Intermedix News

    Atlanta-Fulton County EMA Using WebEOC for Election Support

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – The Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (AFCEMA) is using WebEOC to support its Elections Department and Public Safety agencies leading up to the local, state, and Presidential elections on November 6, 2012. 

    Fulton County, Georgia, is one of the five core counties of the Atlanta metropolitan area, and the county seat is Atlanta, with a population of just over one million. The AFCEMA is a joint agency and the primary emergency management agency for Fulton County, the city of Atlanta, and 13 other cities. 

    "We have more than 400 active WebEOC users, and each city has its own login, as do all of our private partners, including Georgia Tech University, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Grady Hospital, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and the Federal Reserve Bank," said Donnie Reece, Operations Officer, AFCEMA. 

    "We determined that we could use WebEOC to post information that is currently affecting, or could affect, the status of the elections. This could be anything, from road closures to protests, active shooters to adverse weather conditions," Donnie said. AFCEMA created new WebEOC boards to track election activities and information that include a 2012 Elections Event Log, Media Questions & Answers, and Voting Precinct Snapshot. In addition to election information, WebEOC also shows County Wide Significant Events and Weather. 

    The Elections Event Log - WebEOC users throughout the county are asked to post any significant issues or events.
    The Precinct Snapshot - Managing more than 300 voting precincts, the county's poll managers will update this board every two hours on election day with the status of wait times, media presence, open or closed, etc.
    Election Media Q&A - The AFCEMA communications department will use this board to log incoming questions and answers from local media and the response from the county. 

    "Hopefully, these new boards, in addition to the others that our agencies have access to, will heighten our awareness across the county on election day and set a new standard for situational awareness and a shared common operating picture," Donnie said. If you would like more information or a copy of these boards, Donnie invites you to e-mail him at: Donnie.Reece@afcema.com. 

    "We congratulate the AFCEMA on its innovative and timely use of WebEOC," said John O'Dell, ESi Chief Technical Officer. "It's a process that all state, city, and county customers should consider implementing." 

    W. Scott Field, Director, Denver Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, reviewed the AFCEMA boards and said, "Denver has been using WebEOC to manage support for election polling stations since 2008. But there are some aspects of Atlanta-Fulton County's boards that we will certainly adopt into our own system."

    FEMA Selects ESi to Deliver a New Crisis Management System

    WASHINGTON D.C. – The Federal Emergency Management Agency has selected ESi, the global leader in crisis information management technology and solutions, to deliver and implement a new Crisis Management System (CMS) for the agency. 

    FEMA Uses WebEOC in Response to Hurricanes Isaac and Sandy

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – Hurricane Isaac came ashore on the Gulf Coast of the United States. After raging over a huge area from Florida to Texas, Isaac had knocked out power to almost one million homes and businesses and caused nine fatalities and over $2 billion in damage. 

    State of California EMA Selects WebEOC-based Solution

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – ESi, the global leader in crisis information management technology and solutions, today announced that the company has been selected by the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) to replace the current Response Information Management System (RIMS) with a new WebEOC-based system that will provide information and resource tracking, situation analysis and real-time communication with the state’s Operational Areas (OA’s) and allied agencies during daily operations, emergency activations and exercises. 

    WebEOC, the world’s first Internet-enabled crisis information management system, enables emergency managers at command centers to share information with each other, with first responders such as fire, emergency medical services, public works and law enforcement, as well as with local, state and national stakeholders. 

    “After a full, competitive procurement, we are very pleased that the State of California Emergency Management Agency has selected WebEOC as the foundation for its incident and event management system,” said ESi Proposal Manager Tricia Nixon. “Now Cal EMA emergency managers and first responders will be able to share information and maintain a common operating picture on WebEOC status boards.” 

    Cal EMA Secretary Mark Ghilarducci said, “One of our biggest missions at Cal EMA is to ensure that California is ready for the next disaster and I’m looking forward to this new system enhancing our capabilities and providing enhanced emergency management tools for first responders in impacted communities.” Ghilarducci also stressed the importance of communication in an emergency, “Our goal is to leverage WebEOC tools to enhance our communication and coordination with stakeholders in emergencies and disasters.” 

    “From managing wild fires in San Diego to tsunami tracking in San Francisco, WebEOC has already been used as a powerful incident and event management tool by more than fifty organizations in California, including thirteen California counties,” said John J. O’Dell, Chief Technical Officer, ESi. “With this implementation, WebEOC will provide real-time situational awareness and statewide collaboration for dozens of state agencies and departments, including California EMA, Office of Information Security, California Highway Patrol, plus local, state, federal and private partners,” Mr. O’Dell added. 

