Ohio EMA's All-Hazards Herald

EMA color logo


March/April 2020

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Table of Contents:

From the Desk of Executive Director Sima Merick


Information Sharing Partnerships
for Effective Response

As an emergency management community, I do not have to tell you how essential partnership is to building an effective enterprise.  Ohio’s county emergency managers and Ohio EMA continually work together towards creating the safest Ohio possible through our preparedness, mitigation and recovery efforts.  As we enter what could be an active Spring, I would like to take a moment to highlight how this relationship drives response operations as well. 

Ohio EMA’s ability to receive and process accurate information on your response activities is paramount to ensuring effective decision-making, establishment of a common operating picture and proper state resource support.  This process begins with Ohio EMA’s Watch Office staff who are available 24/7/365.  For several years now, this team has been building incident reporting protocol to ensure Ohio EMA and the State EOC are ready to support any unmet needs in response.  

In the coming weeks and months, you will continue to hear us emphasize the need for our county partners to communicate incident information to the Watch Office.  One such tool is the embedded survey that you will see within any Spot Report received from the Watch Office.  This mobile-friendly tool will allow you to quickly and concisely report information while allowing us to better develop our planning and response efforts.  By combining front-line information with data from state partners, we can quickly establish a common operating picture that best supports the incident.

An additional benefit of reporting your information through a single entry-point is the streamlined approval of state resources.  If you encounter a need for a resource or mission support, including a Regional Operations team member, a call to the Watch Office begins that process.  You continue to have my full commitment that deployment and engagement of the Regional Operations personnel to support your incident will take place in an expeditious manner.

Finally, over the next few weeks, you will start to see the release of resources dedicated to maintaining situational awareness in the counties and state. These same tools will assist in communicating response-related information with Ohio EMA and the State EOC.   I have authorized these resources with the belief they equip us to best support your efforts and needs.

I would encourage you to reach out to Operations Administrator, Andrew Elder, as he is available to provide detailed insight of these efforts to improve information sharing.


Former Ohio EMA Dale Shipley reads the plaque naming the State Emergency Operations Center after him: The Dale W. Shipley Emergency Operations Center.

State EOC Named for Long-Time Director Shipley


Twenty-five years after construction was completed, the State of Ohio's Emergency Operations Center was named for one of the men integral to building the facility.

The Dale W. Shipley Emergency Operations Center was re-named during a well-attended ceremony in the center on Dec. 10, 2019. FEMA Region V Administrator James Joseph and Ohio Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath both spoke at the ceremony, which was hosted by Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick. She and Stickrath cut the cake after the dedication ceremony.

Both Stickrath and Shipley spoke of former Gov. George Voinovich's desire for a dedicated emergency operations center after working in the EOC room in the basement of the Beightler Armory during the 1993 Lucasville prison riots. The State EOC,  now named for Shipley, has been well-maintained, with several technological upgrades, and has served Ohio well through numerous activations and presidential disaster declarations.

Shipley, who led Ohio EMA at the time, helped lead the effort to build the facility, before becoming FEMA Region V Administrator. After that stint with FEMA, Shipley returned to lead Ohio EMA, before he retiring from state service in 2005.

Ohio EMA's Houses of Worship Toolkit Downloaded 1,200 Times in First Three Weeks


As part of Governor Mike DeWine's STRONG Ohio initiative, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency has released its “Houses of Worship: Targeted Disruption” tabletop exercise toolkit.  The toolkit is designed to help all houses of worship prepare for active aggressors at their location.

"Ohioans should feel comfortable and safe when they gather to worship," said Governor Mike DeWine. "As attacks on houses of worship continue to escalate, it is incumbent on our religious institutions to be prepared." 

"Ohio runs the gamut from mega churches and large synagogues to small country churches," said Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick." This all-inclusive exercise toolkit gives them everything they need to sit down and have a healthy, detailed discussion about how to protect their congregation."

Late last year in Texas another deadly attack of houses of worship occurred. The attack on a Baptist congregation in Sutherland, Texas in 2017 killed 26 and is one of the deadliest mass shootings in United States history.  Less than a year later, a gunman killed 11 at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it appears that more houses of worship are being targeted and the number of those killed and wounded are increasing.  Because of this, there is an increasing need for these facilities, which are perceived as “soft targets,” to take measures to protect themselves. 

