Special Needs Evacuation Tracking SystemThe following is a presentation titled "Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System" by Lesia Dickinson & Gordon Wells in conjunction with RadiantRFID, The Center for Space Research at The University of Texas at Austin, and AT&T. The PDF file can be found at the website "North Central Texas Council of Governments" (www.nctcog.org/).
It clearly shows the steps our government plans to take in evacuating the American people to national emergency centers (established by HR 645) and other detention facilities (referred to as "shelters") during a state of national emergency. Note in the presentation that military personnel will issue RFID wristbands and initiate bus loading.
According to HR 645, the purpose of national emergency centers shall be to use existing infrastructure:
- to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster;
- to provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of Federal, State, and local first responders;
- to provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts of government, private, and not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations; and
- to meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
This official U.S. government document provides the blueprint for the "state of Texas special needs evacuation tracking system."
By the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency
The Mass Evacuation Incident Annex to the National Response Framework (NRF) provides an overview of mass evacuation functions, agency roles and responsibilities, and overall guidelines for the integration of Federal, State, tribal, and local support in the evacuation of large numbers of people in incidents requiring a coordinated Federal response.
- Establishes the criteria under which Federal support to mass evacuations is provided.
- Provides a concept of operations for Federal-level mass evacuation support.
- Identifies the agencies and organizations involved in a federally-supported mass evacuation.
- Defines the roles and responsibilities of Federal entities in planning, preparing for, and conducting mass evacuations in support of State, tribal, and local authorities.
- Identifies guidelines to improve coordination among Federal, State, tribal, and local authorities when Federal evacuation support is required.
- Homeland Security Act of 2002
- Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 93-288) as amended
- Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, Management of Domestic Incidents
- Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006
- Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
- Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 authorizes the use of Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) or Homeland Security Grant Program funds for States to develop catastrophic mass evacuation plans.
The Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (DHS/FEMA) will primarily augment State, tribal, and local government plans and operations and secondarily be capable of implementing a federally-supported evacuation and/or a federalized evacuation when requested or required.
Under the Americans With Disabilities Act, transportation providers must permit passengers with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals.
DHS/FEMA recognizes and commits to a government-to-government relationship with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments.
Federal evacuation measures will be taken:
- When State, tribal, or local governments indicate that their resources may or have become overwhelmed and the Governor(s) or tribal official(s) request Federal assistance; or
- In catastrophic incidents when State and local governments are incapacitated, and the President directs that Federal mass evacuation support is required.
State, tribal, and local governments recognize there is substantial need to coordinate with Federal support agencies on population movement.
Federal agencies will coordinate their actions with State, local, and tribal governments. Federal agencies will support State, tribal, and local governments to ensure the Governor(s) of the State(s) receiving evacuees from the affected State(s) agree to accept these individuals prior to evacuation.
State authorities in affected areas, in conjunction with authorities in other States, will decide on the destinations for evacuees and will regulate the flow of transportation assets accordingly.
Federal resource requirements for a precautionary evacuation are based on the expected magnitude of the event and request of the Governor(s) of the potentially impacted State(s). State policies and guidelines governing household pet evacuations are utilized when incorporating household pet issues into evacuations. State, tribal, and local planners are aware that individuals may choose to not evacuate if directed to leave their animal(s) behind.
Residents of the evacuated area will need to return to the area post-event if possible. Plans and methods are necessary to facilitate return of evacuated residents.
Members of the special needs population may require additional support or assistance in certain functional areas.
Lead Time Required to Conduct Mass Evacuations: It may be necessary to activate plans as much as 72 hours prior to the time an evacuation is likely to be ordered. Resources may need to be mobilized as much as 48 hours prior to the start of evacuations to have sufficient capacity in place once the evacuation order is given.
Limits in Weather Forecasting: The variables in forecasting track, intensity, and forward speed of tropical weather systems (the most likely and frequent reason for evacuations) make it extremely difficult for decisionmakers to commit costly resources as much as 5 days before the onset of tropical storm-force winds. In some cases, storms at this stage are not sufficiently well formed to indicate the need for evacuation.
Interdependencies Between Shelters and Transportation: The transportation solution to a mass evacuation is based on the numbers of people needing evacuation, availability of privately-owned transportation, numbers of evacuees with special mobility and medical needs, the time available to conduct operations, and the distance to (and availability of) shelters. If shelters are located too far from embarkation points, transportation assets (buses, trains, and aircraft) cannot be recycled and may only make one trip during the operation. As a result, the distance traveled may reduce capacity to evacuate exponentially. It is critical to identify and predesignate general and special needs population shelters as close to the embarkation points as safely possible. The designation and distance to household pet shelters or shelters that will accommodate pets are equally important to the success of an evacuation.
Special Needs of Children: It is critically important to recognize the special needs of children during mass evacuations. In a no-notice evacuation, children could be gathered in large numbers away from their parents, whether at schools, childcare facilities, summer camps, hospitals, or other locations. Reunification of children separated from their parents will be an issue during evacuation and consideration must be given to accomplishing this.
Special Needs Populations: Accommodations must be made for the special needs of the citizens of the affected area. These needs may include practical and/or functional assistance in communication, mobility, maintaining independence, and medical care.
Animals: The requirements for transporting and arranging for shelter and care of animals when they need to be relocated from their homes are of significant importance. There are special evacuation requirements for each category of animals within the NRF:
Service Animals: The ADA defines service animals as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability including, but not limited to guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items. Under the ADA regulations, service animals have access to the same facilities as the humans they serve.
Household Pets: Planning for and accommodating household pets as a component of mass evacuations is critical. History demonstrates that many residents will refuse to evacuate or resist rescue if they are forced to leave their household pets behind. Therefore, without advance planning, the tracking, embarkation, transportation, care, feeding, and sheltering of household pets can significantly impact the ability to safely evacuate the general population. Through its contracts with bus and air carriers, DHS/FEMA will evacuate service animals when accompanying their owner/keeper, consistent with Federal laws and within the terms and conditions of the relevant transportation contracts. Alternative methods for owner and pet evacuation will be provided for household pets. DHS/FEMA, in coordination with State, tribal, and local governments, will assist in identifying and providing locations to which household pets may be evacuated; providing logistical support for the care, immunization, and quarantine of household pets; providing specifications for vehicles that can be used to evacuate household pets; and coordinating with private industry for household pet evacuations. Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 – Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing, and Human Services will encourage State, tribal, and local entities to plan for the co-location of pet shelters near general populations when possible during Federal evacuations to receiving cities/States. ESF #6 will provide coordination of animal owner identification, tracking, reunification, and social support. ESF #6 will also coordinate pet issues, including pet evacuation, care, and sheltering, with appropriate government and nongovernment support agencies. ESF #8 – Public Health and Medical Services will assist in providing emergency veterinary care for sheltered and rescued animals, epidemiological monitoring and reporting of emergency-related animal health issues, and management of human bite/injury cases. ESF #15 – External Affairs will work with State, tribal, and local authorities to ensure that animal evacuation and response instructions and status updates are communicated appropriately and in a timely manner.
Environmental Contamination: Evacuation efforts may be impacted when they are taken in response to a large-scale hazardous materials (HAZMAT) incident. Evacuation decisionmakers should consult with available HAZMAT officials as appropriate regarding the location of embarkation sites and evacuation routes. At the Federal level, all-hazard HAZMAT assessment support is provided by ESF #10 – Oil and Hazardous Materials Response, and the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center. For radiological incidents, the Federal coordinating agency for the incident under the Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex, the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center, and the Advisory Team for Environment, Food, and Health provide additional support to decisionmakers.
Victim Decontamination: State, tribal, and local officials retain primary responsibility for victim screening and decontamination operations when necessary in response to a HAZMAT incident. Appropriate personnel and equipment must be available. Without appropriate decontamination and proof of decontamination, neighboring States/jurisdictions may resist accepting evacuees/patients that are contaminated. Federal resources are limited, and are coordinated through ESF #8.
Events With and Without Warning: The Concept of Operations applies to events for which there are warnings (e.g., hurricanes, flooding) as well as events for which there are no warnings (e.g., industrial accident, terrorist attack).
Critical Infrastructure: A mass evacuation could present a range of implications for many of the critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) sectors both within the impacted areas and across the Nation. The evacuation could directly affect CIKR operations, supply lines, and/or distribution systems. The NRF CIKR Support Annex details the processes for expedited information sharing and analysis of impacts to CIKR, prioritized recommendations, and protocols to consider incident-related requests for assistance from CIKR owners and operators.
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“We live in a 72 hour world, from decision to evacuation. By 36 hours, we want departure hubs set up, personnel trained, links made, equipment ready, and transportation deployed. With TX SNETS, we control the event, the event does not control us.” - Chief Jack Colley, Governor’s Division of Emergency ManagementSituation: Improve mass evacuation procedures
When more than one million people evacuated from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and more than 2.7 million people fled from Hurricane Rita the following month, evacuation routes were gridlocked, fuel supplies drained and shelters overwhelmed. Thousands of families were separated and hundreds of pets lost or left behind. The lessons learned from these catastrophic events reshaped the way the State of Texas approached mass evacuation and amplified the need to better assist and track special needs individuals throughout the process.
State of Texas Deploys Special Needs
Solution: Texas Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (TX SNETS)
In response to the recommendations of a state-appointed special task force, the Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) reached out to the private sector. An AT&T-led group of technology providers including Motorola, (VN: No, who would have imagined? Turning it over to the corporate owners of the state government, great idea and eliminate the middle man, here comes the big word RFID, you knew it was coming, lol ) Radiant RFID and Retriever Software, worked together to create an automated evacuee tracking system. Called TX SNETS, the system integrates Motorola handheld computers (VN: Walmart uses them with counting their inventory of assets, indeed, just like we are) with Geographic Information System (GIS) databases (VN: Is that like GPS?) with status and tracking displays, tracking software, bar code wristbands and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners, and commercial coaches and school buses equipped with mobile Global Positioning System (GPS) units.
Results: Simple process that registers 12,000 evacuees and pets per hour (VN: and with permanent records remaining after the crisis is over)
Wristbands are scanned as evacuees board GPS-equipped buses and again upon arrival at the sheltering destination, (VN: Is that like FEMA camps?) updating the information at each point and sending the data wirelessly to a centralized database maintained by the University of Texas Center for Space Research.
The TX SNETS solution allows the state to monitor the evacuees’ status, keep family members and pets together, and provide information to loved ones at each stage in the evacuation process. Improving the evacuation process through integrated technology.
When Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of the United States, approximately 475,000 evacuees fled to Texas. More than 126,000 had no identification, 9,000 were special needs individuals, and 2,000 children under eighteen were unaccompanied by an adult. “It was a major relief operation,” recalls Chief Jack Colley, Governor’s Division of Emergency Management (GDEM).
The GDEM invited Motorola (VN: check out their board of directors, JP Morgan, Chase, etc, they love us too since we are their cattle/assets) and other private sector technology providers to develop an effective, secure solution that would help the state evacuate and track special needs individuals quickly, efficiently and safely. With special needs redefined as anyone who could not self-evacuate for any reason, the numbers of potential evacuees increased dramatically, adding layers of complexity to the challenge. A rapid registration process and a secure method of tracking each evacuee, as well as their pets, wheelchairs, walkers, and other necessities, throughout the entire evacuation process was critical. (VN: If we assume Depopulation and Eugenics are a consideration here, then those special needs people will be in serious jeopardy just like in Katrina).
Motorola partnered with Retriever Software (VN: A Geneva board member, Rothschilds BIS bank is there) and Radiant RFID (VN: check out this board chairman, its interesting, this is an international effort here, but this one is a texas company with a very interesting chairman) to create an integrated technology solution using Radiant RFID’s customized bar-coded RFID wristbands and RFID portals, Retriever’s tracking application software, and Motorola’s rugged MC9094 handheld computers.
“We worked with about 58 private groups to make this system happen and those groups were essential to developing answers that work in the real world,” Chief Colley says. “For example, Motorola gives us great support from border security to evacuations. They are there when we need them most. We’re dealing with life and death, not proficiency issues, so the technology has to work, it cannot fail.”Smooth efficient registration process
The process is simple. Upon arrival at a designated evacuation center, National Guardsmen collect and enter each family’s information into the tracking system using a laptop computer or a MC9094 handheld wireless computer. A rugged device designed for the most demanding, high stress field environment, the MC9094 provides emergency personnel with true mobility, enabling them to register evacuees on-site at the evacuation hub. Data input errors are reduced by a user-friendly software application with a standard template. And the rapid deployment of over 500 handheld mobile computers meant that the equipment would be there when it was needed.
“The contributions made by the Motorola team were nothing less than spectacular,” says Cynthia Rubio, president of Radiant RFID. “Product knowledge, responsiveness and perseverance were huge factors that contributed to the successful deployment of this system.”Keeping family and pets together and loved ones informed. After the data is collected, each family member is given an RFID wristband with a serial number that matches the record in the database. Pets and physical or medical equipment are given corresponding tags. The information is wirelessly transmitted to the master database housed at the University of Texas Center for Space Research in Austin. (VN: A Carnegie Foundation recipient, we know about this foundation, as well as massive grants from the government and they will house the master data base.... yessiree)
“The scale of mass evacuation demands a new approach to command control and the creation of a system that registers evacuees in real-time at their departure points,” says Dr. Gordon Wells, Program Manager, Center for Space Research, University of Texas at Austin. “One of our jobs (at the Center) is to track the location, capacity and current occupancy of the evacuation shelters. So tracking the location of the evacuees as they move through the process and monitoring bus locations through GPS technology was a natural activity we could expand on.”Tracking enabled by wireless devices (VN: your going to really love this one. If you know anything about shipping cattle or assets, then words like "manifest" will definitely ring a bell, branding would be about the same thing.)
National Guardsmen also use the Motorola handheld computers to scan the wristbands as evacuees board buses for transport to the shelters. Before departure, the Guardsmen print out a manifest for the driver to help account for each evacuee after fuel stops and comfort station breaks. Buses are equipped with GPS units, enabling the Center for Space Research to track and report their locations and speeds every 30 seconds. (VN: now that is control, every 30 seconds when you have valuable cargo like that)
Upon arrival at the shelter, evacuees either walk through an RFID portal or their wristbands are manually scanned, updating their status and transmitting the information to the master database. A printed manifest is then provided to the shelter host. TX SNETS keeps evacuees, their pets, and their medical necessities together and allows family members to contact the Texas 2-1-1 information and referral service to track evacuees’ status and current location. (VN: you read this and you just feel so good about how much they care about you, don't you?)
“Time is the enemy,” says Chief Colley. “You have to help people very quickly. TX SNETS is a very simple process and it works. Taking care of our citizens first and foremost."By the time Hurricane Dean threatened the Texas coast in August of 2007, the state was ready and waiting with TX SNETS securely in place and poised to evacuate 150,000 people on 3,000 buses.
“When you’re dealing with people, not just assets, there is a moral responsibility to get it right,” says Sheila Donnelly, president, Retriever Software. “When the system is allowed to proceed as planned and exercised by Emergency Operations, the information is moved efficiently and accurately and the level of confidence and calmness increases.”For the state, TX SNETS provides a smooth, efficient process of effectively allocating search and rescue resources for those who for any reason cannot self-evacuate. For evacuees, it means no longer having to worry about losing a child in the chaos, leaving behind a pet, or being separated from critical special-needs devices. For loved ones, it means keeping tabs on family members. And for all, it controls the turmoil and reduces the extreme stress of a mass evacuation.
“We live in a world now where catastrophic events occur, whether man-made or natural,” says Chief Colley. “Our priority is to take care of our citizens first and foremost, and in the 21st century we should be able to do that. We had great support from the private sector and Motorola was one of them in a big way.”
SNETS is a complete evacuee tracking system which allows your jurisdiction to match each evacuee with a unique wristband prior to evacuation. Evacuee enrollments are stored in a database at the University of Texas Center for Space Research in Austin, Texas that has been provided by the State of Texas Governor’s Division of Emergency Management. Evacuee wristbands are scanned either by RFID or bar code scans at key points in the evacuee’s journey so that your jurisdiction can know at any time where evacuees were last “seen” and repatriation can be accomplished more easily.
How can your jurisdiction participate in SNETS?
Any evacuating or sheltering jurisdiction may participate in the SNETS system simply by expressing your desire to do so to your DPS Regional Liaison Officer (RLO).
What are the functions associated with participating in SNETS as a sheltering jurisdiction?
Sheltering jurisdictions need to participate in two primary ways:
1. To receive evacuees and scan them into your shelters so that the State and evacuating jurisdiction personnel can know that they have arrived at your site.
2. To repatriate evacuees by loading them onto buses and electronically manifesting them for their home trip.
How does participating benefit your jurisdiction?
Based upon a lot of lessons learned in Hurricanes Ike and Gustav and feedback from the local communities, the GDEM has determined that the most effective way to assist sheltering cities with the tracking of evacuees is to get State software and equipment into the hands of the jurisdictions early and allow them to use the system directly.
Key elements of the 2009 plan are:
- User training on the SNETS system in advance of hurricane season
- Pre-deployed or rapidly deployed equipment sent directly to your jurisdiction in prep. for an
- State wristbands provided to shelters for the purposes of tagging all evacuees in MSN shelters who arrive without a wristband or to re-band any state-transported evacuee who needs a replacement.
- TMF shelter support with trained SNETS personnel (approx 300 spread statewide)
Software: The State of Texas typically activates SNETS once a federal disaster declaration has been given. For hurricanes, this is typically in the H-72 to H-60 hour time frame. At that time, the system is open for unlimited software license use by all jurisdictions.
Hardware: Sheltering jurisdictions will have access to Motorola Handheld Scanners with cellular connection to the SNETS database. It is important to work with the SNETS team in order to determine the number of scanners that will be available to your jurisdiction. The GDEM is working on a plan for predeployment / rapid deployment to get these devices into the hands of your jurisdiction while shelters are being set up or before.
Wristbands and Pet/Medical Asset Tags: In order to promote a common wristband among all jurisdictions, the State of Texas will provide access to wristbands for all participating evacuating jurisdictions to be used for special needs evacuation. Sheltering jurisdictions may also request wristbands from the State for MSN or state-transported evacuees which arrive without a band or need a replacement band for any reason.
Additionally, jurisdictions may purchase bands to have directly under their control if they choose.
Personnel: The Texas Military Forces has a team of SNETS-trained soldiers which can be requested to supplement local evacuation/sheltering efforts. The TMF strongly urges that your community prepare to begin the shelter scanning on your own prior to the arrival of TMF since this is a limited resource.
Can I use another shelter management system along with SNETS? How does WebEOC fit into the picture?
The intent of SNETS is evacuee tracking and not necessarily shelter management. In other words, the system will allow for your shelter sites to be identified in the system and evacuees scanned into those shelters. Reports will be available to show you manifests from those shelter scans as well as search for evacuees in various ways. Additional evacuee information which you gather locally cannot be entered into SNETS directly.
Understanding that shelters and receiving hospitals often want to store other information necessary to manage shelters /evacuees/patients, data sharing with the Texas WebEOCInterOperability Project (TWIRP) Shelter and Hospital Boards is under development with availability for the 2009 hurricane season. In this data sharing arrangement, you can use the WEBEOC shelter boards to manage your shelter or hospital evacuation process and that information will automatically flow out of and back into SNETS.
Please discuss your choice of direct access to SNETS or use of WebEOC Shelter Boards with your RLO, the local, WebEOC system administrator and the SNETS Radiant team so that proper planning and support can be done. If you need access to TWIRP Shelter Boards, please contact Jeff Newbold at firstname.lastname@example.org
What else does your jurisdiction need in order to participant?
As mentioned earlier, the State is developing a pre-deployment / rapid deployment plan for handheld scanners with cellular access to SNETS. Portals may be provided to you as well depending on your local plan and availability. Wristbands will also be provided to sheltering communities in limited quantities (request quantity desired through your RLO.) Finally, the State will provide unlimited access to the SNETS software for sheltering communities during the event. Other components that we suggest would be helpful and which you perhaps already have in your sheltering plans are:
- Laptop with USB attachable bar code reader (used for enrolling/rebanding)
- Internet access for laptop
- Standard PC- or LAN-attached printer for printing manifest
- USB attachable magnetic stripe readers (MSR): MSRs speed the entry of enrollment data into the SNETS system by swiping a driver license or state id. Note: The MSR required must comply with SNETS program. Please contact Radiant to discuss specifications.
- Motorola handheld scanners: These devices are good for functions done at the bus door such as staging your local bus assets into SNETS or scanning evacuees onto buses so that bus manifesting can be accomplished.