    ESi will manage the scheduling, development, tracking and monitoring of the new solution focusing on four key process areas: emergency activation and incident event reporting; situation reporting; resource management and mission tasking; and initial damage estimates. ESi will also develop custom solutions to integrate WebEOC with existing systems at Cal EMA. 

    For the design, development and implementation of the system that will include WebEOC Professional, Resource Manager, Mapper Professional, and ESiWebFUSION, ESi will lead a team that includes Stanfield Systems Inc. and Microsoft® Corporation as subcontractors.

    San Francisco Uses WebEOC to Manage Tsunami Alert after Japan Earthquake

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck northern Japan on Friday, March 11 at 2:46 p.m. local time, collapsing buildings, homes and highways. Fifteen minutes later, a tsunami slammed into the Japanese coast, causing thousands of deaths, untold millions of dollars in property damage and an unfolding nuclear disaster. 

    WebEOC Deployed for 2011 Super Bowl and Ice Storm

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – The city of Fort Worth, Texas, the 17th largest city in the United States, purchased, configured, trained and successfully deployed WebEOC emergency management software just in time for the 2011 Super Bowl and an unexpected snow and ice storm in the days leading up to the big event. On January 30, only a week prior to “Super Week,” the city also opened the doors to a brand-new emergency operations center. 

    Federal, State and Local Agencies Use WebEOC to Conduct National Level Exercise

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – 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.”

    ESi Becomes an Authorized Provider of IACET Continuing Education Units

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) has awarded ESi its prestigious Authorized Provider status. IACET Authorized Providers are the only organizations approved to offer IACET continuing education units (CEUs). The recognition period extends for five years and includes all programs offered or created during that time. 

    “ESi education programs train thousands of emergency management professionals each year in the proper use and administration of our full suite of crisis information management products, including WebEOC, WebEOC Mapper, and ESiWebFUSION,” said Jim Cook, President of ESi University. “Our new partnership with IACET is a demonstration of our commitment to lifelong learning and high standards for all of our programs, and we are very pleased to join such a prestigious organization.” 

    “We are pleased to welcome ESi as our newest Authorized Provider organization,” said Karen Brown, President of IACET and Senior HR Manager of Nuclear Power at Shaw Group in Massachusetts. “ESi joins nearly 650 organizations around the globe that have had their programs vetted by third-party experts in continuing education to ensure the highest possible standards are met.” 

    ESi University develops and delivers training courses to ESi customers throughout the world at its state-of-the-art training facility in Atlanta, through its e-learning portal, and via its virtual classroom which allows students and instructors to see and hear each other and share computer screens during courses. 

    In order to achieve Authorized Provider status, ESi completed a rigorous application process, including a review by an IACET site visitor and successfully demonstrated adherence to the ANSI/IACET 1-2007 Standard addressing the design, development, administration, and evaluation of its programs. ESi has pledged to continue its compliance with the Standard and is now authorized to use the IACET name and Authorized Provider logo on promotional course material. In addition, ESi is now linked to the IACET web site and is recognized as offering the highest quality continuing education and training programs.

    WebEOC gives San Diego County "The Big Picture"

    SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Towns and counties across southern California are turning to the Web to host emergency management platforms. Web-based systems allow a broad range of agencies to share information, such as the location of evacuation shelters and appeals for needed supplies as well as to access disaster plans and hold video conferences. 

    After the San Diego region was criticized for a lack of coordination in dealing with the 2003 wildfire disaster, San Diego County set up a system called WebEOC, which was put to use in subsequent wildfire seasons. The platform “allows users to share information and get the big picture,” says Marcy Metz, chief of Emergency Medical Services for San Diego County. “It’s really been a tremendous help.” 

    Another IT innovation adopted after the 2003 disaster by San Diego county and other jurisdictions is emergency mass telephone notification. Officials can use such systems to send a recorded notification to all residents of a designated area. “That came out of the 2003 fire season when wildfires burned all the way from San Diego to Santa Barbara and we had no way to notify the public adequately,” says John Tripp, the LA County chief deputy. 

    San Diego County is one of a number of departments to use social media like Facebook and Twitter to provide the public with emergency updates, as well as routine messages on such subjects as fire safety, according to Sara Diaz, emerging technologies manager for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. “You want to get information out in as many ways as possible,” she adds. 

    While each of these IT innovations has helped officials increase the effectiveness of their response to wildfires, Kim Zagaris, California’s state fire and rescue chief, believes “the most significant outcome” of the 2003 fires has been increased help with aerial fire surveillance from the military, including the first unmanned military drone surveillance in 2007. Flyovers produce both infrared and video imaging. 