This toolkit was developed to provide a free product for those communities to better prepare staff, worshipers, first responders, and other partners to plan for and respond to such incidents.

The Houses of Worship: Targeted Disruption Toolkit, which has been downloaded more than 1,300 times in just three weeks, will provide all of the information and materials needed to easily plan for and host a tabletop exercise.

Ohio EMA’s three previous toolkits Mall Active ShooterBusiness Continuity: Disaster in the Workplace, and the Higher Education Active Aggressor Tabletop Exercise Toolkit have been downloaded a combined total of more than 1,200 times in 42 states and nine countries. These toolkits are available on the Ohio EMA website: https://ema.ohio.gov/Exercise_TableTop_Toolkit.aspx

Emergency Management Spring Conference Set

spring conference

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency will host the Spring Emergency Management Conference April 8-9, at the Crown Plaza Worthington.  This is a free conference for all emergency managers and partners at the local, state and federal level. 

The spring conference includes presentations on:  Agro-terrorism; the Columbus Zoo; the Charlottesville, Virginia Rally; and breakout sessions to include Debris Management, Threats from Space, Planning Using Core Capabilities and an Ohio EMA Executive Round Table.  The final conference brochure can be found HERE.

To register, click HERE and search “200”.  Contact Matt Jaksetic with questions at mtjaksetic@dps.ohio.gov or 614-799-3666.

Ohio EMA's Safe Room Rebate Program Accepting Applications From Homeowners Until April 6

safe room

Homeowners throughout Ohio now have the opportunity to apply to receive reimbursement for the purchase and construction/installation of a tornado safe room inside or outside their homes.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency began accepting applications for its Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program in January. A safe room is a structure specifically designed to provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events. The Ohio EMA’s rebate program provides a rebate of up to 75 percent to homeowners selected for the program. 

"The entire state of Ohio is vulnerable to tornadoes,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “Safe rooms are costly, but they can save lives – which is why we want to help homeowners with the expense.”

In May, more than 900 homes and buildings were destroyed or significantly damaged when 21 tornadoes tore through Auglaize, Darke, Greene, Hocking, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Muskingum, Perry, and Pickaway counties.

“Safe rooms offer protection to a tornado’s strong winds and resulting airborne debris and provides near-absolute protection for occupants,” said Steve Ferryman, Ohio EMA mitigation branch chief. “We urge Ohioans to apply for these grants.”

This is the eighth year for the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program. To date, more than $1.5 million in rebates have been awarded to homeowners for the construction of more than 200 safe rooms across the state.

Safe rooms can be constructed/installed in one of several places in the home, including in the basement; beneath a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor; or in an interior room on the first floor. A safe room may also be buried in the yard or be a stand-alone structure near the home.

The deadline to apply to participate in the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program is April 6 at 5 p.m.

Residents selected for the program are eligible for a rebate up to 75 percent of the cost to install or construct a safe room – up to a maximum of $4,875.

For more information and to apply, visit: https://ema.ohio.gov/ema_saferoom/saferoom-concept.aspx

Additional Information: The Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program will use a computerized random selection process to select applicants. A priority list of applicants will be created from the selected applicants. Chosen homeowners will be notified by email of their position on the priority list on or after April 22. Ohio EMA anticipates grant funding will become available this year and having a list of participants who meet program requirements will expedite the rebate process.

Funding for the rebate program is through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs. Ohio homeowners would be responsible for 25 percent of the construction costs and any additional costs over the 75 percent maximum rebate of $4,875.

Safe rooms must meet FEMA requirements in FEMA publications 320 and 361 and cannot be constructed/installed prior to the rebate drawing and notification from Ohio EMA to proceed with construction. Ohio EMA plans to offer this rebate program on an annual basis. 

Homeowners with questions should call Ohio Emergency Management Agency Mitigation Specialist Dan Clevidence at 614.799.3533.

Governor DeWine Authorizes Deployment of National Guard Assets to Assist Puerto Rico


ABOVE: The DRBS as it is being set up In Puerto Rico. It houses up to 150 people. BELOW: Some of the materials are off loaded in Puerto Rico.

Off loading in PR

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued a proclamation authorizing specified members of the Ohio National Guard to provide emergency aid to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico after a series of powerful earthquakes caused massive destruction and widespread power outages.

Beginning Dec. 28, 2019, the U.S. territory experienced hundreds of earthquakes, culminating in a 6.4 magnitude earthquake on January 7, 2020, and multiple aftershocks, near Guanica on the island’s southwestern coast.