Miscellaneous necessary items:
- Internet (Wi-fi or wired depending on your laptop)
- Copies of the evacuation form for evacuees to fill it prior to enrollment (English and Spanish)
- Zip ties for attaching pet/med tags
Contact Lesia Dickson at 512-517-7445 or email@example.com, www.radiantrfid.com
AT&T to Deliver Country's First Statewide Citizen-Evacuation Management System Texas; Governor's Division of Emergency Management to Implement RFID and Mobile Technologies, Providing Real-Time Information During Crises
AT&T Press Release
AT&T Inc. has announced a new contract to deliver an innovative custom mobility solution to the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM) for the state of Texas. The solution, the Texas Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (SNETS), is the country's first statewide citizen-evacuation system and uses a variety of radio-frequency identification (RFID), wireless and mobile data technologies to provide real-time information on evacuees, enabling the GDEM to better support the evacuees and their families during a crisis.
The GDEM is responsible for assisting cities, counties and state agencies in planning and implementing their emergency-management programs as well as carrying out a comprehensive, all-hazard emergency-management program for the state. Under the terms of the contract, AT&T will serve as the primary provider and deliver wireless RFID service to support a statewide emergency-evacuation tracking system. The tracking system, which was successfully deployed in 2006 and 2007 during state evacuation simulations, will help safely evacuate citizens in the event of any large-scale man-made or natural disaster.
In the event of an emergency evacuation, evacuees will be registered on-site and issued a bar-coded RFID wristband. An evacuee's wristband will be scanned by the GDEM with a wireless device as the evacuee boards a state-contracted vehicle, and the information will be added to the bus boarding log. Evacuee intake information and location will then be sent wirelessly to The University of Texas Center for Space Research data center. The vehicles will be equipped with GPS systems to track the location along the evacuation route. Upon reaching the destination, the system will update evacuee profiles and provide real-time information. This will enable state employees to respond to inquiries from the public about the safety of evacuated family members and to reunite families that have been separated during a large-scale disaster.
Rugged hand-held computers from Motorola Inc. will be used for the enrollment and tracking of evacuees throughout the process. In addition, Motorola bar-code scanners and RFID readers will be used in the registration and final destination check-in process for evacuees.
"We wanted to enhance our existing emergency evacuation planning strategy with a new system for tracking and locating evacuees," said Jack Colley, chief, Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management. "We are confident that the statewide emergency-evacuation tracking system will not only help save lives and effectively ascertain the location of the displaced citizens, but it will also provide the state with the ability to update the families of the evacuees and effectively allocate search-and-rescue resources. The RFID solution will improve the GDEM's command and control management of large-scale disasters within the state by enabling officials to efficiently allocate valuable emergency resources."
Situation: Improve Mass Evacuation Procedures
When more than one million people evacuated from Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and more than 2.7 million people fled from Hurricane Rita the following month, evacuation routes were gridlocked, fuel supplies drained and shelters overwhelmed. Thousands of families were separated and hundreds of pets lost or left behind. The lessons learned from these catastrophic events reshaped the way the State of Texas approached mass evacuation and amplified the need to better assist and track special needs individuals throughout the process.
Solution: Texas Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (TX SNETS)
Called TX SNETS, the system integrates Motorola handheld computers with Geographic Information System (GIS) databases with status and tracking displays, tracking software, bar code wristbands and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanners, and commercial coaches and school buses equipped with mobile Global Positioning System (GPS) units. Results: Simple process that registers 12,000 evacuees and pets per hour.
Results: Simple Process That Registers 12,000 Evacuees and Pets Per Hour
Wristbands are scanned as evacuees board GPS-equipped buses and again upon arrival at the sheltering destination, updating the information at each point and sending the data wirelessly to a centralized database maintained by the University of Texas Center for Space Research. The TX SNETS solution allows the state to monitor the evacuees’ status, keep family members and pets together, and provide information to loved ones at each stage in the evacuation process.
Schools May Be Used to Round Up Americans for Registration and Tagging with RFID Wristbands During National Emergencies and Could Be Used as Detention CentersPublic schools are essentially designed as lockdown facilities with cafeterias, gyms, showers, etc. They are similar in structure and layout to detentions centers, except for outside fencing and guards...but this could be easily added if the government plans to convert public schools into detention centers under martial law.
Foreign Troops in America
By Nathan Leal
In this dream, I was in my home town - Loveland, Colorado.
A terrorist event had just occured somewhere else in the U.S.
Because of the attack, all of America was under Martial Law.
There was a command given to all citizens that everyone had to report to their neighborhood public school.
The purpose of going to the school was some sort of mandatory registration (part of their war on terror).
When I arrived at the registration area with my wife, there was a long line with hundreds of people in line.
Along the length of the line were soldiers maintaining order. They were shoving people and giving commands.
I joined the line waiting to get into the building.
As the line slowly moved, I eventually got close enough to several of the soldiers.
They began to ask me questions, but I could not understand them because one of them was speaking Russian and the other one was speaking German.
Conclusion: Martial Law is coming to America in our future with foreign troops.
Date when this will occur unknown.
NATO Partnership for Peace - Status of Forces Agreement
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
The PfP SOFA is a multilateral agreement between NATO member states and countries participating in the Partnership for Peace (PfP). It deals with the status of foreign forces while present on the territory of another state.
The agreement was originally drawn up in in Brussels on 19 June 1995 to facilitate cooperation and exercises under the recently launched PfP programme.
Basically, the PfP SOFA applies – with the necessary changes having been made – most of the provisions of an agreement between NATO member states, which was done in London on 19 June 1951. (Some provisions of this so-called NATO SOFA cannot be applied to Partner countries for technical reasons.)
It is important to note that these SOFAs fully respect the principle of territorial sovereignty, which requires a receiving state to give its consent to the entry of foreign forces. Neither the PfP SOFA nor the NATO SOFA addresses the issue of the presence of the force itself – that would be defined in separate arrangements. Consequently, it is only after states have agreed to send or receive forces that the SOFAs concerned are applicable.
What does this mean in practice?
By acceding to the PfP SOFA, the parties to the agreement identify exactly what the status of their forces will be and what privileges, facilities and immunities will apply to them, when they are present on the territory of another state, which is party to the PfP SOFA. All states that are party to the agreement grant the same legal status to forces of the other parties when these are present on their territory.
Therefore, once there is a common agreement, for example, regarding a certain operation, training or exercise, the same set of provisions will apply on a reciprocal basis. A common status and an important degree of equal treatment will be reached, which will contribute to the equality between Partners.
WikiLeaks Document Release - Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA): What Is It, and How
Might One Be Utilized In Iraq? (February 2, 2009)
June 30, 2010
Normally, the rowdy or misbehaving students are sent to detention. However, Brownfield ISD is bringing an old detention center to the students by turning it into a pre-kindergarten school in one summer.
After years of discussing and planning, the school district bought the vacant Court Residential Treatment Center on Seagraves Road and will bring all of its pre-K students together under one roof. Construction and remodeling work began June 1, and teachers are scheduled to move into the finished building on Aug. 1 for the 2010-2011 school year.
CRTC was once owned by Terry County and operated as a detention center for drug abusers. The school district purchased the 4.5-acre facility from the city in May for $100,000 instead of using taxpayers’ money to build a new school.
Superintendent Jerry Jones said although there were delays to the start of the project, stimulus funding was available, the CRTC was a good fit and it was just the opportune time. Remodeling costs range from $180,000 to $220,000, he said.
However, this was not first time the district turned the detention center into a school.
In December 2001, fourth- and fifth-grade students had classes in the CRTC after a fire destroyed their school, Jones said. That blaze led to a redistribution of grades among the different schools and part of the reason for the new pre-K campus...
June 8, 2010
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are preparing to roll out a series of changes at several privately owned immigration detention centers, including relaxing some security measures for low-risk detainees and offering art classes, bingo and continental breakfast on the weekends.
The changes, detailed in an internal ICE e-mail obtained by the Houston Chronicle, were welcomed by immigrant advocates who have been waiting for the Obama administration to deliver on a promise made in August to overhaul the nation's immigration detention system.
The 28 changes identified in the e-mail range from the superficial to the substantive. In addition to “softening the look of the facility” with hanging plants and offering fresh carrot sticks, ICE will allow for the “free movement” of low-risk detainees, expand visiting hours and provide unmonitored phone lines.
ICE officials said the changes are part of broader efforts to make the immigration detention system less penal and more humane.
But the plans are prompting protests by ICE's union leaders, who say they will jeopardize the safety of agents, guards and detainees and increase the bottom line for taxpayers. Tre Rebstock, president for Local 3332, the ICE union in Houston, likened the changes to creating “an all-inclusive resort” for immigration detainees.
“Our biggest concern is that someone is going to get hurt,” he said, taking particular issue with plans to relax restrictions on the movement of low-risk detainees and efforts to reduce and eliminate pat-down searches.
Some of the changes will be implemented within 30 days; others may take up to six months, said Beth Gibson, ICE's senior counselor to Assistant Secretary John Morton and a leader of the detention reform effort.
Other major changes include:
Not about punishment
Gibson said the improvements are part of ICE's efforts to detain immigrants in the least restrictive manner possible while ensuring they leave the country if ordered to do so.
“When people come to our custody, we're detaining them to effect their removal,” Gibson said. “It's about deportation. It's not about punishing people for a crime they committed.”
At the CCA facilities that have agreed to ICE's changes, detainees will see more variety in their dining hall menus and have self-serve beverage and fresh vegetable bars.
CCA also plans to offer movie nights, bingo, arts and crafts, dance and cooking classes, tutoring and computer training, the e-mail states.
Detainees also will be allowed four hours or more of recreation “in a natural setting, allowing for robust aerobic exercise.”
CCA also committed to improving the look of the facilities, such as requiring plants, fresh paint and new bedding in lower-risk units.
Some of the improvements offered at the CCA facilities counted as hard-fought victories for immigrant advocates, including plans to improve visitor and attorney access.
“A lot of these measures are what we've been advocating for,” said Lory Rosenberg, policy and advocacy director for Refugee and Migrants' Rights for Amnesty International.
“Many of these points are very important to changing the system from a penal system, which is inappropriate in an immigration context, to a civil detention system.”
Rebstocksaid some detainees may be classified as low-risk because they have no serious criminal history but still may be gang members that “haven't been caught doing anything wrong yet.” He also said eliminating lockdowns will make it more difficult to protect detainees from one another. He said reducing or eliminating pat-down searches could allow contraband into the facilities, including weapons.
Gibson, with ICE, said the agency is developing a sophisticated classification system and will make sure “that our detainees are still safe and sound.”