    --Reprinted with permission from Government Health IT, July/August 2010 by Burton Bollag

    WebEOC Software System Launched in Japan

    AUGUSTA, Ga. – ESi, the developers of WebEOC, the world's first web-enabled crisis information management software, and NTT Learning Systems Corporation (NTT-LS), a division of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, have announced an international distributor agreement for NTT-LS to sell and support a Japanese language version of WebEOC in Japan. 

    "This is the first time that Japanese emergency managers at government agencies, hospitals, power facilities, manufacturing plants, and universities will have access to the most advanced crisis management software available today for creating a common operating picture and achieving situational awareness in their native language," said Paul Butler, ESi CFO and Executive VP, International Business. 

    "WebEOC will empower municipal governments faced with natural disasters such as earthquakes and typhoons, as well as global and regional enterprises in their daily risk management," said Takamatsu Satoshi, Executive Manager, INTERNET Business Division, NTT-LS. "We are very excited to be working with the experienced people at ESi, and we are proud to bring WebEOC, a software system that has had such great success in saving lives and property in times of crisis, to Japanese emergency managers." 

    NTT-LS will be displaying and demonstrating WebEOC in Japanese at the Japan Security Show 2010, Japan's largest trade fair for the security and safety industry. The agreement with NTT-LS is the first of many international distributorships that are being formed by the International Business Unit of ESi. 

    WebEOC is a web-enabled, user-friendly, and locally-configurable incident management system. With access to the Internet, authorized emergency managers and first responders, regardless of location, can enter and view incident information in WebEOC status boards. In a state of constant refinement for over 14 years, WebEOC delivers features and enhancements not available with any other information sharing software.

    WebEOC Deployed as Haitian Embassy Opens D.C. Crisis Command Center

    WASHINGTON D.C. – In response to the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, officials with the District of Columbia and the Haitian Ambassador to the U.S. have opened a Command Center at the Haitian Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Command Center, which includes computers, telephones, and WebEOC as the emergency information management system, will enable the Haitian Embassy to more effectively manage its relief efforts. 

    The District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA), with the Office of the Chief Technology Officer, set up the Command Center in the Embassy on January 17. The resources donated include 20 laptop computers, 20 telephones and phone lines, and training for Embassy staff in how to operate the Command Center. Verizon contributed the phone line installation, and ESi is hosting the WebEOC emergency information management software. 

    “As families search for loved ones and governments coordinate relief efforts, communications resources become crucial to ensuring that the maximum support possible reaches Haiti,” said HSEMA Acting Director Millicent Williams. “My team and I look forward to working with Haitian Embassy officials and volunteers to ensure well-managed and effective communications.” 

    A team of WebEOC experts from ESi worked in the Embassy and from remote locations around the world to stand up an instance of WebEOC on ESi’s remote servers. The team created situation boards tailored to the needs of the mission, including boards for tracking missing persons, managing volunteers, and accepting donations. 

    “This is a significant opportunity for us to contribute to Haiti’s recovery from this terrible disaster,” said Nadia Butler, CEO and President of ESi. “We are proud and humbled that WebEOC can play a role in helping the people of Haiti in their time of need.” 

    In the coming days, staff from ESi’s Washington, D.C. office will continue to provide Embassy staff with support and guidance in emergency operation center best practices. Jerome DuVal, ESi VP for Federal Services and head of the D.C. office, stated, “We were able to get the Embassy Command Center fully operational within 48 hours, so they’ve moved from a paper process to an automated system for capturing data that quickly. The Embassy staff and volunteers are quick learners and have been wonderful to work with.”

    WebEOC Receives U.S. Army Certificate of Networthiness

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – ESi, the world leader in web-enabled crisis information management software (CIMS), announced today that its WebEOC Professional 7.0 software has received the Certificate of Networthiness (CoN) from the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM). The CoN is a requirement for all enterprise software products in the Army Enterprise Infrastructure Network. 

    The CoN certification signifies that WebEOC is in full compliance with the Army Enterprise Infrastructure’s strict standards for security, supportability, sustainability, and compatibility. In addition to the U.S. Army, the certification applies to all National Guard, Army Reserve, and Department of Defense organizations that use the Army Enterprise Infrastructure Network. 

    “We are very proud that WebEOC has been recognized as being in compliance with the Army’s strictest standards for network security,” said Curt MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer, ESi. “Fort Bragg, Fort Carson, Fort Jackson, and Fort Lewis requested this review. They join over thirty other Department of Defense emergency operation centers that use WebEOC for crisis information management—including Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps installations around the world.” 

