who referenced the struggles of Hurricane Harvey and the issues surrounding access on the coast during that devastating storm. This point of emphasis, in addition to the several other's surrounding preparedness, highlighted the importance of not only being prepared, but also having a continuity plan in place.

Our goal at ER-ITN is to ensure that every organization in both Louisiana and Mississippi is prepared for the 2018 hurricane season and understands the value of both readiness to prepare as well as readiness to response. 

We hope that you'll take some time to review https://msprepsummit.com, as well as our information regarding access, to ensure you know exactly what you need before the next disaster strikes.

The National Crisis Event Response and Recovery (CERRA) Effort

The Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) represents a nationwide effort sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council (ESSCC) to create a nationwide standard for access after emergency events. CERRA is designed to allow emergency management, law enforcement, and businesses to coordinate access and ensure predictable, expedited, and efficient economic recovery. 

CERRA uses a local approach in which jurisdictions use the CERRA Framework to adopt their own Emergency Access Program that allows them to become interoperable nationwide, and also include various additions and amendments that are crucial to their individual jurisdiction. This process is coordinated through TruEntry to ensure that each jurisdiction can understand the exact steps they need to take in order to get involved with CERRA and that they can participate with ease. 

To learn more please visit https://truentry.org/cerra or https://cerraaccess.org

 

ER-ITN Freezing Event (Louisiana/Mississippi)

In January of 2018 ER-ITN was activated for it's first "Freezing Event". This event was characterized by heaving freezing on major state roads (Ex. I-10). This forced state law enforcement to temporarily close bridges and certain areas of major state roads for public safety. As a result of these closures, certain vehicles needed access into these areas and used their Access Placards in order to do so. 

This event highlights the many applications that an Emergency Access Program can have within a jurisdiction. Not only do these programs apply to Hurricanes and major storms, but they also have applicability for winter weather events, and even non-emergency events (concerts, etc.).

In addition, once an organization is registered within the system they have the flexibility to both use the system during major events and also use it within their own facility for access! The systems ability adapt to all situations allows it to be used for a variety of different solutions.

If your'e interested in using your system for more than just major events our staff can give you access to the Verify Application (for your facility) which will allow you to use the system for various different access situations!

Contact Us to Learn More

ER-ITN 2018 Updates and the 2017 Storm Season

The new year is finally upon us and we can say goodbye to 2017 and the second worst hurricane season on record for the mainland U.S. We we're extremely fortunate in Mississippi and Louisiana that we only experienced major closures as a result of a small portion of Hurricane Harvey and a weak Hurricane Nate. Despite this, we may not be so lucky in 2018 and need to ensure we are prepared in case a strong storm chooses to shift direction straight up the Gulf Coast. 

The below information includes updates for ER-ITN in 2018 and some basic information on the 2017 storm season that can help put it in perspective. 

ER-ITN 2018 Updates

Monthly Newsletter - Our Newsletter will now being going out monthly to organizations starting next Monday! (January 15th)

National Emergency Access Program Effort - DHS/FEMA have now supported a new national effort which will help ER-ITN's region and two other regional programs across the nation!

New Support Services - ER-ITN will be using additional support services this year to help ensure that all organizations receive excellent support

2017 Storm Season Recap

2017 Storm Events effecting Louisiana/Mississippi: Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Nate, Tropical Storm Cindy 

Total Activation Time in Louisiana/Mississippi: 17 Days of Activation

Total Private or Public Personnel Checked-In or Out of Area: 9,672

Notes:

We we're extremely fortunate that we did receive the brunt of the disaster in 2017. However, in 2018 anything could happen and we need to be prepared to ensure that all organizations understand their business continuity and resiliency plans during a disaster

 

 

Hurricane Nate - Quick Access and Response

Hurricane Nate was a fast moving storm that made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi on Saturday, October 7th. This storm formed in the lower portion of the Gulf Coast and required an expedited response time, shrinking the timeline from the usual 10 days, to roughly 3 days of preparation. The storm made landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane and was an excellent representation of the response and coordination that has developed within the past 10 years. Hurricane Nate caused minimal damage due to the strong infrastructure in both states and the coordinated resulted in fast access for organizations, emergency responders, and public agencies.