“As a general matter, it will be the non-criminals who don't present a danger to anyone else who are benefitting from the lowest level of custody,” Gibson said.‘On the taxpayers' dime'
Rebstock also questioned the cost to taxpayers for the changes.
“My grandparents would have loved to have bingo night and a dance class at the retirement home they were in when they passed away, but that was something we would have had to pay for,” he said. “And yet these guys are getting it on the taxpayers' dime.”
Rosenberg said some of the changes, like new flower baskets, may seem small, but they will combine with the bigger changes to make a difference in the daily lives of detainees.
“Taken together they will go some way to making this system less penal,” she said.
September 21, 2009
Objects in the mirror can be closer than they appear.
Greg Evensen is an award winning former Kansas State Trooper and Kansas Marshal. He speaks across the nation for Patriot groups. His weekly radio show, “Voices from the Heartland” is heard on the Republic Broadcasting Network each Saturday from 12 noon to 2:00 pm Central time (http://www.theheartlandusa.com/).
From his blog today (http://www.newswithviews.com/Evensen/greg144.htm) he writes:
As most of you are already aware, I broke a story seven months ago in which I described a discussion I had with a friend in the health care profession at a major mid-western hospital. This person told me about the delivery of stainless steel wrist band type bracelets that carried the hardware for uploading, tracking and broadcasting uniquely personal encoded information.These bands were to be used in the event of massive inoculations or other disaster events in which large numbers of people would be vaccinated and then tracked.
I also stated that plans for roadblock enforcement of these issued bands was a component of emergency planning already on the federal and state police shelves, for use when those state or federal agencies called for blockades on the movement of people. I further mentioned that the “bracelets” would be encoded on the spot with tools similar to those used by UPS when packages are delivered and scanned by the driver. (http://www.newswithviews.com/Evensen/greg144.htm)Unable to reveal his source at the time, he now claims that it is EM Systems that has the task of creating these Swine Flu tracking bracelets and cites an article from the Boston Globe TWO YEARS AGO—it’s from November 2008. (http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2008/11/21/boston_launches_flu_shot_tracking/)
Excerpt—from two years ago referencing the seasonal flu shot:
Using technology originally developed for mass disasters, Boston disease trackers are embarking on a novel experiment—one of the first in the country—aimed at eventually creating a citywide registry of everyone who has had a flu vaccination.
The trial starts this afternoon, when several hundred people are expected to queue up for immunizations at the headquarters of the Boston Public Health Commission. Each of them will get a bracelet printed with a unique identifier code. Information about the vaccine’s recipients, and the shot, will be entered into handheld devices similar to those used by delivery truck drivers.
When people arrive for their shots, they will get an ID bracelet with a bar code. Next, basic information—name, age, gender, address—will be entered into the patient tracking database. There will be electronic records, too, of who gave the vaccine and whether it was injected into the right arm or the left, and time-stamped for that day.These are people going through the Public Health Commission system not private doctor’s office. You still want to nationalize health care?
EM systems own website (http://www.emsystem.com/info/emtrack.html) says it they are an industry-leading, proven tracking solution that supports the tracking of people, pets, and associated property and equipment.
August 30, 2008
Tyler will be a hub for several thousand Hurricane Gustav evacuees as city officials enact its emergency response plan, and so far, it seems as though early relief efforts have been fluid.
Mayor Barbara Bass Saturday signed an official declaration of disaster/emergency condition during the second of two press conferences on Saturday. Mayor Bass said preparations are specifically geared towards the evacuations of special needs evacuees from Beaumont.
“We are fully prepared to respond to the emergency situation,” Mayor Bass said. “We have activated our emergency operations center as well as our reception center.”The city’s reception center is located at Faulkner Park off of U.S. Highway 69, just north of Loop 49. A team of police, fire and medical officials are in place to greet and process evacuees, whether they come in official buses or in cars.
|[PHOTO AND ARTICLE DELETED FROM INTERNET]|
This small group of evacuees was on the first bus that made it to Tyler’s reception center at Faulkner Park, off of U.S. Highway 69. Evacuees wore special identification armbands, which were scanned and collected into a database to help keep track of which shelter they would go to. Salvation Army volunteers were on hand to provide food and water. Medical personnel were also available to check each evacuee’s medical status before getting back on the bus and heading to a shelter.
By 5 p.m. Saturday, the first four buses carrying about 155 people arrived in Tyler and headed directly to a shelter, Tyler Fire Department Captain Jeff Akin said. Meanwhile at the reception center, about 12 people — a family of four and a group of eight — were the first to check in with officials before heading to a local shelter. A small bus carrying about 15 evacuees arrived by 7 p.m. and about 1,000 more are expected to arrive by Monday, Akin said.
Tyler Fire Department Chief David Schlottach said following numerous conference calls with state officials, they are expecting to receive about 6,000 evacuees, although, he said he is uncertain if any will be coming from New Orleans.
“We really do have great communications with the state,” Chief Scholattach said. “Tyler is heavily involved in this.”City officials said since the reception center will process thousands of people, they are implementing a system that will move people to shelters smoothly.
“We are really streamlining this process,” said Susan Guthrie, city of Tyler communications director.Guthrie said evacuees coming in their own cars are asked to go directly to the reception center so they may keep up with the number of people they are receiving and to avoid having an overflow at some shelters.
Before leaving Beaumont, evacuees have already been entered into an intricate computer system that will keep track of them once they make it to Tyler.
“They already have a bracelet with a bar code,” Captain Akin said. “They will walk through the scanner and it automatically loads into the computers. We have a list of where they need to go.”This system ensures that families can locate each other when coming to East Texas, Akin said.
“With Hurricane Katrina, we had no system. Families were calling wanting to know where family members were and we had no way of finding out. This way, we have a better way of tracking where people are going.”Stan Lewis, with the Salvation Army, said they will provide food and water to evacuees at the reception center through Monday, before heading south. He said 150 volunteers will load up on about 20 disaster vehicles but he is unsure what city they will be deployed to.
“We could go to New Orleans or it could be Port Arthur,” Lewis said. “Until then, we are going to try to help these people.”Bob Frazier, 66, was among one of the first evacuees off of the first bus at the reception center. Although anxious about the result of Hurricane Gustav, he said he was a little more at ease with the way state and local officials are handling the evacuation process. During Hurricane Rita, Frazier said he spent three days on a bus without food, water and bathroom breaks.
“Today we had plenty of water and it only took us about four hours to get here,” Frazier said as he snacked on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich provided by Salvation Army volunteers. “It wasn’t bad at all. I knew it would be different this time.”Jason Hollowell, a Tyler Junior College paramedic student, volunteered at the center and said he was prepared to be there all night, bringing an extra change of clothes. He said he helped with relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina and he is also pleased that things are much more organized this time.
“It’s a week before and it’s already set up,” Hollowell said. “There are things we are doing in anticipation and preparation. With Katrina, the storm hit and we walked outside and there were 45 buses. We learned a lot about what not to do from three years ago.”With the influx of evacuees, Chief Schlottach noted that East Texas drivers are to use precaution when traveling roads and highways.
“Traffic will be very congested because there are a great number of self evacuees coming up the highway,” he said. “I just advise citizens to bear with it because their fellow Texans are trying to get out of harm’s way.”Chief Schottach said those interested in volunteering can call 211 to find out ways to help with relief efforts.
With the signing of the declaration and activation of the emergency management plan, Mayor Bass said the city will now be eligible to request reimbursement from federal funds for providing shelter and relief to evacuees.
The state of Texas employed EPC Gen 2 tags, GPS and bar-coding to monitor the process of evacuating individuals—particular the elderly, sick or disabled—who lacked access to transportation during the storms.
November 12, 2008
Living through a hurricane is a traumatic, emotionally taxing experience for anyone—especially those who lack the means to flee from its path. This became glaringly obvious as the world watched and read about the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. And it was one of the main drivers behind an emergency program spearheaded in 2006 by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
The system employs a combination of RFID, GPS and bar-code technology, and was designed to simplify and automate the evacuation process of elderly, sick, disabled or able-bodied individuals or families who have no access to transportation during an emergency (see An RFID Port in a Storm). This summer, the system was deployed to help the state's Division of Emergency Management evacuate 34,800 residents during Hurricanes Gustav and Ike.
|A portable RFID portal captures the ID number of the wristband tag of an evacuee fleeing Hurricane Ike.|
"From the standpoint of what the state was looking to achieve, the system was very successful," says Kenneth Ratton, cofounder of Radiant RFID, which provides the RFID hardware and software for the system.During Hurricane Katrina, many Louisiana residents were transported—often without any identification—to Texas. But then, close on Katrina's heels, Hurricane Rita bore down on regions of that state, requiring the movement of many Katrina evacuees once more. By that point, however, keeping tabs on who was being evacuated, and to where, was so complex that in many cases, emergency personnel effectively lost track of evacuees for days—particularly special-needs individuals who were disabled or sick and, thus, could not easily provide their identifies to the medical teams.
"Not all people think about, or have the capacity to call, their next of kin to let them know where they are going during an evacuation," Rattan says. "During Hurricane Rita, it sometimes took [relatives] weeks to find [evacuated] people. In Gustav, it took minutes or seconds to find people [who were being tracked with the new system]."The system was tested during simulated emergencies, then deployed in preparation for Hurricane Dean during 2007, but that storm ultimately changed course, resulting in no evacuations in the Gulf Coast cities where the system would have been employed. Consequently, Hurricanes Gustav and Ike provided the first real test of the system, which includes wristbands containing an Alien Technology Higgs 2 EPC Gen 2 inlay and a custom antenna codeveloped by Radiant and RCD Technology. Printed in bar-code form on each wristband is the same ID number encoded to the RFID inlay. Radiant also created custom RFID portals designed to be easily transported and set up at evacuation centers. The portals, which contain Motorola interrogators, capture the ID number encoded to each wristband as evacuees pass through them on foot, in wheelchairs or on gurneys.
The evacuees meet at central locations known as embarkation centers, located in towns and cities. At these centers, each adult and child is issued a wristband—and pets receive special tags affixed to their collars. The IDs issued to the pets and children are associated in a back-end database with those of their guardians.
According to Rattan, the manner in which the system has thus far been deployed is to use bar-code scanners to read the wristbands of evacuees boarding buses at the various embarkation centers. Because emergency personnel already need to interview each evacuee before they board, in order to assign each a wristband and ID, it's a simple process to use a handheld bar-code scanner to read the ID at the same time, rather than send that individual through an RFID reader portal to log him or her into the system. But during future evacuations, emergency personnel will likely use RFID to log them in instead of scanning the bar code, so as to speed the process and ensure each wristband is read.