Puerto Rico's governor declared a state of emergency due to the widespread damage and utility disruption.

"I have authorized the mobilization of the Ohio National Guard to provide emergency assistance until basic services in the impacted areas are restored," said Governor DeWine. "I have instructed Ohio's Adjutant General to take whatever actions are necessary to assist local authorities to protect the lives, safety, health, and property of citizens affected by these devastating earthquakes."

The Ohio Air National Guard 200th RED HORSE (Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer) Squadron will support earthquake relief efforts by establishing two Disaster Relief Bed-down Systems, which are deployable kits capable of providing basic housing and life support facilities, such as tents, showers, and latrines, for up to 150 military personnel responding to the disaster.

“Disaster relief missions and supporting our homeland is why America has a National Guard to call when the nation and her citizens need us most. Our Ohio Air National Guard Airmen at the 200th RED HORSE Squadron are ready and anxious to support earthquake relief efforts in Puerto Rico. This is what we do,” said Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., the Ohio Adjutant General.

The 200th RED HORSE Squadron, headquartered in Port Clinton, Ohio, with a detachment in Mansfield, is equipped to provide engineering, construction, and logistics capabilities worldwide on short notice.

“Being able to support another state for domestic response is exciting,” said Col. Michael Hrynciw, commander of the 200th RED HORSE Squadron. “We train for this all the time in support of our friends and neighbors. The Ohio National Guard leads the way in helping others.”

Governor DeWine’s proclamation allows the Ohio National Guard unit to remain on active duty until the disaster recovery assistance is complete and an emergency no longer exists.

The Ohio National Guard is deploying the equipment and personnel as part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states or territories. EMAC offers assistance during governor-declared states of emergency or disaster through a responsive, straightforward system that allows states to send personnel, equipment, and commodities to assist with response and recovery efforts in other states.

EMAC is implemented within each state's emergency management agency on behalf of the Governor of the State. This provides a consistent and coordinated response across the nation.  In the Buckeye State, Ohio EMA Executive Director is the signatory authority for EMAC.

HMEP Grant Second Year Application Period Open

Ohio EMA is now accepting applications for the second year of the FY 2019 Hazardous Materials Emergency Preparedness (HMEP) Grant Program. The performance period for all proposed projects will be Sept. 30, 2020 through Sept. 29, 2021.   Application materials have been sent to all Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) directors throughout the state and are also available on the Ohio EMA website. All applications must be submitted to the Ohio EMA Grants Branch by 5 p.m. March 6. Individuals should contact their assigned grants specialist for questions or assistance regarding the application process.

Ohio EMA Recovery Branch Updates

On Dec. 8, 2019, Brock Metzger was promoted to supervisor in the Disaster Recovery Branch.  Metzger has been with Ohio EMA since July 2017 and has been instrumental in the successful delivery of three Public Assistance federal disaster declarations and numerous State Disaster Relief Program grants.  Three Disaster Relief Grant employees have been hired to assist in grant implementation.  Mark Stafford was hired as an engineer and has extensive emergency management experience having worked in several states across the country.  Christen Swayer is a recent graduate of the University of Akron, with a degree in emergency management.  Collin Maio is a former Marine who  volunteered with Delaware County EMA prior to joining our team.  Disaster Relief Grant employees are hired to surge recovery and mitigation staff following disasters. 

The updated 2019 State Disaster Relief Program Handbook has been posted to the Disaster Recovery website.  The most significant change is the publication of FEMA’s 2019 updates to the Schedule of Equipment Rates.

In 2019, Ohio received its first Individual Assistance federal declaration in more than a decade.  The individual and community recovery efforts ongoing in the Miami Valley area are leaps and bounds ahead of where most local long term recovery efforts normally are nine months following disasters, according to Laura Adcock, Ohio EMA  Recovery Branch Chief. Attached is how the two groups are structured.  The main focus right now is coordinating with National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (National VOAD) and the impacted jurisdictions to ensure there is organization and structure for when the spring repair/rebuild campaigns ramp up.  The community recovery group is also focused on securing funding from the Economic Development Agency and implementing the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding that was allocated in December 2019. 