    “With their strict standards, the Army’s Certificate of Networthiness is a gold standard for software security that is essential for our Department of Defense customers. This certification demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best and most secure software to our federal government customers; the state, county, and municipal emergency operation centers we service; and all corporate WebEOC customers who need to maintain the highest levels of network security,” Mr. MacDonald added.

    Florida Counties Prepare for 2009 Hurricane Season with WebEOC

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.– Florida is the most hurricane-prone state in the country, having been hit by seven hurricanes just since 2004. This year, many emergency responders throughout the state have a powerful new tool to help them manage the impact of the inevitable storms. WebEOC, the world's first web-enabled crisis-information management system, is being widely implemented throughout Florida in preparation for the hurricane season. 

    Developed by ESi, WebEOC enables emergency managers at command centers to share information with each other and with first responders such as fire, emergency medical services (EMS), public works and police teams. The technology, used by more than 500 counties, municipalities, federal governments and corporations worldwide, has gained significant momentum in Florida, with recent adoptions by Baker, Broward, Clay, Duval, Hernando, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Nassau, Palm Beach, St. Johns and Sumter counties, and the South Florida Water Management District. 

    These counties join other Florida public-sector and corporate WebEOC users including the City of Tallahassee, Carnival Cruise Lines, CSX Transportation, Florida Power & Light Company, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Patrick Air Force Base, Tyndall Air Force Base, the United States Southern Command (with over 1,200 military and civilian personnel), and Alachua, Charlotte, Citrus, Okaloosa and Putnam counties. 

    "Recently, Duval County converted to WebEOC, and our vision of what direction we wanted to go was very complex," said Captain Bruce Scott, training program manager for the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. "A team of ESi consultants spent many hours guiding, customizing and directing our software implementation. As we go into the hurricane season I feel very comfortable knowing that Duval County has these WebEOC professionals on our side in the event we need to activate and put the system to the test." 

    Cecilia Patella, the emergency management director for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, is confident that her staff is more prepared than ever to keep county residents safe with the addition of two new shelters, planned accommodations for pets, and the adoption of WebEOC software as some of the notable improvements. "WebEOC replaces a system designed in-house that had caused some problems in the past and was not user-friendly," Ms. Patella said. "WebEOC is easy to use and will help better coordinate the efforts of emergency responders and other agencies that participate in responding to a disaster." 

    "We adopted WebEOC this year as part of a four-county collaboration between Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties," said Chuck Tear, the director of the Palm Beach County Division of Emergency Management. 

    "The main reason we selected WebEOC is that it's a web-based system that can be accessed virtually anywhere," Mr. Tear noted. "So with minimal training, all of our first responders, hospitals, state agencies, and support groups like the Red Cross can get access to real-time information during a crisis situation and send us data through any web browser." 

    "WebEOC also comes with a full range of status boards that give us the ability to post and share information immediately. It's ready to go out of the box, but it also gives us the ability to customize it. We're also going to use ESiWebFUSIONTM for regional collaboration, as it enables our WebEOC system to communicate with the WebEOC systems in other counties. We're progressively improving our response capabilities with WebEOC and the lessons learned from previous events," Mr. Tear added. 

    Doug Bass, director of safety, security, and emergency management for the South Florida Water Management District, noted, "This WebEOC implementation is effective because each of the four counties will have its own individual view and then, through ESiWebFUSION, the counties will also openly share information that has regional impact. ESiWebFUSION also will enable outside WebEOC users, such as the Water Management District, to view and share information." In addition, ESiWebFUSION will enable WebEOC users in Florida to share critical data with WebEOC users in other coastal states promoting more collaboration and a cohesive response to major storms. 

    With over 2,300 miles of canals and levees and 2,200 water control facilities, the South Florida Water Management District protects regional water supplies and alleviates flooding in 16 Florida counties by managing and moving millions of gallons of water in and out of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. 

    "Now, when people report flooding to us or we are actually implementing flood control, we will be able to share all that information with the other counties. Because we can have such a huge impact on flood control, WebEOC will also enable us to share information on things like road closures so we will be able to get our employees where they need to be during a hurricane response," Mr. Bass said. 

    Broward County recently completed participation in a statewide disaster exercise that simulated the effects of a Category-5 storm. "We purchased WebEOC at the end of last year, and this was the first time we used it in an exercise," said Chuck Lanza, the county's director of emergency management. "We had over 225 WebEOC users in the emergency operations center and the system worked very, very well. There was a large group that needed training and after a quick 20-minute briefing, everyone was able to use the program. It's great that the four counties in the southeast region all are using WebEOC now, and it's my hope that the state will get on board with WebEOC soon so we'll all be able to operate under a common operating picture during our missions."