The buses are equipped with GPS receivers used to track the whereabouts of the vehicles, and the evacuees inside them, until they arrive at the central evacuation hub, or reception point. Here, RFID portals are stationed to read the tags as the evacuees exit the bus, so that the master database shows who has disembarked at that site. Based on their individual condition and needs, evacuees are then assigned a final location, which might be in a shelter at this reception point, or at another location. Those bound for a different location are again tracked on a second bus, and at their final destination.
Hurricane Ike came very quickly after Gustav, Rattan says, presenting several logistical challenges.
"We were coming back from Gustav when we learned that Ike was on the way," he explains. "We evacuated Corpus Christi, and the storm chased us up the coast until we came so close to the evacuation deadline that we had to stop issuing the wristband at the embarkation points and instead did so at the reception points, assigning wristbands to people as they arrived there."The tracking process is repeated after the storm as evacuees are returned to their original embarkation center.
Using RFID to identify evacuees, Rattan says, has allowed emergency personnel to collect data more quickly and accurately than relying on bar-code scans, because the latter is hampered by human errors (personnel occasionally miss a wristband). What's more, using a bar-code scanner requires that an evacuee present his or her wrist. This takes time and can be difficult for people who don't understand verbal instructions, or who are wearing layers of clothing over the wristband.
Radiant is subcontracted for the emergency system by AT&T, which Texas contracted to deploy the system, and whose cellular data and voice network is used as the telecommunications platform to link the RFID readers to the back-end database. According to Rattan, Radiant is also discussing the value of the RFID wristband system with other state and city governments looking for ways to improve their emergency response operations.
"We are hitting every state that will listen to us," he asserts.
- Hospital Evacuation
- Regional Evacuation
- Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Patient Tracking
- Large Event Management
- Public Health and Pandemic Response
- Daily Patient Tracking
October 7, 2009
I called them, 888-367-9783, and the sales woman stated unequivocally that they do not manufacture bracelets, bar codes, or any implants for humans or pets. It is a proprietary computer programs that can be used as a real time communication tool that hospitals and medical personnel can use in normal or abnormal situations to keep track of patients. Events like 9-11 that sent people scattering throughout New York with no central data base to find loved ones.
EM Track has been used at President Obama’s Pre-Inauguration events, the Presidential Inauguration, and the Inaugural parade…
Last time I was at the hospital it was for a mere stress test. Thx very much for asking- I am perfect. I was issued a bar coded bracelet identifying at minimum who I was, and what I was there for. Betcha the technology was from EMSystems- and it worked, I didn’t get lost and no one amputated my legs or arms unnecessarily. I got the bill and so did my private insurer thanks in part to that bracelet that kept track of my tests and my identity.Serving more than 70% of the nation’s population, EMSystems’ solutions are used by thousands of hospitals, EMS providers, fire departments, law enforcement agencies and state/local departments of health. These comprehensive solutions improve real-time communications, multi-media alerting, inventory resource allocation, volunteer registry management, patient and evacuee tracking, and pre-hospital patient care records to enhance emergency preparedness and response to medical emergencies, mass casualty events, and public health incidents. http://www.emsystem.com/info/pdf/Press_Release_Inauguration.pdf
Look at the fiasco Katrina caused in New Orleans…. http://www.khou.com/news/local/stories/khou080402_tj_hurricanebraclets.26115833.html Ninety-seven hospitals in our area and all the big evacuation hubs would be able to check those bar codes and then put names and locations on a Web site. The hope is that the bracelets would replace the kind of hand-written signs that were common in the Astrodome and other evacuation centers during the Katrina crisis
http://disc.yourwebapps.com/discussion.cgi?disc=234999;article=2851; Author Henk Ruyssenaars from The Netherlands, asks:
“Now, why don’t more people connect the very visible dots, like with those people controlling bracelets again, and understand that they are ‘living’ in one huge global corporation? That it all really is a Matrix, an ‘Animal Farm’ as George Orwell wrote?
…“But of course this is part of the whole also the US wrecking system: EMSystems, LLC is “In partnership with CapitalIQ, a division of Standard & Poor’s: Neal Goldman was founder and CEO of Capital IQ, a provider of corporate data on public and private companies for investment bankers, which he sold to McGraw Hill Cos.Inc. for more than $200 million.McGraw has made Capital IQ the software underlying its Standard & Poors corporate data business.”I am not much on jewelry- especially bracelets. I wear my wedding band, but come to think of it- maybe my spouse has an implant or some secret chip in it as my family seems to know where I am at all times. If I take it off I’d be dead meat. Surely if the government wanted to, it could follow my sorry a$$ to the gas station, bank and post office. Whip dee do.
If you don’t think you don’t leave a paper trail of every health treatment you’ve ever had, just ask your health insurance agency, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, etc.
After September 11, 2001, Congress enacted the Homeland Security Act of 2002 that reorganized and gave expanded powers to the Executive Branch of the federal government, including creating the Department of Homeland Security. The Federal Emergency Mangagement Agency (FEMA) was moved to the new Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Homeland Security, which has more than 200,000 employees and it the third largest department of the federal government, works closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to respond to declared public health emergencies.
The U.S. Congress passed the Project Bioshield Act of 2004 and the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act of 2006 to create and fund a partnership between private pharmaceutical companies and the Department of Health and Human Services to develop bioterrorism and pandemic influenza vaccines that could be used by Americans whenever the U.S. Secretary of Health declares a public health emergency. The National Biodefense Science Board and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) also were created under the DHHS Office for Preparedness and Response.
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) included in Bioshield legislation passed by Congress allows experimental vaccines and other pharmaceutical products to be fast tracked and given to citizens. Congress gave full liability protection to drug companies making experimental vaccines and drugs and to persons enforcing the use of or administering experimental vaccines and drugs that may injure or kill civilians during a declared public health emergency.
The National Vaccine Information Center opposed certain provisions in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Bioshield legislation that was passed by Congress and called for responsible congressional oversight on expanded authority granted to federal public health officials by Congress since 9-11.
States Gave More Power to Public Health Officials After 9-11
In addition, since September 11, 2001, most state legislatures have approved the re-writing of state public health laws to conform with provisions outlined in the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA).
The MSEHPA is model state legislation that was funded, developed and promoted by Centers for Disease Control officials and others advocating granting expanded police powers to state public health officials to enforce quarantine and mandatory use of vaccines during public health emergencies declared by state Governors.
The National Vaccine Information Center opposed granting state public health officials expanded police powers using the MSEHPA model that was advocated by state and federal health officials following 9-11.
U.S. Public Health Service and U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) is one of seven uniformed services of the U.S. government. Five of these are armed services (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard) and two are unarmed uniformed services: Public Health Service and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps.
The armed forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps operate under the Department of Defense and the authority of the U.S. President. Since passage of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, federal armed forces have traditionally been restricted from being used to enforce civilian law within U.S. territories. However, the armed forces of the U.S. Coast Guard are exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act.
In 2003, the U.S. Coast Guard was moved from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security. During times of peace, the Coast Guard now reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security and, during times of war, the Coast Guard operates under the Department of the Navy. The armed forces of the Coast Guard can be used to enforce “applicable U.S. laws” or any other law enforcement duty directed by the Director of Homeland Security, including enforcing public health emergency laws.
The National Guard
Under the U.S. Constitution and historically, the National Guard has been a part-time law enforcement militia under the control of the Governors of each state. During peacetime, National Guard units can be called upon by Governors to respond to emergencies which occur within state borders. During times of war, the U.S. President can deploy state-based National Guard troops to fight in a war, as has been done during recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although the Posse Comitatus Act of 1978 restricts use of U.S. troops on American soil by the Executive Branch of the federal government for civilian law enforcement purposes, the Insurrection Act of 1807 allows one exception: the President can use armed U.S. military troops such as the Coast Guard or National Guard to put down rebellions or enforce constitutional rights if state authorities cannot do it.
In the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill, over the objections from all 50 state Governors, the U.S. Congress modified the Insurrection Act of 1807 to allow the President to federalize National Guard troops and use them in the states to respond to a “natural disaster, epidemic or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident” when the President determines that “authorities of the state or possession are incapable of maintaining public order.”
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense, which works with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, can be called on by the U.S. President to assist in responding to a declared public health emergency, including an outbreak of pandemic influenza.
The local police in cities, counties and states could be called upon by public health authorities and the Governors to assist National Guard troops in enforcing quarantine or maintaining public order and distributing pandemic influenza vaccines and other countermeasures during an influenza pandemic.
The role that local police could play in pandemic influenza response measures will vary from state to state depending upon the public health emergency laws in each state...
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) grants public health powers to state and local public health authorities to ensure a strong, effective, and timely planning, prevention, and response mechanisms to public health emergencies (including bioterrorism) while also respecting individual rights. Developed by the Centers in collaboration with a host of partners, MSEHPA has been used by state and local legislators and health officials nationwide as a guide for considering public health law reform in their states. Since its completion on December 21, 2001, the Centers has been tracking state legislative activity related to MSEHPA. As of July 15, 2006, the Act has been introduced in whole or part through 171 bills or resolutions in forty-four (44) states, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariannas Islands. Thirty-eight (38) states [AL, AK, AZ, CA, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, LA, ME, MD, MN, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NC, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WI, and WY] and DC have passed a total of 66 bills or resolutions that include provisions from or closely related to the Act. The extent to which the Act's provisions are incorporated into each state's laws varies. - Centers for Law and the Public's Health
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act (MSEHPA) is a proposal by the Center for Law and the Public's Health, a joint venture of Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, to aid America's state legislatures in revising their public health laws to, as proponents put it, more effectively control epidemics and respond to bioterrorism.
The proposal has been criticized for what has been called a "sweeping reach" that could be abused by governments.
The initial proposal was drafted at the behest of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Lawrence O. Gostin, an attorney at the Washington, D.C., center, during the anthrax letter scare in fall 2001. It took him "three to four weeks' to do so, he said.
The draft, dated October 23, 2001, was produced by Gostin without consultation from any of the various groups he listed on the title page as being "in collaboration with", namely, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Association of Attorneys General, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, and the National Association of City and County Health Officials. The claim of collaboration was an error, and a later version, dated December 21, 2001, made the revised statement on its title page that the law was a "draft for discussion … to assist" those organizations.
