Operations are paramount to function as an airport and resilience is considered fundamentally critical.
But emergency management personnel in the Boston region had not only been imagining such a complex scenario, they had been rehearsing it. But given the variations in the power structure, not to mention the geographic and structural differences between cities, a standard municipal operating procedure is, for now, beyond reach.
Above, a "functional" emergency operations plan format, which FEMA estimates is the most commonly used EOP.
Whether today's Boston lockdown, prompted by the manhunt for Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, constitutes a necessary security tactic or a failure of resilience is already the subject of considerable debate.
Urban Shield has worked with Strategic Operations, a Hollywood effects company that also helps prepare army medics for the battlefield.
Established in 2003 under the guidance of DHS and FEMA, EMAP is the country's first accreditation program for all-hazards plans -- the first comparative body that holds all municipal, state, and university emergency plans to a common, respective standard. But Mike Sena, the President of the National Fusion Center Association, who defended the program after the Senate report, said the BRIC was designed to operate in exactly the sort of inter-agency crisis situation occurring in Boston "This is what fusion centers were built for," Sena told the Wall Street Journal.
In November, under the leadership of Rene Fielding, director of the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, Boston became one of only four cities nationwide to receive EMAP accreditation. Airport operation is always vulnerable to unforeseen or unplanned events, be it a major system failure, adverse weather or an aircraft incident. Over the past two years, area hospitals had sent teams of doctors and nurses to citywide training exercises and run internal drills for mass casualty incidents like bombs, plane crashes, and fires. FEMA's "Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101" [PDF], released in 2010, tentatively positions itself as a textbook for emergency operations plans -- while acknowledging the critical differences between cities, and the virtues of bottom-up disaster planning (my italics): "This Guide recognizes that many jurisdictions across the country have already developed EOPs that address many emergency management operations.


The Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) further encourages a convergence of local and state planning strategies. The result: Leaders can make informed decisions and effectively protect the people and communities they care about.
Massachusetts has a State Emergency Operations Center, run out of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Boston's MBHSR, like many regional DHS jurisdictions, is working to implement the National Incident Management Program (NIMS), a national framework for disaster reporting and response.
Boston Marathon medical tents set up for fatigued runners were transformed within minutes into trauma centers. AtHoc's comprehensive suite unifies crisis communications within and between organizations, their people, devices, and external entities. So when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded on Monday afternoon, Boston's emergency operations centers knew what to do.
A member of the SWAT team trains a gun on an apartment building during a search for the remaining suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in Watertown, Massachusetts April 19, 2013.
Security experts called Friday's citywide "shelter-in-place" order unprecedented, and onlookers could only compare the siege in Watertown, where soldiers, SWAT teams, helicopters and armored Humvees cordoned off a large swath of the neighborhood, to a movie. County performed an exercise in response to an imagined 7.8-magnitude earthquake, working out hypotheticals with the National Guard, the Red Cross and dozens of city and county departments in between. Police officers took up positions to keep spectators off the course and turned back runners approaching the finish line. MissionMode's software and people were very flexible in meeting our requirements, which was not apparent with other vendors.


The scene on Boylston Street was an admirable display of bravery, skill and calm by first responders and volunteers.
Service on Boston’s Green Line, which has a station at Copley Square near the scene of the attacks, was suspended between Kenmore and Park Street.
Urban Shield, which Baker started in 2007, is one of several drill programs that have sprung up over the last decade in response to DHS grants for thorough emergency preparedness training. All in all, there were over 600 participants in the November drill, from over fifty different departments and agencies. The drills, which included hostage situations, HazMat incidents and a movie theater shooting, brought together emergency officials from the city, state and federal government, as well as from the Boston Police, SWAT teams, the Fire Department, EMS, local hospitals, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the Coast Guard.
Nationwide, the hierarchy of emergency management can be staggeringly complicated, and the varying power structures within U.S. For example: Boston has an Emergency Operations Center run out the city's Office of Emergency Management.
Though every city has an all-hazard plan by one name or another, it can be difficult to predict how various authorities will interact in a time of crisis.



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Comments

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