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Item #6-B. Regional Emergency Evacuation Transportation Coordination Annex of the Regional Emergency Coordination Plan (RECP SM ) David Snyder Falls Church City Council And Chair, Emergency Transportation Work Group Presentation to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

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Item #6-B

Regional Emergency Evacuation Transportation Coordination Annex

of the Regional Emergency Coordination Plan (RECPSM)

David Snyder

Falls Church City Council

And Chair, Emergency Transportation Work Group

Presentation to the

Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

April 14, 2004


  • COG adopted the Regional Emergency Coordination Plan (RECPSM) Sept. 2002

  • A new update of the Regional Emergency Evacuation Transportation Coordination (REETC) Annex of the RECPSM was undertaken April 2003 – March 2004

    • Presented to and endorsed by

      • Emergency Preparedness Council March 4, 2004

      • COG Public Safety Policy Committee March 19, 2004

What’s New in theREETC Annex

  • Enhanced worksheets for agency use:

    • Information to be exchanged

    • Triggering of RICCSSM calls

    • Templates and examples for many scenarios

  • Integration of protective actions with transportation and public messaging

  • Focus on how coordination needs to take place as an incident evolves over time

  • Revised maps of regional emergency through-routes, vetted with D.C., Md., Va. departments of transportation

    • Specific routes used will be subject to the nature of each emergency

  • Recommendations for future regional emergency planning activities

Annex Development Process

  • Convened a broad-based Work Group of transportation, emergency management, federal, and other stakeholders

  • The Work Group advised the consultant and staff team on development of an enhanced version of the REETC Annex

  • Examined and integrated both emergency transportation and associated protective actions elements

  • Held three scenario-focused workshops to test and refine REETC Annex concepts

Focus of the REETC Annex

  • Coordination of the emergency plans of the region’s agencies and jurisdictions

    • Not overriding those plans

  • Comprehensive description of the issues, recognizing many different situations could arise

    • Not a rigid, permanent plan as may be possible for single, narrowly defined hazards (e.g., hurricanes, nuclear power plants)

  • Example situations and strategies

    • No prescriptions (need flexible response depending upon the situation)


  • Twelve emergency transportation situations were identified and used for

    • Organizing technical analysis and workshops

    • Developing transportation coordination worksheets

    • Refining transportation and communications strategies

    • Three emergency transportation workshops held October-December 2003 (indicated in bold in table below)

Concept of Coordination

Structure revised to reflect the typical evolution of an incident and its key stages:

  • Discovery of an incident

  • Initial transportation reaction and advice

  • Convening of transportation representatives

  • Convening of regional decision-makers

  • Agency follow-through actions, and advice to the public

  • Continuance and updates

  • Recovery or re-entry actions

Key Findings

  • Timely public communications are essential and can be highly effective

  • The greatest potential for improvement of travel conditions is reduction of demand

  • Incident ripple effects necessitate timely communications and coordinated actions

Key Finding #1:Timely Public Communications Are Essential and Can BeHighly Effective

  • People need to be informed in advance about the different kinds of incidents that might occur, and on how to best prepare for and react to these incidents

  • Experience has shown that people are generally reasonable and cooperative when they are given timely information during an emergency

  • It is important to get official information out as quickly as possible, and to update it regularly throughout an incident

Key Finding #2:The Greatest Potential for Improvement of Travel ConditionsIs Reduction of Demand

  • Even moderate levels of compliance with the “if you are safe, stay where you are” message can help improve flow for persons evacuating from danger as well as for responder vehicles

  • Coordinating actions and messages among government jurisdictions, including local school districts, is essential for accomplishing transportation demand reduction

  • Analysis suggests decreases in travel times by as much as 50% for some evacuees, especially in the critical first 30 minutes of a regional incident

Key Finding #3:Incident Ripple Effects Necessitate Timely Communications and Coordinated Actions

  • Impacts of even smaller incidents can quickly become widespread, especially if they occur at critical locations such as one of the bridges over the Potomac River

  • Personnel busy with incident response currently also shoulder the burden of inter-agency communications, which is problematic from a resource and time perspective

  • Currently there is no designated staff or entity to shepherd regional interagency transportation communications on a metropolitan-wide basis

Key Recommendations

  • Carry out regional emergency management coordination efforts on a continuing basis

  • Conduct a coordinated regional public education campaign on emergency preparedness

  • Ensure that timely information is provided to the public during incidents

  • Strengthen emergency communications and coordination in the transportation sector

Key Recommendation #1:Carry Out Regional Emergency Management Coordination Effortson a Continuing Basis

  • Emergency management and law enforcement are central to these efforts

    • Continue scenario-based workshops, other training, exercises, or drills

    • Nine further scenarios have been prepared for such workshops

    • Include transportation “ripple effects” among topics of consideration

  • Effective RICCSSM utilization is critical – focus on who will initiate and use RICCSSM, when will it be used, and what will be discussed

    • Timely information sharing between transportation and emergency management, including from the incident site

Key Recommendation #2:Conduct a CoordinatedRegional Public Education Campaignon Emergency Preparedness

  • Time is short in emergencies, so pre-event education of the public is critical

  • The public must recognize that different emergencies may require different kinds of response on their part

    • E.g., sheltering-in-place for one type of hazard versus evacuating from another type

  • Both transportation and emergency management input is critical to public education concepts

    • Include emphasis on avoidance of unnecessary travel

Key Recommendation #3:Ensure that Timely InformationIs Provided to the PublicDuring Incidents

  • Timely, effective messages or instructions need to go out to people everywhere on what they need to know and do during the emergency

  • Messages must be

    • Action-oriented

    • Credible

    • Consistent

    • Timely

    • Specific and simple

Key Recommendation #4:Strengthen EmergencyCommunications and Coordinationin the Transportation Sector

  • Successful transportation system management during emergencies depends upon availability of systems and staff to

    • monitor incident information

    • share information among transportation and other agencies

    • assist in informing the public

  • These capabilities need to be strengthened through

    • enhanced operations procedures in transportation agencies

    • technical upgrades and systems integration

    • examination of the potential effectiveness and cost of a dedicated regional information staff or entity

Emergency Preparedness Council Discussion and Follow-Up

At its March 4 meeting, the Emergency Preparedness Council

  • Endorsed the REETC Annex for distribution

  • Requested the continuation of scenario-based workshops and training

  • Supported the need for a coordinated regional public education campaign on emergency preparedness including a component of advice for sheltering in place

  • Agreed that emergency management, transportation, law enforcement, and public information agencies should develop and implement procedures to ensure that the public receives timely and accurate information during incidents

  • Requested that the Transportation Planning Board and staff analyze alternatives for providing improved coordination and communication among transportation and other agencies during incidents and to report back to the next EPC meeting on May 6

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