The model act subsequently came under the aegis of the Turning Point National Collaborative on Public Health Statute Modernization to revise state health laws. On September 16, 2003, a third draft of the law was issued. On June 15, 2004 it won the 2004 Distinguished Achievement in Public Health Law Award from the Public Health Law Association.
The model act would revise some subjects covered by existing public health laws, such as reporting of contagious diseases, disposal of the dead, and quarantines.
Critics said, however, that it did so in such sweeping language that it "could turn governors into dictators" as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons claimed, and Phyllis Schlafly called it "an unprecedented assault on the constitutional rights of the American people."
The very definition of a "public health emergency," which triggered the law's provisions, critics said, was so broad that an influenza outbreak could qualify as an "emergency". The LAMBDA Legal Defense and Education Fund feared it could lead to imprisonment of those with AIDS.
But attorneys Jason W. Sapsin, Stephen P. Teret; Scott Burris, Julie Samia Mair, James G. Hodge Jr, Jon S. Vernick and Gostin wrote in an article in the August 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Assn., that
"Provided those powers are bounded by legal safeguards, individuals should be required to yield some of their autonomy, liberty, or property to protect the health and security of the community."This is one of the classic uses of the police power of a sovereign state.
George J. Annas, a lawyer at the Boston University School of Public Health and the MSEHPA's leading critic, said:
"The Model Act seems to have been drafted for a different age; it is more appropriate for the United States of the 19th century than for the United States of the 21st century."Annas said the law was unconstitutional.
As of April 15, 2006, 32 states have introduced 92 legislative bills or resolutions that are based upon or feature provisions related to the articles or sections of the act. Of these bills, 37 had passed.
By Ed Encho, OpEdNews.com
November 14, 2010
This week's edition of Ventura's show, the fourth installment of the second season (previous installments were on Plum Island, Area 51 and Wall Street) got right into the most obvious and dangerous issue of the transformation of America into a police state.
The process has been ongoing, when you really bother to think about the ongoing and incessant indoctrination to worship the law—through vicarious exposure to head bashing and door kicking police and paramilitary television shows, movies and even video games, and combined with the ginned-up hysterics of the "terrorist" plot du jour, most recently the alleged print cartridge bomb plot delivered with Bushian timing a few days prior to the latest elections or more appropriately, the latest churn of our political cesspool—Americans are conditioned like lab rats to surrender, grovel and submit.
Not that the fear-mongering is any sort of recent phenomena. Our entire national history (or at least our entire history since Kennedy's head was blown off by rogue elements of the shadow government) has this malevolent and poisonous undercurrent snaking through it.
A few years back I stumbled across an interesting little book on the entertainment industrial complex and the necessity to promulgate the narrative of FEAR in order to justify American imperialism. It was called American Terminator: Myths, Movies and Global Power from which I am going to excerpt the following:
Fear is essential: "Be afraid, be very afraid' is the American condition. To live in America is to be beset by fear, anxiety and insecurity, to be surrounded by potential harm, enemies and evil intent. And the wolf is always at the door. A nation of optimists is the more usual self-representation of America. Repetitively, Hollywood films conclude with a resolution, a rescue, and the winners ride off into the sunset or snuggle into a warm embrace that reassures us they will live happily ever after.True to the nth degree. Fear is the coin of the realm in the new American century. The land of the free and the home of the brave is no longer the brand associated with life in Der Homeland. Fear of joblessness, fear of homelessness, fear of that secret Muslim in the White House and his militant Negro army ACORN cutting a brutal swarth of rape and pillage through lily-white Murka as announced by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the rest of the imperial propagandists and rabble rousers...and most importantly fear of the dread Islamofascism (a masterful piece of marketing churned out of one of those neocon think tanks) and the swarthy Arab terrorists.
The formulaic ending, however, is necessary because the plot, the narrative, is founded on and propelled by fear and anxiety, the dark essential underpinning of the American condition. For America fear is an original, natural condition, the inescapable birth rite (and birth right), the inherited condition of a fragile existence that must constantly be defended. Without fear there is no America; constant recourse to fear is the motivating force that determines its actions and reactions.
Never mind that it's all bullshit, contrived to justify illegal wars for resources, oligarchical plundering and the enablement of the corporate vampires and Wall Street parasites to use their corrupt government subsidized schemes to enslave the sheep and to get them to not only tolerate but to enjoy their enslavement. It is a brilliant and long term implementation of a fascist state across the fruited plain, conceived by traitors and thieves and carried out with stunning precision by the CIA, the Military Industrial Complex and their profiteering partners. As Aldous Huxley described this Brave New World in this speech given at Berkeley:
"And it seems to me perfectly in the cards that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda, brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods."Sound familiar? Prozac, Viagra and their counterparts, 46 inch plasma televisions, bread and circuses, junk food, electronic gadgetry, porn on demand and, most importantly, Dancing With The Stars....praise the lord, pass the remote and please line up for your full body cavity search before entering those wonderful naked body scanners brought to you by another one of our fine Israeli 'friends', dual citizen Michael Chertoff and the Chertoff Group—another insider using his government connections to peddle the wares of another one of the corporate behemoths cashing in big on the FEAR that is now a by God American birthright. Hell, the bastards were already cashing in while the crisp Fall breezes in lower Manhattan were still carrying the stench of rotting flesh back in 2001.
But I digress...
Been away for awhile, so just stretching my legs with that little rant. What I really wanted to talk about was the Ventura episode. While I have not seen every episode of Conspiracy Theory, those that I have watched in their entirety have been powerful (although a bit silly with the team angle, but you have to have a hook to draw in viewers, I guess) but none quite so as the most recent installment.
It starts out with a conversation with a young woman named Catherine Bleish whose work on behalf of the Ron Paul campaign landed her on one of those growing government watchlists that anyone who is reading this is no doubt on as well. When she dared to pursue the reasoning for being classified as a potential enemy of the state for exercising her first amendment rights, she quickly discovered that such activity can get one in big trouble in the land where Habeas Corpus and the Posse Comitatus Act have already been dismantled, and the Obama administration has not only escalated the programs of Bush-Cheney (and further back to Reagan and Ollie North) but have forever legitimized them by failing to enforce the Constitution. The wars continue and Gitmo remains open, the torturers continue their sadistic perversions, and the police state infrastructure continues unabated despite the forgotten campaign rhetoric of our weasel in chief; and soon it will be handed off to the next puppet who will undoubtedly find a reason to take it to the next level.
The wettest of dreams of this now despotic state has always been rooted in total control, ubiquitous and ever present surveillance and, if necessary, martial law. Gun running, drug dealing uber-patriot Ollie North dabbled in the rounding up of dissidents with the REX 84 program that would have enabled FEMA to pick up and intern American citizens. There was also Garden Plot, Cable Splicer and myriad other anti-American schemes to do away with meddlesome citizens who may not be down with the scum that have hijacked the country and can no longer be troubled with anything as quaint as constitutional law or democracy.
This much is documented, but never has any of it been as dangerous, or as ready to be rolled out, as what is currently in process. The police state conspiracy as examined in the Ventura program looks into the metastasizing growth of Fusion Centers, command and control centers coordinating local law enforcement, military, private intelligence corporations and the Gestapo Department of Homeland Security.
These well-funded high tech and unaccountable spy shops were an outgrowth of 9/11 (what isn't?) and with the American Reichstag Fire as justification to combine state, local and federal agencies ostensibly to prevent terrorism. What they are in actuality are antennae of the tyrannical state using data-mining, profiling and sophisticated pattern analysis to keep tabs on potential threats to the power of a system run amok, as capitalism continues into the final states, come home to roost and now in full cannibalistic mode.
It is only a matter of time until the inevitable economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest similar to what is occurring in Europe. Now in full recognition that the vast majority of sloth-like, dumbed-down and wretched-cowardly Americans will remain parked in front of the flat-screened electronic living room gods that they worship, it scares the bejesus out of the establishment that the 1-2 percenters who still give a damn may revolt. What better way to keep tabs on them than by Big Brother style surveillance?
There are at least 72 of these fusion centers in operation at this time, and that number will continue to grow as the day of judgment gets closer.
That a woman like Catherine Bleish can be sucked into this monstrous and oppressive system for nothing more than political activism should illustrate the true nature of the bottomless rabbit hole that our country has been dragged into.
Ventura's show uses imagery of the co-opted teabaggers waving their Gadsden flags as visuals of the sort who are subject to being guilty without the pretenses of a trial as well as singles out Obama's diabolical adviser Cass Sunstein (he of the now infamous Conspiracy Theories white paper)—this needs some context.
During the Bushreich, protesters were routinely rounded up and herded into "free speech zones" (I seem to remember when the entire f*cking country was a free speech zone), interned in temporary prisons during the virulently fascist 2004 Republican National Convention in New York or the 2003 WTO protest and crushing of dissent in Jeb Bush's Miami; not to mention the transformation of Pittsburgh into a martial law zone during the 2009 G20 meetings, giving a new meaning to the term Iron City.What is and has been occurring in America to political dissent is an abomination and is not limited to anything out of the bogus left-right paradigm—it is directed at ALL who dare to question the establishment. In fact if anything, the Tea Party—being a plutocratic-backed hijacking of the original Ron Paul libertarian-based movement—represents not so much a threat to the established order but rather useful idiots and shocktroops to defend it.Ventura goes on to team with Alex Jones of Infowars.com (a man who I have mixed feelings about regarding some of the material that he covers) to actually visit some of the detention facilities or U.S. concentration camps that are currently operational. That such facilities are so often dismissed out of hand as being only the delusions of the paranoid fringe is indicative of the deep denial that Americans hide in—as though it were a cocoon and the raw cynicism of the politicians who are supposed to work for them, but instead are fully complicit in the construction of these camps/detention facilities (there is a real hoot in the program where a P.R. woman at one of the facilities states that it is a residential center).
Not only are these camps documented in mainstream news on occasion, like the 2006 New York Times story on the $385 million in taxpayer money given to Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention centers. Americans are not only funding their own enslavement but seem to be incapable of understanding that it could happen here.
If these facilities aren't enough to prove what is coming then just google Manzanar. To his credit Ventura addresses the FDR order to intern over 100,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. This is one of the most shameful stories in our national history, yet it is largely unknown, another of the great sins of omission when it comes to teaching America's real history.