Ohio EMA Rad Branch Has Busy Year Ahead

The Radiological Branch is planning, training and focusing on keeping with the Safer Ohio initiatives started a few years back. To begin, the branch has been working with local law enforcement agencies to equip them with the Thermo Fisher Scientific SPRD’s and deliver the training on how to use them for the Ohio Radiological Nuclear Detection (RND) program.

In 2019, the branch provided training to the Defiance, Dayton, and Youngstown police departments, State Highway Patrol Motor Carriers, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, as well as other agencies in primary screening. The branch also began to work with Lucas County law enforcement agencies through the EMA and completed the training of several classes but have many more planned through 2020.

Work is also underway on the 2021 REP Plan and all of the procedure changes that come with the plan. The 2020 plan will be tested in March during the dry run drill and again in June during the FEMA evaluated power plant exercise for Beaver Valley Power Station. This drill and exercise will commence in the evening hours and will be a partial participation for the State EOC.

Also in 2020, the branch will move new equipment (Ludlum 26-3 High Range Frisker) to replace older Civil Defense equipment. Stay tuned for more news from the RAD Branch and reach out with any questions and concerns to EMARad@dps.ohio.gov.

Havens Joins Ohio EMA as Planner 3

Nedra Havens has recently joined the Ohio EMA as a Planner 3 in the Planning, Training, & Exercise Branch.

Before starting with the Ohio EMA, Havens spent 10 years with the Ohio National Guard as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & Explosive (CBRNE) Specialist. During her time in the National Guard she served as a Decontamination Liaison for the Ohio CBRNE Emergency Response Force Package (CERFP)/Homeland Response Force (HRF), a Hazmat Training Non-Commissioned Officer, an Exercise Coordinator, and a Hazmat Operations Instructor.

McCrystal Presents About Preparedness to Association of Rubber Products Manufacturers

Extreme weather events, natural disasters and unpredictable violence – they seem to be occurring more frequently these days. To cope in an ever-changing world, be aware of the common threats (based on weather, geography, vulnerabilities, etc.) and take steps to be prepared for the unexpected. Here are five tips from state emergency management professional, Matthew McCrystal of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, who spoke at an Environmental, Health and Safety Summit on July 17-18, 2019, in Columbus, Ohio. The event was hosted by The Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers (ARPM). To read more, click here.

School District Recognized for Preparedness

On behalf of the Athens County Commissioners, the Athens County Emergency Management Agency recently presented the Alexander Local School District with a proclamation recognizing their investment in school safety and emergency preparedness.

The entire faculty is required to be trained in the incident command system (ICS) and the school has developed their own internal ICS structure.  The faculty has completed "Stop the Bleed" training and over 700 tourniquets are strategically placed across the campus.

Additionally, the Alexander School District conducts regular exercises for various active aggressor, school evacuation, reverse evacuation, and school bus safety scenarios. 

Training Opportunities

Ohio EMA Training Calendar: https://webeoc.ema.state.oh.us/TrainingAndExercise/courselist.aspx

Register on the DPS Training Campus: https://trainingcampus.dps.ohio.gov/cm/cm710/pstc/pstc.html

