Ohio EMA's All-Hazards Herald

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All-Hazards Herald

November-December 2019

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Table of Contents:

Executive Director Merick Elected NEMA President


Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) Executive Director Sima Merick was named president of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), beginning a one-year term leading the professional organization of emergency managers. 

Merick, a long-time Ohio EMA employee, was elected Oct. 29 by her peers, emergency management directors from other U.S. states and territories at the 2019 NEMA Annual Forum in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. She began her term immediately.  

“It is an honor to serve my fellow emergency managers and represent Ohio on the national stage,” Merick said. “This is a robust year for emergency management as we look at implementing the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 and the pre-disaster Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program.”

BRIC will focus on reducing the nation’s risk by funding public infrastructure projects that increase a community’s resilience before a disaster affects an area, said Merick who has served as NEMA’s secretary, and most recently, vice president.

Merick has been an employee of the Ohio Department of Public Safety (ODPS) for nearly 35 years.  She began her career as a dispatcher for the Ohio State Highway Patrol in 1985 and held other non-sworn positions within that division until 1996, when she then began her career in emergency management. She was appointed assistant director of Ohio EMA in 2011 and was appointed executive director in 2015.

“Sima has dedicated her career to public safety, emergency management, and preparedness,” said ODPS Director Tom Stickrath.  “Ohio will only be stronger because of her continued leadership at the national level.”

About NEMA NEMA is the professional association of and for emergency management directors from all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. NEMA provides national leadership and expertise in comprehensive emergency management; serves as a vital emergency management information and assistance resource; and advances continuous improvement in emergency management through strategic partnerships, innovative programs, and collaborative policy positions. NEMA began in 1974, when state directors of emergency services first united to exchange information on common emergency management issues that threatened their constituencies.   In 1990, NEMA became an affiliate organization of The Council of State Governments (CSG).  CSG supports NEMA in its goals to provide an information and support network among state directors of emergency management and to interface with other national and regional organizations involved in emergency management and state government policy in general.  The CSG–NEMA partnership recognizes the commitment by both parties to the mutual advancement of their respective agendas to promote the role of the state in our federal system of government and to foster excellence in the functions of government.

Winter Safety Awareness Week Nov. 17-23


Winter Safety Awareness Week, Nov. 17-23 in Ohio, is the opportune time to restock emergency supply kits and prepare homes and vehicles for the upcoming winter months.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA)  offers the following winter preparedness tips:

Practice fire safety and prevention. With winter months and the holiday season, people are indoors more, and cook, decorate, and entertain more – which unfortunately, can lead to more home fires. The best protection is to have working smoke detectors in the home. Test your smoke detectors monthly. Conduct fire drills. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year – when you change your clocks, change your batteries. Have auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces checked or serviced before using. Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of home fires. Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep towels, potholders, and paper products away from the stove’s heat sources.

Prepare your home for winter. Remove and cut away low-hanging and dead tree branches. Strong winds, ice and snow can cause tree limbs to break and could cause damage to your home. Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if clogged with debris.

Prepare winter emergency supplies kits for the home and vehicle. Check the expiration dates on nonperishable food items, bottled water/beverages, and medications. Winter emergency kits should include flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated radio/weather radio, first aid kit, cell phone and charger, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every household member for several days. Store food, bottled water, and supplies for your pets, as well.

Check on your neighbors. After severe weather or during prolonged power outages, check on your neighbors and family members – particularly those who are older or have functional needs – to ensure that they are safe, healthy, and warm. Your emergency or communications plan might include ensuring your neighbors have emergency supplies, and exchanging phone numbers to call or text during times of need.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is an incentive that empowers community leaders to involve the people in their communities and teach them steps they can take to become more prepared, and more resilient, if a severe weather incident were to occur. Approximately 46 percent of individuals rely a great deal on their neighbors for assistance during the first 72 hours after a disaster.