The show also draws attention to the Obama administration's recent executive order that establishes the Council of Governors, 10 executives who will rule over 10 regions in the always vaguely worded event of the "national emergency" (previous executive orders, such as Bush's NSPD-51, all laid down the legal parameters for the declaration of martial law). Interestingly the 10 zones overlap nicely with FEMA's.
It is late in the episode where Jones and Ventura film a huge repository of plastic coffins/graveliners in Madison, Georgia and speculate on whether there will be a controlled release of a biological warfare agent or some other form of virus to create a pandemic that would trigger the roundups and the filling of the camps with those who try to fight it and don't end up in one of the plastic coffins.
I have always been a bit skeptical of this but have read a good deal of material that offers a glimpse into the sort of thinking that drives the pigs who run this system; and despite my skepticism that they would actually trigger this sort of event, it does fit within their worldview. When thugs and servants of the elite, like war criminal Henry Kissinger, can come out and refer to people as "useless eaters," it is obvious that there are only two lifeforms in America, vampires and cattle.
Being aware of the military and intelligence experimentations with biowarfare and the rumored but not to this point proven existence of race specific bioweapons, it would be foolish and naive to not believe that those who are able to conceive of this stuff don't have the stones to use it to further their agendas. There was much hysteria over last year's H1N1/Swine Flu potentially being this event but, rather, it was in all likelihood the result of greed with Big Pharma rushing to sell as much untested vaccine to a terrified public as they possibly could to juice their stock prices.
Again, I am skeptical that the elite would actually carry out such a thing; but given the real problems of overpopulation and the need for a big culling, don't reject it as paranoia. It would likely be blamed on Iran and then used like 9/11 was to start another war.
Finally, the best part of the show was when Ventura confronted Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen on the existence of the camps. Cohen is a perfect example of the corruption and amoral elitism that has taken control of our government. Initially, the smarmy little bastard is dismissive and mocking, talking about green martians, paranoia and other talking points used to equate honest questioning with the real black helicopter types (even they don't seem to be quite as crazy anymore in this terminally diseased society) and UFO freaks. But when Ventura had a copy of the bill, H.R. 645: National Emergency Centers Establishment Act that Cohen co-sponsored, the condescension quickly evaporated and this cringing little rat gave up the ghost, being reduced to a quivering blog of jelly when confronted with the truth, and disingenuously claiming that he didn't know what was in the bill. Pretty ironic that Cohen is Jewish—it would seem that of all people that he should have an appreciation of the dangers of allowing such facilities to be built by an out-of-control regime under the pretense of security.
That this vile piece of fascist legislation was produced by the so-called liberal Democratic Congress is just another indictment of our thoroughly rancid and compromised two-party game of three-card Monte that passes for American democracy.
The trap my friends has already been built and is rapidly closing; have no illusions that you will be able to resist when the orders are given to pick up the future residents of the camps. There is no match for raw power and serious military weaponry. The only hope, given that it is not too late already, is to expose the bastards. Ventura has done a damned good job of it, but it's not enough.
US DOT Federal Highway Administration
Routes to Effective Evacuation Planning Primer Series
Chapter 5: Transportation Needs During Activation and Operations
Glossary Terms Used in this Chapter:
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
Global Positioning System (GPS)
Highway Advisory Radio (HAR)
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
Traffic Control Devices
Traffic Management Centers (TMCs)
Variable Message Sign (VMS)
Successful transportation during evacuations depends on careful planning. This is important when evacuating special needs populations, as the type of vehicle provided can expedite or complicate evacuations. Collaboration between providing agencies is critical, as response vehicles may be mustered from a variety of public and private agencies. Communication serves a critical role in successfully transporting special needs populations, including communication between drivers and dispatchers, between responding agencies, and between the public and responders. Use of intelligent transportation systems (ITS), where available, may enhance response as well. ITS can provide critical real-time information to evacuees and those transporting them, which may reduce the amount of time spent in evacuation operations.
Mobilizing Vehicles and Vehicle OperatorsResponse plans at agency and jurisdictional levels should include clearly stated procedures for mobilizing vehicles and vehicle operators. Mobilization should occur using pre-planned lists of agencies, drivers, vehicles, and other personnel and resources required for special needs evacuation operations.
Providing agencies or companies and vehicle operators should be notified as far in advance as possible to ensure they will secure their homes and families prior to service in the emergency event. They also need time to prepare people with special needs and to arrange shift assignments and alternates with their staff.
It has been reported that transportation personnel had a difficult time volunteering to drive buses because family evacuations were not provided for; prior planning was not fully considered; and in some cases, essential personnel were not clearly identified. Two weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Mayor Nagin stated on Meet the Press:
“Sure, there was [sic] lots of buses out there, but guess what? You can’t find drivers that would stay behind with a Category 5 hurricane, you know, pending down on New Orleans. We barely got enough drivers to move people on Sunday, or Saturday and Sunday, to move them to the Superdome. We barely had enough drivers for that. So sure, we had the assets, but the drivers just weren’t available.”
Staging areas with clear access and egress for staff and vehicles should be designated in plans. However, if they are not viable at the time of the operation, alternatives should be considered. Arrangements for food, water, or EMS should include directed delivery to the staging area. Enough supplies should be ordered to accommodate the needs of drivers, mechanics, and other staff. Additional staff required for evacuation assistance should be simultaneously mobilized and assigned to drivers and vehicles.
Staging area staff will brief transportation operators and assistants on routes, shelter locations, anticipated traveling conditions, and the needs of evacuees (including the presence of service animals or specialized or heavy equipment) so that each route is run as efficiently as possible.
Dispatch and Tracking
Mobilization for rapid-onset events may occur under unfavorable conditions. As a result, communications with operators, dispatchers, and evacuees is needed to ensure that passengers are prepared and waiting in appropriate locations and that operators are fully aware of their assigned routes. Passengers will need to know information such as pick-up locations, what they need to bring with them, and accurate information on the disaster. For more information on communicating with special needs passengers, see Chapter 4.
An essential line of communication is between dispatchers and drivers. Dispatchers should keep track of the following, in addition to other needs as determined through local planning:
- Driver names and contact information
- Vehicle information (owner, number, license plate, type, capacity, etc.) and assignment
- Route maps
- Locations of fuel and emergency vehicle repair facilities
- Contact information for interpreters and translators
- Evacuee information (where available through evacuation registries)
- Contact information for liaisons and other people and agencies that will provide critical, up-to-date information
- Names and contact information for people assisting with evacuations (e.g., mechanics, personnel at fuel depots, staging area workers, assistants traveling with vehicles).
The State of Texas has created a Special Needs Evacuation Tracking System (SNETS), which is a statewide citizen evacuation system using a variety of radio frequency identification (RFID) systems, wireless, and other data technologies to provide real-time information on evacuees to the Governor's Division of Emergency Management (GDEM).
Passenger manifests should also be provided to the dispatcher or another entity to enable immediate tracking of those being evacuated. In this way, the driver will not be the sole holder of the manifest, allowing for back-up information. Although it is important to recognize that passenger manifests are resources, it is also important to be aware of confidentiality issues and sensitivity regarding the information in the manifest. Passenger manifest sharing should be done when necessary and as appropriate between agencies.
FEMA is developing a National Mass Evacuation Tracking System (NMETS). NMETS is an open source database system designed to track the movement of people, pets, bags, and medical equipment. The single national system can assist state and local agencies in tracking the movement of evacuees and provides additional modules to support congregate care facility management. The system requires enrollment of the evacuee prior to transport. The evacuee receives a bar code bracelet that can link him/her to traveling companions, service animals, household pets, and medical equipment.
In the event of an evacuation, Texas evacuees will be registered on site and issued a bar-coded RFID wristband. An evacuee’s wristband will be scanned by the GDEM with a wireless device as the evacuee boards a state-contracted vehicle, and the information will be added to the bus boarding log. Evacuee intake information and location will then be sent wirelessly to the data center at the University of Texas Center for Space Research. Vehicles will be equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS) to track the vehicle’s location along the evacuation route. Upon reaching the destination, the SNETS will update evacuee profiles and provide real-time information. This will enable the state to respond to inquiries from the public about evacuated family members and reunite them.
Operations: Evacuation and Re-entry
Evacuation and re-entry operations will be similar in the way drivers and passengers are mobilized and coordinated. Drivers and dispatchers must be aware at all times of roadway closures and restrictions resulting from hazardous conditions and changes to shelter locations and capacities. This can be addressed through normal agency procedures or via a designated liaison to dispatchers to provide current and timely information. On the federal level, ESF-1 handles this coordination.
Re-entry will include the clearance of vehicles into areas as allowed by law enforcement. Dispatchers must maintain current roadway conditions, weather updates, and/or other emergency information to prevent the return of people into hazardous areas. Particular attention should be given to electric and other utility outages, as persons with disabilities may be dependent on those services for daily medical needs. This information should be provided through normal channels as determined by local emergency management structures. See Chapter 8 for further information on re-entry.
Field checklists placed in each vehicle or at staging areas can be used to guide the evacuation and re-entry processes, particularly when new operators are being used or when plans are being executed for the first time. Checklist items may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Driver identification (ID)—name, contact information—and credentials
- Location of staging areas
- Location of vehicle keys and back-up keys
- Emergency contact for drivers and format (e.g., Citizens’ Band [CB] radio, push-to-talk, emergency frequencies for radio communication)
- Dispatch contact and alternate
- Route maps and alternate route maps
- Lists of evacuees per vehicle with contact information
- Shelter locations and types (e.g., general population, special medical needs, pet-friendly)
- Specialized equipment required (e.g., wheelchair lifts, foreign language information)
- Fuel locations
- Instructions for breaks and shift changes
- Local information sources (e.g., 211/511 systems, highway advisory radio [HAR])
- Point-of-contact for rumor control (to verify road closures or shelter changes that may be announced by the media or purported by evacuees)
- Worksheets for trip times (departure and arrival); mileage; passenger names and counts; driver name, company, and contact information; staging areas; pick-up points; and shelter locations. Detailed records must be kept for any potential cost reimbursement.
Using ITS in Evacuations of People with Special Needs
ITS includes vehicle and infrastructure technologies used to collect and distribute transportation-related information among vehicles, the roadway, the environment, transportation system managers, and system users. Generally, ITS applications are not usually discussed in emergency management plans. Despite this lack of focus, these tools can aid system administrators, emergency personnel, and evacuees during a mass evacuation.