Note: All classes will be posted on the DPS training campus at least 60 days prior to the start of the course.
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, (TEEX), March 2-3, Lorain County
G 290/291, Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center, March 10-12, Summit County
L 102 Science 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 HSEEP, March 25-27, Franklin County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, (TEEX), March 30-31, Mahoning County
OH-202 Debris Management, March 31, Richland County
G 393 Mitigation for Emergency Managers, March 31-April 2, Hamilton County
G-402 ICS Overview for Executives and Senior Officials, April 1, Ohio EMA
ICS 300, Intermediate ICS, April 3-5, Jackson County
G-289 Public Information Officer Awareness, April 6, Hocking County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, April 6-8, Greene County
G-289 Public Information Officer Awareness, April 7, Mahoning County
G-289 Public Information Officer Awareness, April 7, Fulton County
G-367 Emergency Planning for Campus Executives, April 8, Mahoning County
OH-200 Spring Conference, April 8-9, Ohio EMA
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, April 9, Mahoning County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, April 9-10, Greene County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, April 14-16, Summit County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, April 15-17, Clermont County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, April 18, 19, and 25, Mercer County
OH-202 Debris Management, April 21, Stark County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, April 21-22, Summit County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, April 21-23, Scioto County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, April 25-26, Jackson County
G-318 Mitigation Workshop, April 29-30, Cuyahoga County
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, April 30, Lawrence County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 4-5, Clermont County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 4-6, Columbiana County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 4-6, Henry County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 4-6, Wayne County
G-271 Hazardous Weather and Flood Preparedness, May 5-7, Delaware County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 5-7, Franklin County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 6-7, Scioto County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 7-8, Columbiana County
L449 Incident Command System (ICS) TtT (MGT-906 TEEX), May 11-15, Franklin County
OH-605 IA Damage Assessment, May 12, Cuyahoga County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 12-14, Jefferson County
OH-139 Exercise Design and Evaluation, May 12-14, Jackson County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 18-19, Wayne County
ICS-300 Intermediate ICS, May 18-20, Lucas County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, May 19-21, Licking County
G-288 Local Volunteer and Donation Management, May 21-22, Union County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 21-22, Lucas County
G-108 Community Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, May 26-27, Lake County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, May 27-28, Licking County
G-393 Mitigation for Emergency Managers, June 1-3, Lucas County
OH-607 PA Damage Assessment, June 3, Cuyahoga County
G-557 Rapid Assessment Planning, June 9, Fulton County
G-364 Multi-Hazard Planning for Schools, June 9-10, Lucas County
L 146 HSEEP, June 15-16, Ohio EMA
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, June 16-18,  Union County
L 105 Public Information and Warning, June 17-18, Ohio EMA
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, June 17-18, Franklin County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS,  June 22-23, Henry County
G-364 Multi-Hazard Planning for Schools,, June 23-24 Lake County
G-2300 Intermediate Emergency Operations Center Functions, June 23-25, Hamilton County
G 290-291 Public Information Officer/Joint Information Center, June 24-26, Ohio EMA
G-289 Public Information Officer Awareness, June 26, Muskingum County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, July 28-29, Union County
G-288 Volunteer and Donation Management, July 14-15, Lucas County
G-2300 Intermediate Emergency Operations Center Functions, Aug. 4-6, Ohio EMA
G-191 ICS/EOC Interface, Aug. 12, Fulton County
L967 Logistics Section Chief, Aug. 17-21, Summit County
OH-202 Debris Management Workshop, Aug. 26, Lake County
OH/L-146 HSEEP, Aug. 26-27, Hamilton County
G-191 ICE/EOC Interface, Aug. 27, Fairfield County
G-386 Mass Fatalities Incident, Sept. 1-2, Ohio EMA
G-205 Recovery From Disasters, Sept. 9-10, Ohio EMA
G-235 Emergency Planning, Sept. 21-22, Cuyahoga County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Sept. 21-23, Stark County
G-271 Hazardous Weather and Flood Preparedness, Sept. 22-23, Wood County
G-2300 Intermediate Emergency Operations Centers Functions, Sept. 22-24, Lake County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Sept. 28-30, Cuyahoga County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Oct. 6-7 Jefferson County
G-108 Community Mass Care and Emergency Assistance, Oct. 8-9, Clermont County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Oct. 10-11, Mercer County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Oct. 13-15, Hamilton County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Oct. 19-20, Cuyahoga County
L 451 Academy 1 - Application of Advanced Individual Concepts In Emergency Management, Oct. 19-23, Ohio EMA
G-272 Warning Coordination, Oct. 20-21, Wood County
G-557 Rapid Assessment Planning, Oct. 21, Lake County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Oct. 21-23, Summit County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Oct. 22-23, Stark County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Oct. 27-28, Summit County
G-235 Emergency Planning, Oct. 28-29, Ohio EMA
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Nov. 2-4, Marion County
OH-606 Recovery from Disaster Workshop, Nov. 5, Wood County
OH-607 Public Assistance Cost Documentation and Damage Assessment, Nov. 5, Wood County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Nov. 5-6, Marion County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Nov. 17-18, Hamilton County
G-402, ICS Overview for Executives and Senior Officials, Nov. 18, Cuyahoga County
OH-101 Developing and Maintaining an Emergency Operations Plan, Nov. 19, Hamilton County
ICS 300 Intermediate ICS, Dec. 1-3, Lucas County
G-557 Rapid Assessment Planning, Dec. 8, Hamilton County
ICS 400 Advanced ICS, Jan 7-8, 2021, Lucas County
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, Ohio EMA
L 454 Academy IV - Advanced Concepts and Policy in the Emergency Management Profession,  July 12-16, 2021, Ohio EMA