FEMA, Y2K, TERRORISM & Region V Meeting

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FEMA, Y2K, TERRORISM & Region V Meeting

Just web-surfing and thought the forum might find this interesting. -- Diane


Regional Interagency Steering Committee Region V December 1-2, 1998

Report Excerpts...

...Several terrorism alerts have occurred in the state (Indiana) during 1998.

...FEMA V wants to form partnerships. An important objective is the development of objectives for 1999. Terrorism and Y2K issues are very important. RISC efforts should consider how agency efforts help citizens.

... Identified topics for discussion included a presentation on the Illinois National Guard RAID team, Y2K, regional response plans for Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) events, meeting all human needs after disasters, funding for local training, information on the FBI Domestic Preparedness Office, continuity of operations (COOP) plans for agencies, and the lack of proper equipment for first responders.

... The Y2K competency center for state government (Ohio) is addressing related issues.

... ESF-7 Resources: The General Services Administration (GSA) opened and closed 9 disaster field offices in the region during the year. Y2K preparations have been going on for 2 years, with compliance expected.

... ESF-8 Health: ... The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has used $150m to help set up surveillance and information systems to track indicators of biological events in scattered medical facilities. The surveillance systems will link hospitals to watch for clusters of indicators. Milwaukee has established a system, with Chicago to follow. The Veterans Administration (VA) is conducting clinical training to prepare facilities for WMD casualties, as well as training of staff for local search and rescue operations.

... The CATEX99 exercise with a saran gas terrorism scenario is planning for the first week of May, 1999. The exercise committee is building a strong training component, with 1000 people trained so far in Minnesota. ... DoD, PHS, EPA, and FEMA will participate in the exercise. FEMA V will activate the ROC and have liaison staff at the exercise; other ESFs may play at the ROC. Milwaukee will exercise with an airport drill in cooperation with CATEX99.

... ESF-12 Energy: The Department of Energy (DOE) has been reviewing electric power needs and is working with Y2K issues.

... Illinois had no disasters during 1998 to date. One nuclear plant exercise was held in November at the Clinton plant. Much training is planned with local governments on MWD and terrorism. IEMA is planning a Y2K exercise for sister state agencies early in 1999.

... Y2K Coordination Issues: Tom Zimmerman, Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) started the discussion of Y2K issues. A hand-response survey identified that perhaps one-third of those present were active in Y2K, while one-half were active or knew of agency activity in Y2K. The problem is a computer logic defect, which on January 1, 2000, could lead either to massive breakdowns or little response. Local government and small business are the emphasis of IEMA's efforts. A great deal of information and misinformation is available. Meeting discussion will be focused upon a discussion of best practices.

Ron Sherman outlined the efforts of the President's Council for the Year 2000 Conversion. A total of 34 sectors are undertaking efforts. FEMA leads the emergency management sector. FEMA itself has undertaken extensive system testing and vendor certification efforts. The SBA and GSA web sites offer extensive useful data and information. FEMA V has surveyed all 6 region states, and results were distributed. States recently reviewed their efforts in a meeting in Chicago, and they discussed what help was needed from FEMA and the federal family. A tentative timeline for assistance has been proposed to the President's Council. By January 15, 1999, a Y2K update to the Federal Response Plan will be completed. RISC special meetings and exercises will be held in February-March, August-September, and December. Funding for the exercises is still pending. Mr. Sherman noted one state was using the "so what?" test. If some systems fail, so what? For example, delays in issuing drivers license renewals can be tolerated. In some cases, processing could return to paper for a short time.

[Note: By January 15, 1999, a Y2K update to the Federal Response Plan will be completed.]

Discussion focused upon a number of issues and practices. One participant noted that the real test might come as early as October 1, 1999, when federal agencies enter FY2000. Many agencies wished to focus upon critical infrastructure, such as utilities, inventory control systems, etc. There is a need to help prepare society by determining realistic scenarios, with continuous reassessment over time. The Coast Guard has priorities for families and workers, customers, and industry coordination. GSA noted that some vendors had ignored certification requests. Tom Zimmerman noted that while the SSA has 93% of its mission critical systems tested, these represent only 37% of all of the SSA systems. DOE noted that power companies are responding, as they do not want systems to fail and thereby lose revenues. The industry is projecting minor outages but is optimistically cautious.

Imbedded chips are a critical factor, since although their ability to fulfill a function does is not date sensitive, the chip may still contain year sensitive programming. Some sectors, such as the financial sector, may be far ahead of government. Indiana noted that the state's experience on the 1978 blizzard and planning for an unfulfilled earthquake projection have provided valuable insights into Y2K possible scenarios.

... Counter-Terrorism Update: Jim Casey, Supervisory Agent, and Tom Smith, of the Indianapolis FBI office, updated those present on recent experience in Indiana. The state has experienced a rash of anthrax hoaxes during the fall. ... Mr. Casey did not sense any real increased threats based on the upcoming millenium. Threats are more serious from domestic than international sources. The FBI is planning work with smaller jurisdictions not funded through Nunn-Lugar for better counter-terrorism preparedness training. The Indiana Terrorism Task Force is mostly an Indianapolis area group. The two major problems are who can examine a substance and quickly determine its threat, and smaller communities who are way behind in this area. Two further targets may include infrastructure and cyber warfare.

Discussion Topics Identified by Participants (Edited):

 RISC should work as group to respond to catastrophic disasters related to WMD and catastrophic earthquakes, including a Region V annex for WMD.

 How are federal/state agencies responding to Y2K?

 Are human needs after disaster being met?

 Role of the FBI and responsibilities of the Domestic Preparedness Office.

Infrastructure Support (ESFs 3,12, PA)(Edited):

 Review what private industry has done for Y2K; COE wants to support Y2K exercise

 Hear status report on COE Readiness 2000 efforts

Emergency Services (ESFs 4,8,9,10)(Edited):

 Insure RISC meetings result in "real" information to take back to ESFs, get back to basics on catastrophic planning, ROC, WMD, federal-state interfaces, Project Impact, NEMIS, and Y2K


... March 10-11 RISC Meeting - Focus: Y2K Exercise - FEMA V Chicago

... May 19-23 CATEX99 Exercise - Minneapolis - ESF deployment to Minneapolis/St. Paul or Play in FEMA V Activated ROC in Chicago (conference May 19-21, exercise May 22-23)

... December 1-2 RISC Meeting - Focus: Y2K - FEMA V Chicago


Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 12:00 noon on December 2, 1999.

Participants (62) (mailing list available soon):

See also ...

An interesting and informative web-site on building disaster resistant communities.

PROJECT IMPACT Making a Difference in Disaster Resistance


GUIDEBOOK http://www.fema.gov/impact/im_steps.htm

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), December 22, 1998


Interesting that they recognized one of the generally little known risks in the mid-west, which is earthquakes. CA is NOT the only place that is due/over-due for a catastrophic quake. NeW Madrid is about 20 -40 years overdue (based on paleo-geologic records) for a Ms8.5 or greater event(which would ring church bells in Boston aprox 800 miles away +/- a couple hundred) [see "On Shaky Ground" by. . . . .{pause for blonde moment}. . .oops, gone but he wrote "Ghost of Flight 401" sorry]


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 22, 1998.

It's upstairs, i'll post the book info on Wed.


-- Chuck a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), December 22, 1998.

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