Emergency Preparedness Seminar

On December 13, 2018, the city of Roanoke hosted their 2nd Emergency Preparedness Seminar. Businesses throughout the area gathered to learn about opportunities for their organization. Marci Stone, Emergency Manager for the city of Roanoke, invited Emergency Management personnel to speak on business preparedness and continuity training. A variety subjects were discussed, from active shooter training to creating an emergency operations plan.

NSPA's JT Clark spoke to businesses on general planning for organizations before a disaster. He explained the role of NSPA and how it helps healthcare interests prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. He also spoke on the importance of a risk assessment and knowing what vulnerabilities your businesses should be prepared for.

Other speakers included Clark Goodman; ServPro, Marci Stone, and Todd Peters from FreightCar America. Peters explained the importance of the event and how just months after the seminar in 2016 their organization had to put to use the information they learned.

September 2018 Overview

Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance Healthcare Tabletop Exercise Series

From September 25-28, the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance (NSPA) hosted a healthcare table top exercise series. The TTX scenarios featured modules pertaining to evacuation, surge and the recovery for facilities based on both evacuation and surge. Over 350 individuals participated from 120 different organizations. These participants included hospitals, long-term care, behavioral health, home care, and hospice, dialysis, public health, patient transportation, physical rehab, surgery centers, federally-qualified health clinics, EMS, and local and state emergency management. This exercise series will also include After-Action Planning and a Functional Exercise in October.  

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Full-Scale Exercise

On September 8, the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance (NSPA) participated in the triennial Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport Full Scale Exercise. NSPA facilitated the healthcare interests involved in the exercise as well as participated with RHCC activation that included a response to the mass casualty incident and resulting surge on the local emergency departments. Representatives from six healthcare agencies, six jurisdictional agencies, and seven regional/state agencies are involved in this collaborative exercise with the regional airport authority. Following the exercise, an After-Action Review meeting was facilitated by NSPA on September 26 that allowed the sharing of lessons learned from each organization. 

Patient Tracking Functional Exercise

On September 7, NSPA facilitated a Functional Exercise for Patient Tracking in partnership with 211VA, Liberty University, Lynchburg Emergency Management, Centra Lynchburg General Hospital, Centra Virginia Baptist Hospital, Centra Bedford Memorial Hospital, Centra Gretna Medical Center and the Near Southwest RHCC. This exercise featured and tested the use of the VHASS Patient Tracking Module and provided local emergency management the opportunity to observe the system in use during a mass casualty incident.

Virginia Tech Select Biological Agent Decontamination Exercise

On September 19, the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance (NSPA) participated in a Decontamination Full-Scale Exercise facilitated by VDH Regional Epidemiologist, Paige Bordwine. The exercise was conducted at the Virginia Tech Bio-Research Lab.  NSPA deployed regional decontamination assets and provided technical on-site support throughout the exercise. This event was a result of collaboration between VT Emergency Operations, the New River Health District of the Virginia Dept. of Health, the Carilion-New River Valley Medical Center Decontamination Team and LewisGale Regional Health Representatives.

Basic Disaster Life Support – December 11, 2017

Join the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance in partnership with Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital for BDLS.

BDLS® is targeted to multiple disciplines including: emergency medical service (EMS) personnel, hazardous materials personnel, public safety and public health personnel, and healthcare providers. By teaching multiple disciplines simultaneously, a commonality of approach and language will develop, improving the care and coordination of response to WMD disaster and public health emergencies.


Disaster Recovery Workshop – November 30, 2017

Please join the Virginia Department of Emergency Management and the Near Southwest Preparedness Alliance on November 30th to learn about the long term recovery process as it relates to the healthcare infrastructure in Southwest Virginia. We will discuss local, state, and federal disaster declaration processes, public assistance eligibility, as well as recovery assistance for non-federal disasters and other key topics relating recovering the healthcare sector following a major disaster.  This workshop will be hosted at The Roanoke Higher Education Center from 9:00 am - 3:30 pm.

