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Operation Wright Plan

The Region 13 Task Force was formed as a federal pilot program to unify training, command structure, and pool resources for improved emergency readiness.   It is composed of 13 counties surrounding and including the City of Pittsburgh in Southwestern Pennsylvania and has been developing methods for inter-juristically management in emergency situations.  This includes executing various regional emergency exercises, such as the PNC Park and Arnold Palmer Regional Airport exercises.  Region 13 Emergency Response management requires a method to track personnel, assets, and other related resources before, during and after emergency operations.  Accurate and current “real-time” information is of critical importance for full utilization of emergency resources and for the protection of Emergency Responder (ER) personnel.  All information transmitted from the field should be relevant to operations, place no additional burden on field personnel, and be verifiable by multiple sources.

Currently, each of Region 13 counties and the City of Pittsburgh has installed Emergency Track Software (ETS) that maintains personnel registration information in discrete MS-Access databases.  The county databases contain personnel records for each emergency responder including: a picture, a barcode number, driver’s license number, job description, job related certifications and other pertinent information.  ETS is used to produce all County ID cards that are distributed to Region 13 Emergency Responder staff.

This comprehensive effort to collect and maintain Region 13 personnel information with ETS was the first phase in being able to authorize, identify, and manage emergency personnel.  For the second phase, Region 13 has implemented Knowledge Center which is a Web-based portal for performing Accountability Management of emergency situations. For the final phase, Region 13 desires the purchase of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software that can seamlessly integrate to both systems.  The COTS system will enable Region 13 to do their emergency response field data collection and transmittal where existing County ID card barcodes and asset barcodes can be scanned and used to track and monitor all field activities.    

On the advice of a known subject matter expert for Emergency Responder systems, Doctor Victor Tucci, President of Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Health and Safety, Inc, TDS’s EMITS™ was recommended to be used in a “proof-of–concept” exercise, to be conducted during the multi-county emergency preparedness exercise Operation Wright, to determine if it could meet Region 13’s personnel and asset tracking requirements.  Operation Wright was a well planned exercise of staged emergency events, the first day being a response to a bomb threat and a response to reported potential hazardous material spill.  The second day conducted was a response to a reported industrial accident with substantial exposure to the public.  TDS personnel were to observe operations in the field and at the County EOC for the first day of operations, and then EMITS™ was scheduled to be used for accountability on the second day of operations.

For Operation Wright, the EMITS™ Client software was installed on Motorola-Symbol handheld mobile computing devices.  Each device was equipped with a barcode scanner used for tracking members as they check into and out-of emergency locations.  As Emergency Responders arrived on the scene, their security badges were scanned, their personnel information validated, and their respective credentials added to the Command Center resource availability roster.  The Motorola-Symbol Handheld mobile computing device accessed our EMITS™ central server, wirelessly, in real time and returned a picture of the ID-holder, personnel information, and current event status for each scanned member.  At this point in the process a tracking record was created allowing command personnel to follow  activities, such as Check-in, Check-out, Injury, entry in and out of the Hot Zone, etc.,.  The EMITS™ Real Time Monitor program running from Command Center enabled Situational Analysis and other advanced incident tracking functions.  EMITS™ produced a comprehensive personnel tracking of the entire exercise and it was subsequently used to complete the EPA required Personnel Accountability Report (PAR).

Overall Results:

Event Location: Steward Township 10/25/2008

Event Description: Simulated Biohazard Spill and Public Exposure Exercise

  Total Personnel Tracked = 61
  Total Fayette Members = 22
  Total Somerset Members   = 15
  Total Temporary Members = 24
  Temporary Fayette Members = 11
  Temporary Somerset Members = 11
  Temporary Other Members   = 2
  Exercise Started = 10/25/2008 10:00AM
  Exercise Stopped = 10/25/2008 12:00PM

EMITS™ performed quickly and flawlessly, so as not to inhibit personnel from performing their duties.  All Motorola/Symbol devices continued operating despite inclement weather thoroughly soaking the mobile devices throughout the entire exercise. 

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