This access was an excellent representation of the ease of access that has developed under both the Mississippi Emergency Access Program (MEAP) and the Louisiana State Credentialing Access Program (LSCAP). All organizations requiring access received their documents prior to the storm and we're able to access their facilities and sites without any reported problems. This seamless coordination from response to access shows how well both programs can operate even in unconventional storms such as Hurricane Nate.

For more information, and to register for the program, please visit https://eritn.com/registration

Hurricane Irma - Lessons Learned

Hurricane Irma represented the second massive storm of the 2017 Hurricane Season and continued the trend of this very active season. Hurricane Irma showed the exact reason organizations and emergency responders need to focus on resiliency and preparation before a storm.

This Hurricane was not only massive in width, stretching at times over 200 miles of Tropical Storm force winds, but also showed the need for coordination within Recovery. As the current recovery efforts in Florida are ongoing, it has become clear that there is little communication between private businesses, individuals, and law enforcement in understand who should receive access, at what point they are allowed access, and at what checkpoints they should enter in order to get access.

This lack of defined Emergency Access Program resulted in frustrated citizens, confused organizations, and an unnecessary economic burden. This represents the problem that MEAP and LSCAP have worked to solve and stands as a clear reminder of why registering for access prior to an event can not only save time but also help your organization recover in days as opposed to weeks.

Learn More about MEAP/LSCAP: https://www.eritn.com/registration-information/

Hurricane Harvey - Louisiana's Second Event

Hurricane Harvey hit the US Gulf Coast this past week and represented a devastating and catastrophic level event to Texas and supporting private businesses in the gulf coast. However, one of the facts that has seemingly been left out of national news coverage is that Louisiana also felt a large impact from Hurricane Harvey due to the combined flood and wind damage for this powerful storm.

Fortunately for the private/public organizations located in these areas our emergency access program was established and prepared to support the businesses of these affected areas with expedited access through law enforcement checkpoints.

As a whole, over 1,000 vehicles used their individual Vehicle Placard to gain access through a checkpoint and back to their facilities. These organizations ranged from multiple sectors including but not limited too Healthcare, Emergency Management, Communications, Public Utilities, Hazardous Materials, and Logistics. This represented an excellent use of the program where businesses could access their facilities quickly without any concern of being stopped or held up at local/state checkpoints.

For more information on how to register with the program and ensure you have access please visit: How to Register in LA/MS and Receive Access?

Tropical Storm Cindy - FIrst Active Event of the Season

Tropical Storm Cindy

Tropical Storm Cindy marks the first active event of the 2017 Hurricane Season. This event resulted in major flooding to occur in Louisiana as well as localized flash flooding in the three southern most counties in Mississippi. This storm stands a reminder of the impact of tropical events, even minor tropical storms, and the ramifications of the their impact with or without significant wind damage.

ER-ITN Access Program Response

The ER-ITN Access Program was able to respond swiftly and efficiently to the first active event of the season. In the span of 4 days between June 20th-24th, the program was able to register over 100 new organizations and ensure they were prepared with vehicle placards in the event of a evacuation or reentry requirement to their facilities. This event represented an excellent opportunity for the program to prepare for larger events and work towards the constant improvement in the process of reentry to ensure organizations and individuals can recover as fast as possible.

For more information regarding Tropical Storm Cindy's Activation: Click Here

Partners in Preparedness, Louisiana State Police, and the 2017 Hurricane Season

The 2017 Hurricane Season has officially started, and with it comes the necessity for all organizations to prepare for the possibility of a tropical event.

This season has been predicted to be an above average in the Atlantic. This specifically means that their is above a 75% chance that the season will be either average or above average in terms of tropical storms. This signals the importance of preparing for a hurricane and eventual reentry by setting yourself up with the ER-ITN Access Program.

Partners in Preparedness Summit

With the start of Hurricane Season came the Partners in Preparedness Summit. This event allows local counties, law enforcement agencies, the national guard, and state emergency management agencies to come together to discuss the preparation requirements for the year as well as various emergency management updates. This conference was unique this year in that it emphasized the importance of preparation in all aspects, ranging from the resources required to protect your facilities from a storm to the eventual access required after a storm. This showed the continued support of the state of Mississippi for using and implementing the access program for all tropical and local emergency events.