NOAA Winter Outlook – October 2019

Also, as part of Winter Safety Awareness Week, OCSWA announces that Ohio students in grades 1-6, including individualized instruction classes, can draw and enter posters in its annual Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest. Students have from now until mid-April to work on their posters that illustrate how people can protect themselves and others from the dangers and hazards that accompany severe weather in Ohio. Click here for entry rules and information.

300 Law Enforcement Officers Trained in Ohio EMA's Radiological Nuclear Detection Program

RND training

Ohio EMA's Steve Bertonaschi Trains Youngstown Police OfficersPod in a Can

RND logo

Ohio EMA has been planning, training and organizing the Radiological Nuclear Detection (Ohio RND) program to prevent and detect the unregulated use and transportation of radiological materials in the state of Ohio and detect a radiological source before a potential incident happens.

This was all made possible through grant funds from the Department of Homeland Security and with assistance from our partner agencies Ohio State Highway Patrol and Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).

Ohio EMA has organized and trained more than 300 law enforcement personnel statewide focusing in the steady-state mission space to keep Ohioans safe. Earlier this year the program officially began by implementing the training and supplying personal radiation detectors to the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) Motor Carrier Enforcement Team.

The Ohio RND participants include PUCO; OSHP; Ohio Department of Natural Resources; police departments in Defiance, Youngstown and Dayton; sheriff departments in Franklin, Lake and Hamilton counties; the Ohio State University and Bowling Green State University.

Plans to expand the program continue. Anyone interested should contact Chris Salz at cmsalz@dps.ohio.gov.

Ohio EMA Logistics Unveils Community POD Kit

National and local events of the last few years have demonstrated a need for plans and procedures for distributing commodities and other resources to Ohioans affected by disasters.  Over the last year and a half, Ohio EMA has developed plans and procedures to help Ohio be better prepared to receive commodities and other resources from FEMA, state to state mutual aid via the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), donations, or other means, and for counties and municipalities to distribute them to their impacted populations. 

The agency has also put together a commodity point of distribution (CPOD) kit that can be used to support county and municipal commodity distribution efforts.  The kit consists of a 24-foot, climate-controlled trailer with most of the supplies needed to support daily commodity distribution for up to 10,000 people.  The kit can also be used to support CPOD training and exercises.

In addition to the kit, Ohio EMA has compiled a detailed listing of supplies and approximate costs for a smaller kit used to support daily commodity distribution for up to 5,000 people.    

Ohio EMA has also compiled a number of tools to help counties plan for commodity distribution including a CPOD calculator to assist with determining the number of and type of CPODs needed to support an impacted population and a field operations guide (FOG) with detailed information and step by step instructions for setting up, running and closing out a CPOD.  The calculator and FOG will be available on the Logistics Branch webpage of the Ohio EMA website and can also be requested from the Ohio EMA Logistics Branch. 

Counties wishing to use the CPOD kit for training or exercises or with any questions about CPOD operations should contact Susan Traylor, sctraylor@dps.ohio.gov, or Phil Johnson, prjohnson@dps.ohio.gov

FEMA Releases Annual CPI Adjustments for Individual and Public Assistance Programs

FEMA recently announced the annual Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustments to the Individual Assistance and Public Assistance programs.  The adjustments for federal fiscal year 2020 are based on an increase in the CPI of 1.7 percent.  Additionally, as a result of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 (DRRA), the FEMA Individuals and Households Program (IHP) has been expanded to provide separate maximum grant amounts for its Housing Assistance and Other Needs Assistance (ONA).

These adjustments are in effect for all disasters declared on or after October 1, 2019.