Register Here


Leveraging Close-calls to Improve your Emergency Management Program

The nature of the preparedness world is one of close-calls, near-misses, fits, starts, and direct hits.

Fortunately for all involved, we are not directly impacted by every threat that is forecast to come our way.

Still, a comprehensive and forward-thinking emergency management program will not let a potential crisis go to waste. 

Here are just a few actions your organization can take to improve your preparedness program without suffering the negative impacts of lessons learned through failure: 

  1. Play the “What If?” game. If your organization has put considerable effort into preparing for a forecasted event (maybe severe weather, maybe civil unrest from a mass gathering, etc), make that effort worthwhile by setting aside some time in the days following to ask, “What if?”. Bring your emergency operations team together for a brief table-top discussion to think through how the incident would have impacted your facility had it occurred. Think of it like putting the finishing touches on your preparedness discussions.  If, for example, a severe weather event misses your area but impacts another, use the data from the incident (number of utility customers without power, amount of destruction, impact to traffic, public works, public safety, etc.) experienced by your neighbors to make your “What if?” discussions more realistic and impactful.

  2. Learn from the success (and failure) of others. One of the greatest aspects of the Emergency Management community is the willingness of those who have learned lessons to share. Take advantage of this by seeking out the decision-makers involved in both successful and unsuccessful responses and picking their brains. Request any After Action Reports that were compiled by facilities, localities, or other agencies and review them for lessons that may apply to your organization. Finally, do not hesitate to reach out to the individuals involved and ask them to speak – either by phone, or in person – to your planning team. Very often, these professionals will come to tell their story without compensation other than travel costs.

  3. Document your work. Even if you don’t have follow-up conversations or seek out lessons learned, make sure you document the efforts you do undertake. Documentation such as attendance lists for preparedness meetings, After Action Reports for any Command Team activations, or outlines of conversations had in the run-up or aftermath of the planning effort can all be invaluable additions to your emergency operations plan. All of this documentation not only makes your emergency management program stronger, it is an impressive demonstration when a surveyor asks to see evidence of your program.

Now it’s your turn! Do you have additional items for this list? Email them to ccamidge@vaems.org and we may feature them in a future post.

March 23rd Coalition Meeting

Join us on March 23rd for an engaging presentation regarding initial EMS response (MCI), mass fatality response, mental health coordination, mental health crisis response, and Family Reception and Assistance Center coordination.  This presentation will be hosted at Virginia Western Community College from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Register Here



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Call for Virginia Preparedness Academy Session Applications

The following is from an email for immediate distribution from Betsy Marchant, VDH:

This year’s Academy Planning Committee invites public health, healthcare, and emergency management professionals to showcase and share their best practice models, tools, or other resources that advance the field of public health preparedness. 

 Academy session application process

  1. Submit application via the form at http://goo.gl/forms/5OSN14lQRR by April 10, 2015.
  2. Academy Planning Committee members will review all submissions.  
  3. Notification of acceptance or rejection is expected to occur by April 24, 2015. 
  4. All presenting authors must register for and attend the Academy.
  5. Presentations will occur on afternoon of May 18, 2015. The presentation length will be 15 minutes followed by 5 minutes of audience questions. 

Review Criteria

Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  1. Addresses one of the overlapping PHEP/HPP capabilities (Preparedness, Recovery, Emergency Operations, Fatality Management, Information Sharing, Medical Surge, Responder Safety and Health, Volunteer Coordination)
  2. Applicability to target audience
  3. Originality and contribution of presentation content to public health and healthcare preparedness 

Registration and Hotel Information

Registration is available on TRAIN Virginia at course id 1055964. Hotel information is available at http://virginiapreparednessacademy.blogspot.com.  We will use this website to post the most up to date information (agenda, etc.) so please bookmark it to check back!