Louisiana State Police

The Louisiana State Credentialing Access Program (LSCAP) is implemented by the Louisiana State Police and their renewed use of the program has been clear by their efforts to continually communicate the value of the program throughout Louisiana. The goal of the ER-ITN Access Program is to support LSCAP and the registration and enrollment of organizations in order to ensure that everyone is prepared once they reach a Louisiana State Police Checkpoint. 

 

Preparation for the 2017 Hurricane Season

The official start of the 2017 Hurricane Season on the Gulf Coast is June 1st, 2017. In preparation for this date there are several things you should look for, and consider as the season begins:

1) Is your business prepared for a Hurricane?

Both Louisiana and Mississippi offer various resources that can allow you to get a leg up on preparation for a hurricane. For a business one of the most valuable resources is developing a resiliency plan in case of an emergency.

This resiliency plan should include: What actions should be taken for an impending Hurricane, What personnel are required to operate during or directly after a storm, and what necessary precautions are required prior to a storm's arrival.

2) Is your business prepared for what happens AFTER a hurricane?

Once the hurricane is over, your business needs to start the process of response, damage assessment, and recovery. In order to do this you will require access to your facilities. Access after even a minor storm can be restricted and this will may require using the ER-ITN Access Program in order to reenter into your facility. 

If you believe you will need access after a disaster make sure to go to the Frequently Asked Questions section to better understand your access requirements and your time of access. 

3) Weather Forecasting

When a disaster is going to occur it's always difficult to understand which weather forecasting to trust. The ER-ITN Access Program, and several other state agencies, traditionally use the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to look at the long and short range models for various tropical events. This is the source we recommend you check, and the one we will provide our updates from.

NOAA Hurricane Forecasting: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/

LSCAP, MEAP and The National Hurricane Conference

The National Hurricane Conference is currently underway in New Orleans and represents an excellent opportunity to learn more about preparedness, recovery, and reentry during a hurricane. This event combines workshops and individuals that give their insights into the various stages involved in preparing for a Hurricane. 

Naturally one of the most valuable parts of this conference is understanding the recovery process after a Hurricane. Highlighted in this was emphasis on the necessity for LSCAP in Louisiana as well similar programs expanding throughout the gulf coast. Hurricanes represent one of the clearest dangers to the gulf coast economy and best examples of where the program can be used effectively and efficiently. This conference offered an excellently opportunity to repeat that message and garner support for reentry programs across the coast. 

To learn more about The National Hurricane Conference please visit: http://hurricanemeeting.com/

To prepare for the upcoming hurricane season and register your organization please visit our Registration Page.

MEMA and the 2017 Partners in Preparedness Summit

This year ER-ITN will be attending the 2017 Partners in Preparedness Summit at the IP Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Mississippi Emergency Access Program (MEAP) are coordinating to ensure that everyone attending the summit has ease of access to register for the statewide reentry program. Our registration desk will be located directly next to the registration desk at the conference.

We will be able to register, enroll, and change personnel in your system during the course of summit. If you're planning on attending, please take the time to ensure you're registered in the program and fully prepared for the 2017 season!

For more information on the Partners in Preparedness Conference visit: http://www.msprepsummit.com/

For more information on the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency visit: http://msema.org/

MSRWA and ER-ITN Partnering to Provide Access to Water/Utility Companies

ER-ITN is excited to continue a partnership with the Mississippi Rural Water Association (MSRWA). This partnership has strengthened in 2017 and will result in ER-ITN and MSRWA partnering at various MSRWA events.

ER-ITN will be working to enroll and register water companies in the Mississippi Emergency Access Program. We feel it is an absolute priority that water companies are prepared for reentry in 2017 and in future, and will put our full effort to ensure they're prepared for the upcoming season!

MSRWA Events with ER-ITN Participation

June 6th - MSRWA Training Session (Biloxi Convention Center)

June 20th - MSRWA Facility Training Session (Raymond, MS)

 

Learn more about the Mississippi Rural Water Association here: http://www.msrwa.org/

The new ER-ITN website is now live!

The new ER-ITN website has been introduced, offering additional functionality that will allow member organizations access to more information as well as up to date communications of any events.

New website features:

  • Website redesign - Allowing for easier access of information and resources necessary to using the program. 
  • Event Status Bar - Allowing you to see what events are active, at what access level, and within what locations. 
  • News Feed - Allowing you to see all program initiatives as well as various events and conferences supported by the program.