  • Public Assistance Statewide Per Capita impact indicator:  used to evaluate impact of disaster at state level -- $1.53
  • Public Assistance Countywide Per Capita impact indicator:  used to evaluate impact of disaster at county level -- $3.84
  • Public Assistance Large Project Threshold:  maximum grant made under PA Simplified Procedures -- $131,100
  • Public Assistance Minimum Project Worksheet Amount:  minimum amount that will be approved for any PA Project Worksheet -- $3,300
  • Individual Assistance:  IHP Housing Maximum Grant  -- $35,500
  • Individual Assistance:  IHP Other Needs Assistance Maximum Grant -- $35,500

For additional information or questions, please contact the Ohio EMA Disaster Recovery Branch at 614-799-3665.

Baker Joins Ohio EMA as Planning Supervisor


Dan Baker is the new Planning Supervisor in the Planning, Training, and Exercise Branch at the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Prior to joining Ohio EMA, Dan worked at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department where he was the emergency preparedness coordinator since 2014. In this role, he oversaw all emergency planning, training and exercise development, volunteer management, and administration for the public health emergency preparedness grant. Dan’s work experience also includes time at Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County in emergency preparedness and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in civil engineering and information security.

He attended Wright State University in Dayton, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science, as well as a Master of Public Health. He is currently completing his Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness from the University of South Florida.

Dan now calls Columbus home and is excited to be closer to his family in Dayton. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, traveling, photography, checking out new restaurants, and spending time with friends/family.

Fiscal Year 2019 EMPG Adds on Additional Quarter

As all county emergency management offices received 2019 EMPG grant guidance and awards, the guidance included the addition of three months from previous grant years to allow time for spending of allocated EMPG funds.  Where previously the Fiscal Year (FY) included seven quarters for grant spending, the 2019 period of performance covers eight quarters (two years), and will run from October 1, 2018, to September 30, 2020. 

In addition, the new guidance requires work plan updates and reimbursement requests to be submitted quarterly and in a timely manner.  New deadlines are set for reimbursement requests.  The first deadline is January 31, 2020, for all expenses incurred and paid during quarters one through five (October 1, 2018, to December 31, 2019).  This change may not affect how reimbursement requests are  handled under EMPG.  Anyone with questions should read the FY19 EMPG guidance and contact their designated grant specialist.

Other key changes can be found on page three of the FY19 EMPG guidance. All application forms and guidance can be found here on the Ohio EMA grants website. 

WebEOC Training Available, Update Forthcoming

WebEOC is a web-based information management system that provides a single access point for the collection and dissemination of incident information at both the state and county level. This information platform is maintained by the Emergency Operations Center section of Ohio EMA. The system allows for sharing of information including photo-uploading, document sharing, and mission tracking. Because WebEOC is web-based, it allows users to log-on from any computer connected to the Internet and access a centralized repository of incident information.

There are several ways to maintain proficiency in WebEOC. A three-hour, in-person WebEOC training at Ohio EMA is offered through the Public Safety Training Campus. This training normally takes place at Ohio EMA, but with coordination, State WebEOC administrators can teach this course at other locations. Additionally, a monthly WebEOC drill is provided to allow users to practice logging in and navigating through the system.

Furthermore, Ohio EMA is reconfiguring WebEOC to simplify information display and input.  A work group has been established to share input from both county and state users.  This group will help test and provide feedback on desired changes and will shape the future layout of WebEOC.

If you are interested in WebEOC training or if you are interested in joining the WebEOC user group, please contact the EOC Manager, Mike Staff (mstaff@dps.ohio.gov) or the EOC Supervisor (amlechner@dps.ohio.gov) for additional information.

