"Interagency Collaboration at the EMA Communications Center" with Lincoln County, Maine
This week, Robin was joined by Casey Stevens, Emergency Management Director at Lincoln County EMA. They discussed how they moved their local EMA directors, fire chiefs, law enforcement, schools, and the communications center from flip charts over to D4H, managing severe weather events, road closures, and damage assessments centrally.
The state of Maine is broken up into 16 different counties, one of which being Lincoln County. Within Lincoln County itself, there are 18 different towns. There can be a great deal of coordination, communication, and collaboration involved between these towns during an incident.
Lincoln County has experienced severe windstorms over the last few years. Road closures are put in place when trees are blown down, trees also often take down power lines with them. These closed roads need to be coordinated at the County EOC level with the utility companies to track priorities and give an overview of the situation. Towns enter their closed roads in D4H Incident Management, to create a common operating picture and notify the relevant utility company. This has created a far more organized process to achieve the quickest possible resolution.
During a windstorm, Lincoln County EMA also maintains a web page with up-to-date information for the public. This information is retrieved from their status boards in D4H Incident Management every 3 to 4 hours, they download a PDF of all road closures and post this on their website and social media. Having well-informed residents makes the situation safer for everyone, as they know which areas to avoid and traffic build-ups are reduced. Previously, these updates would have to be manually sent out by email, which was far more time-consuming.
“The collaborative nature of D4H has cut down on our EMA’s workload tremendously. The agencies we work with can see where all the issues are and deal with them directly. Our main task is setting priorities.”
Casey Stevens, Director, Lincoln County EMA
Lincoln County has built a number of custom status boards in D4H Incident Management to track every piece of information and update relating to road closures, power loss, and other non-utility issues in real-time during a storm.
Their custom Expenditures Board allows each of the towns to track the cost of their response. When emergencies reach a threshold where public assistance becomes available the local towns need to have a good record of their expenditures in order to receive reimbursement. They attach invoices and receipts to each entry so that they have a good record of all money spent.
The EMA’s Resource Management board was built to track recourse requests for PPE during COVID-19. Local towns and first responder agencies can input their PPE requirements into a simple resource request form and the EOC can mark the status of every request so that all parties are on the same page at all times. Track all of this information in one central location has saved countless calls and emails.
The full interview is available to watch on our YouTube channel, or you can listen back on Bravo Zulu, the official D4H podcast.