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Federal, State and Local Agencies Use WebEOC Emergency Management Software to Conduct National Level Exercise 2011
May 26, 2011 (05:05 PM EDT)
AUGUSTA, Ga., May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On February 7, 1812, after months of powerful earthquakes in the central United States, a major earthquake destroyed New Madrid, Missouri, in what is now known as the New Madrid seismic zone.
To prepare for this type of disaster, several central U.S. states, along with federal government agencies, volunteer organizations and the private sector began a weeklong earthquake preparedness exercise from May 16 - May 20, 2011 entitled the National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011), part of the National Exercise Program (NEP). Many of the participants from the federal, state and local level used WebEOC® crisis information management software from ESi® to manage the exercise.
"The support provided by ESi's staff before and during the National Level Exercise was key to the success of Kentucky's largest exercise in history," said Kentucky National Guard Brigadier General John Heltzel, Director, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management (KYEM) and Chairman of the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC).
"ESi provided specialists months in advance of the NLE and their WebEOC expertise helped streamline KYEM's response to incidents in Kentucky. ESi's willingness to work hand-in-hand with ESRI, Virtual USA, the Kentucky National Guard and Kentucky Division of Emergency Management was impressive."
"Obviously we are big believers in the concept of WebEOC, the product itself and greatly appreciate ESi's support in ensuring not only Kentucky's success, but the success of all Central United States Earthquake Consortium states during the NLE and beyond," General Heltzel said.
"This was the largest exercise in the history of the commonwealth and the first time we rolled WebEOC out for use around the state of Kentucky – and the system performed beautifully," added Doug Eades, System Integration Manager, Kentucky Division of Emergency Management.
"Besides the Division of Emergency Management, WebEOC users included representatives from the Kentucky National Guard, the Kentucky Air National Guard, state agencies, including Transportation, Health and Agriculture, 11 regional emergency managers and many county emergency managers. At times we had over 230 people logged into WebEOC for this exercise."
KYEM implemented WebEOC less than a year ago. During April, 2011 they conducted 16 WebEOC training sessions around Kentucky for state and local emergency managers, including approximately 200 National Guard members. "In early April we had approximately 300 users trained and ready to log in with user ids … by last week we had over 700 users, with over 100 coming in just last week," Mr. Eades said. "We also went beyond FEMA's mandate and had over 3,000 WebEOC event injects for the exercise."
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is also a new WebEOC customer and NLE 2011 was their first activation. "In the state EOC, many of our personnel started their WebEOC training just two weeks before the exercise, and training for some personnel was still going on the Friday before the exercise started," according to Kelli Blackwell, Public Information Specialist, Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Over a four-day period, the state EOC was activated for 67 hours.
"During the course of our earthquake exercise entitled 'Shaken Horizon,' 482 representatives from local, state, federal and volunteer organizations logged in and used WebEOC," Ms. Blackwell said. Agencies represented included the Ohio National Guard, American Red Cross, FEMA Region V, Ohio Homeland Security, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and more than 20 other state agencies.
"Overall, our users reported that WebEOC was very user friendly and easier to work with than our previous crisis information management software. Users really liked the ability WebEOC has to open multiple information windows simultaneously," Ms. Blackwell said.
Alabama and Tennessee were scheduled to take part in this national exercise but were unable to do so because they were dealing with major emergencies, including flooding and recovery from tornado damage.
"These activations for actual disasters underscore the importance of training and exercises to hone skills that are necessary to save lives and property when disaster strikes," said John O'Dell, Chief Technology Officer for ESi. "We're proud that WebEOC was the crisis information management tool used by many participants in NLE 2011 and salute our customers for their success and hard work."
Founded in 1996, Augusta, Georgia-based ESi®, the global leader in crisis information management solutions, pioneered the market with WebEOC®, the world's first Web-enabled emergency management communications system. Recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America for the past four years, ESi connects crisis response teams and decision makers at national, state and local agencies, healthcare providers, airlines and corporations worldwide, providing access to real-time information for a common operating picture during a crisis or daily operations. By offering a solutions package from initial design and installation through training, implementation and maintenance, ESi sets the standard for crisis information management. For more information, please visit www.ESi911.com.