Training Available

ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, November 4-6, Mahoning County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, November 5-7. Cuyahoga County
OH-139 Exercise Design and Evaluation, Nov. 5-7, Lake County
Oh-202 Debris Management Workshop November 6, Ashtabula County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, November 7-8, Mahoning County
G-2300 Intermediate EOC Functions, Nov. 13-15, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, November 13-15, Franklin County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, November 19-20, Cuyahoga County
MGT-323 Instructor Development Workshop, November 19-21, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS,  December 3-5, Ashtabula County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, December 3-5, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, December 3-5, Ottawa County
OH-197 Planning for Access and Function Needs, December 4-5, Ohio EMA
OH/L-146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, Dec. 10-12, Ohio EMA
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, December 12, Franklin County
G-427 CERT Program Manager, December 14-15, Cuyahoga County
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, December 17, Lake County
MGT-347, ICS Forms Review, January 7, Lorain County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS (TEEX), Jaunary 7-9, Lorain County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, January 11, 12 and 18, Preble County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS (Teex), January 13-15, Mahoning County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, January 13-14, Ashtabula County
G-393 Mitigation for Emergency Managers, January 14-16, Ohio EMA
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, January 16-17, Ottawa County
G-402 ICS Overview for Executives and Senior Officials, January 17, Franklin County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, January 19 and 25, Preble County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, January 20-22, Hocking County
G290-291 Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center, January 21-23, Lake County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, January 21-23, Richland County
G-557 Rapid Assessment Workshop, January 23, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, January 24-26, Morrow County
G290-291 Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center, January 28-30, Clermont County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 3-4, Hocking County
MGT-347 ICS Forms Review, February 4, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, February 4-6, Huron County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 4-5, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS (TEEX), February 5-7. Franklin County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 8-9, Morrow County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, February 8-10, Wayne County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 11-12, Huron County
OH-607 PA Damage Assessment,  February 13, Summit County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, February 17-19, Lake County
G-386 Mass Fatalities Incident, February 18-19 Franklin County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 18-19, Richland County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February, 20-21, Lake County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, February 22-23, Wayne County
OH-230 Introduction to Emergency Management in Ohio, February 24-27, Ohio EMA
ICS-400 Advanced ICS (TEEX), March 2-3, Lorain County
G290-291 Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center, March 10-12, Summit County
L-102, Sciences of Disaster, March 16-18, Ohio EMA
ICS-400 Advanced ICS (TEEX), March 18-19, Franklin County
G-358 Evacuation and Re-Entry Planning, March 17-18, Lake County
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, March 18, Tuscarawas County
L-103, Planning Emergency Operations, March 19-20, Ohio EMA
OH/L-146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, March 25-27, Franklin County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS (TEEX), March 30-31, Mahoning County
OH-202 Debris Management, March 31, Richland County
G-402 ICS Overview for Executives and Senior Leaders, April 1, Ohio EMA
G-289 Public Information Officer Awareness, April 6, Hocking County
G-393 Mitigation for Emergency Managers, April 7-9, Hamilton County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, April 14-16,  Summit County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, April 21-22, Summit County
L-449 ICS TtT (MGT-906-TEEX), May 12-15, Franklin County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, May 18-20, Lucas County
OH-605 IA Damage Assessment, May 20, Cuyahoga County
ICS-400 Advanced ICS, May 21-22, Lucas County
G-393 Mitigation for Emergency Managers, June 1-3, Lucas County
OH-607, PA Damage Assessment, June 3, Cuyahoga County
OH/L146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program, June 15-16, Ohio EMA
L105 Public Information and Warning, June 17-18, Ohio EMA
G290-291 Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center,June 24-26, Ohio EMA
G-288 Volunteer and Donation Management, July 14-15, Lucas County
G-2300 Intermediate EOC Functions, August 4-6, Ohio EMA
G-386 Mass Fatalities Incident, Sept. 1-2, Ohio EMA
L-451 Academy 1 - Application of Advanced Individual Concepts in Emergency Management, Oct. 19-23, Ohio EMA
G-235 Emergency Planning, Oct. 28-29, Ohio EMA
L-452 Academy II, Assessment of Teams in Professional Emergency Management, January 25-29, 2021, Ohio EMA
L-453 Academy III, Contemporary Issues in the Emergency Management Organization, May 3-7 2021
L-455 Academy IV, Advanced Concepts and Policy in the EM Profession, Juny 12-16, Ohio EMA