In planning for disasters and evacuations, ITS can be used to identify transportation system vulnerabilities and aid in the development of countermeasure strategies. During an evacuation, officials can use ITS to collect real-time data related to current roadway conditions and to monitor evacuation progress. These applications may be used to facilitate communication and direct resources and to aid in evacuations by timing traffic signals, approximating travel times, and providing detour information. To maximize the benefit of ITS tools, the system should be extended throughout the evacuation route to the sheltering point. ITS can also be useful in assisting re-entry after a disaster to help guide returnees home via the best route.
While ITS applications can be useful under certain conditions for evacuation planning and execution, agencies incorporating ITS into an evacuation plan must be aware of the limitations of ITS. Many technologically advanced ITS applications depend on electricity and wired communications. Natural disasters have the potential to leave ITS tools inoperable due to power outages, communications disruptions, and even damage to the equipment. Installing applications with independent power sources such as solar cells and wireless communications such as Wi-Fi or WiMax can improve system performance during a disaster but cannot ensure system operability.
The following describes some of the most common ITS tools and their use in aiding those evacuating people with special needs.
Traffic Management Centers (TMCs) and EOC
TMCs can serve as the transportation-specific operations center for all incoming ITS information. The EOC or even the staging area can use this information to facilitate communication with emergency workers. Sometimes, the two centers are located within the same facility. However, most often, these facilities are linked electronically or through transportation liaisons to the EOC who are familiar with how to obtain, analyze, and interpret transportation data. Transportation agency and emergency personnel at the TMC or EOC may use data collected at TMCs to make real-time evacuation decisions and monitor progress, including decisions that will aid in the evacuation of elderly and disabled persons. Information from cameras and traffic counters monitoring roads around hospitals, nursing homes, and other such facilities can be used to better route vehicles providing evacuation assistance to these facilities. These applications can help determine where incident response and removal may be required and provide overall travel time information. The TMC’s effective management of available capacity reduces the potential for operational failures, which can cause gridlock, long hours of delays, vehicle breakdowns, frustrated travelers, and significant risks to the evacuees.
On August 1, 2007, a bridge collapsed on I-35W in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and there was an interest in how the city’s Wi-Fi network could be used to support the emergency response. According to w2i Digital Cities’ James Farstad, “Immediately following the collapse, city emergency and community communications centers were flooded with incoming alerts from witnesses to the tragedy. In the 90 minutes following the event, the city’s 911 Emergency Communications Center handled more than 450 calls. Its 311 Non-emergency Communications Center logged over 600 contacts. Cellular carrier systems in the region were overloaded within 30 minutes.” Numerous other potential applications of the wireless network were identified including “opening an alternate path to electronic communication and information for city personnel; extending the Wi-Fi network infrastructure to fully blanket the scene of the bridge collapse for emergency personnel on-site connectivity; implementing live multiple perspective camera coverage of the scene for EOC and Command Post uses; and providing community links to City of Minneapolis resources, Hospital Emergency Coordination Units, State of Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic routing information, Red Cross Blood Bank collection points, and local and national news outlets.”
Cameras/Closed Circuit Television
Strategically placed cameras within the transportation infrastructure can be used to broadcast CCTV to monitor traffic speed and flow, which can be used to improve evacuation management.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) provides an advantage over loop detectors by allowing officials direct visual confirmation of traffic and weather conditions, sometimes including a multiple perspective camera view of major traffic arteries for TMC staff. This technology can assist transportation personnel in closing roads determined to be unsafe and developing appropriate rerouting. Such information could be transmitted to those vehicles transporting evacuees with special needs to reduce delays and the time the evacuees spend being transported to a shelter, alternate nursing home location, or other such facility. CCTV also provides a secure means of linking the centers of operation during an evacuation including the TMC, EOC, public safety, fire department, and shelters. When connected to a wireless network and operating under their own power, these CCTV signals open a path to electronic communication and information for evacuation managers even if other municipal functions shut down.
Variable Message Signs (VMS)
VMS, also known as changeable message signs (CMS) or dynamic message signs (DMS), are electronic road signs that display messages to systems users. VMS can be permanent fixtures or portables devices, displaying either a preprogrammed message or one programmed in real time. The signs can display travel times, locations of traffic incidents, or locations of shelters for evacuees. VMS are especially helpful to hearing-impaired evacuees who are unable to hear radio announcements or information from 211/511 systems. VMS are usually controlled from the TMC, so coordination with the TMC staff will be necessary if the EMA wants messages posted regarding the evacuation or re-entry.
Traffic Counting DevicesThese devices are installed into the roadway to count the number of vehicles on the road. Data from these devices can be used to provide emergency personnel with the quickest route to and from evacuation sites and shelters, especially when transporting people with special needs. Permanently installed traffic counters can supply data to one or more locations, generally a statewide, regional, or local transportation agency. Information can also be sent into the TMC and can be shared with the EOC. It is important to note that there is sometimes a delay associated with the devices supplying the traffic count data back to the collection point. This is primarily due to the type of communications system used to transmit the data. However, even with such delays, this is often the most up-to-date information available on traffic volumes during the evacuation. In addition, it is useful to have a redundant communications system in the event the primary system is inoperable. Since not all communities have installed permanent traffic count stations, historical traffic count data collected manually can aid planners in estimating roadway conditions during the evacuation.
Traffic Control Devices
These devices can help transportation managers to maximize evacuation efficiency by enabling designated vehicles to move more freely on otherwise gridlocked roads. While such devices can assist all evacuees, they are especially useful when transporting people with special needs to avoid medical emergencies, rapidly transfer trauma patients, and other such functions that reduce the duration of the evacuation. Traffic control devices include:
- High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes/bus-only lanes can allow buses and other vehicles to transport people with special needs to shelters quickly in order to return and pick up more passengers.
- Pavement markings can designate specific evacuation lanes or lanes that are designated for emergency vehicles.
- Interconnected traffic signals decrease the time that evacuating vehicles spend waiting for green lights by synchronizing traffic signals, thereby increasing traffic flow. An optimal signal pattern for an evacuation scenario can be created in advance for quick implementation during an actual event. Additionally, like cameras and other ITS applications, independent power sources can be installed on traffic signals to allow for continued use during a power outage.
- Traffic signal pre-emption are devices on some traffic signals that allow an approaching emergency vehicle to change the traffic signal timing pattern to allow them to proceed unimpeded through the intersection.However, the use of such devices may disrupt the major direction of traffic flow during an evacuation, so their use during that time must be carefully considered.
- Ramp meters are traffic signals installed on highway entrance ramps to control the flow of traffic by allowing vehicles to enter the highway in a uniform manner.
- Ramp gates are deployable gates on highway entrance/exit ramps that prevent traffic from entering or exiting the highway at that point. These can be especially useful if a reverse flow lane is being utilized.
- Reversible lanes allow for an increased traffic flow in a particular direction. Some highways are designed to accommodate reversible traffic on a daily basis, such as during daily rush hour periods or special events. Utilizing these extra lanes can increase the available throughput volume of traffic during an evacuation.
511 is the established national number for traveler information, although not all areas have established the service yet. As of fall 2008, there were 41 active 511 systems in states and major urban areas. About 17 states do not yet have 511 systems in place but are planning for them in the future.
Traveler information systems vary from HAR with limited broadcast ranges to speech-activated automated phone services available to users to provide route-specific traffic, weather, and shelter information such as available transit services and expected travel times and evacuation duration. HAR services may be provided by fixed or portable radio systems, and messages may be easily changed for various conditions and language needs. Before or during a disaster, evacuees can dial a pre-designated number on a landline or cellular telephone to get traveler information. Information may be specific to the jurisdiction or agency operating the service, such as sheltering information via ARC services (as in certain locations in Florida) or evacuation route information from state and local governments. The availability of traveler information services varies widely, with most locations not offering substantial detail at present. Each service provides limited options for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and alternate information or TTY services should be considered in addition to traditional services. It is important to keep in mind that jurisdictions may have different call numbers. Some cities like New York City maintain a non-emergency general information number (311) that may provide information for evacuees. Such a system allows the 911 number to remain open for emergency calls.
The southeast Florida, Central Florida, and Tampa regions under the Florida Department of Transportation implemented 511 systems where users can obtain information about congestion, travel times, and road closures. A separate hotline provides information on hurricane shelters. Florida also makes its state and regional 511 services available online, allows users to customize its 511 information including travel trips for specific routes, and will present customized information when calling 511 via caller ID. Generally, a state or local transportation agency maintains these 511 systems. Emergency managers should coordinate with the appropriate agency to provide the content for any recorded messages as well as real-time information to be provided on these 511 systems.
Service Patrols (Traffic Incident Management [TIM] assets)Service patrols can be transportation workers or contractors under agreement with the state transportation agency who are dispatched to support law enforcement, fire, and rescue personnel in addressing traffic incidents. They may be used along evacuation routes to mitigate or rapidly address incidents and maximize traffic flow. While they serve an important purpose to the general public, including directing traffic and providing fuel for motorists, these patrols can be especially helpful to evacuees who need assistance. Other ITS applications can be used to ensure that service patrols can operate effectively and efficiently during an evacuation. This could include using cameras and CCTV to provide service patrols with real-time information and taking advantage of reversible lanes, shoulder use, and special signal control strategies to allow them to quickly move within the evacuation zones.
According to a survey of 106 urban areas conducted in 2006 by the ITS Joint Program Office, service patrols were operating in over 70 regions in the United States.
Service patrols are generally operated by state and/or local transportation agencies either with their own staff or through a contract. Service patrols are generally found in major urban areas, although some do operate on a limited basis in more rural areas. Service patrol vehicles travel a certain route or geographic area and assist motorists in need. The TMC maintains contact with service patrols and can dispatch them to a particular location to respond to a specific need such as a traffic crash observed via the TMC’s CCTV cameras. For an evacuation, the service patrol vehicles may be stationed along the evacuation routes at certain intervals so they can quickly respond to an incident such as a vehicle needing fuel, fixing a flat tire, or other minor repairs. Providing these services can help to move disabled vehicles out of the traffic stream to allow other evacuating vehicles to pass. To provide information to decision makers considering establishment of a service patrol, FHWA published a Service Patrol Handbook in November 2008.
- Detention Centers at the Post Office?
- Congressional Research Service: Federal and State Quarantine and Isolation
- FEMA: National Mass Evacuation Tracking Systems
- Obama Sets Up Council of Governors for Martial Law
- RFID in Defense 2010 Report
- Texas: Background Checks Before Evacuation
- Governments put traditional bar code technology to innovative use tracking people and equipment
- Disaster Management Systems
- FEMA Camps on 72-hour Notice and Military Authorized to Arrest