Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Japan - An example of Most "Resilient Selfless Society"

No amount of “material preparedness” works during the extreme incident. Backup(s) communication, power generators or storage of emergency inventories are good in pre-disaster senerio. Everything will stop working at the site of incident after impact, even with hundreds of cascaded and co-located redundancies !

Support has to flow-in from the nearest unaffected locations. There are numerous lesions attesting and re-attesting several of the critical “preparedness issues” but unfortunately learning’s are not proportional.

The first and most critical factor in the equation of “resilience” is the “human factor”. “Selfless attitude” and ability to understand and act on receiving “alerts and warning” are major contributors in saving lives and property. Finding of my research attests “increase in selfishness increases with severity of incident and environmental stresses”.

Increased “selfishness” during crisis impacts emergency response management adversely where as “endurance and cooperative attitude” is extremely helpful in restoring the situation. You have pointed out very important “character” of “resilient society” . But this need to be highlighted and presented in many ways all through the world, specifically in the vulnerable countries, that “resilience” starts with “selflessness”.

The first responder in any situation is the person next to you and that is why – ability to understand alert/warning and attitude to react in a selfless manner is more crucial then a high-tech support reaching to you after a laps of one hour.

I congratulate all Japanes for their endurance and selflessness and wish them a quick recovery.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tsunami Management in India

Managing Tsunami in India - By Dr R K Dave
Tsunamis consist of a series of very long waves generated by any rapid, large-scale disturbance of the sea. Most are generated by sea floor displacements from large undersea earthquakes. Tsunamis can cause great destruction and loss of lives within minutes on shores near the source, and some tsunamis can cause destruction within hours across an entire ocean basin.
Most tsunamis occur in the Pacific region but they are known to happen in every ocean and sea. Although infrequent, tsunamis are a significant natural hazard with great destructive potential. They can only be dealt with effectively through efficient detection, monitoring, measuring system cascaded with alert and warning, mitigation, and education.

Deep Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) system is commonly used for monitoring and measuring Tsunamis. DART system consists of an anchored seafloor bottom pressure transducer and a companion moored surface buoy for real-time communications.
A powerful acoustic radio modem transmits data from the submerged platform to the surface buoy. The data are then relayed via Inmarsat-C satellite link to Land stations, which forward the signals for immediate dissemination to Warning Centers. There are 32 sensor buoys in the Pacific working round the clock. Each deep sea station is designed to detect and report tsunamis on its own, without instructions from land.

Monitoring deep ocean earthquakes using modern technology tsunameter and conveying it to Tsunami warning center is not enough. For saving lives and property – the Tsunami alert must reach to the people along with required support in identified risk zone as quickly as possible so as they can take shelter at high altitude locations.

National EOC, State EOC and District EOC play a crucial role in the in-land management of Tsunami warnings. National network of EOC(s) connected with remotely manageable national grid of coastal area alert and warning system is the only way for in-land management of such hazards. RESPECT( has recently organized a National Conference on EOC & Disaster Response Operation.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

EOC and Disaster Response Operations

Recommendations /outcome of EOC and Disaster Response Operations Conference held on14-15th Feb 2011, at the initiatives of RESPECT (Renewing and Empowering Society’s Progress & Enhancing capacities Through Technologies) an NGO in knowledge collaboration with Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), USA

Conference Objectives: “EOC & Disaster Response Operation” Conference was an attempt to sensitize administration and emergency management practitioners on issues relating to Design, Functional, operational and management aspects of Emergency Operation Center (EOC), connectivity with Incident Command Systems and the Global best practices.


Two days extensive deliberation during the conference were focused on

Day – 1
Seven Critical Capabilities required (1.Pre-event Intelligence Fusion and Information Exchange, 2. Adequate Staffing, 3. Knowledge, 4. Detection, 5. Unified Incident Command & Communications, 6. Specialized Equipment and 7. Inter-agency Response) for enabling Effective Disaster Mitigation, Planning, Response and Recovery considering Seven critical threat i.e. Human+ BNICE+ Cyber: (1) Human threat, (2) Biological, (3) Nuclear / radiological, (4) Incendiary, (5) Chemical, (6) Explosive, and (7) Cyber against information and data systems. At least seven elements were distilled from summit discussions as essential for first responders to operate effectively and safely against these seven threats at a catastrophic hazardous event.

Day-2 EOC facility design, operation and management considerations.

Summery of the recommendations emerged out of discussion deliberation are as given below, marked with the attention of concerning agency below each.

General recommendation

1. Need for a consistent State-level statutory framework for implementation of the National Disaster Response System (NDRS). (Applies to National, State levels)
2. Need for consistent training and education for key disaster responders. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
3. Need to develop and implement programs that will help make citizens an effective part of the NDRS at the local level. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency

4. Need an established mechanism for dynamic validation, maintenance and sharing of emergency response Plans and resource databases .(Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
5. Need to design and establish an EOC and disaster response system performance audit to identify strength and weaknesses on regular basis. (Applies to State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
6. There needs to design and establish a “national system of disaster response Lessons Learned and Best Practices” which is accessible to administrations and responders at all levels. This will also provide the basis for responder training and education through the country. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
7. Need to plan, design and establish Integeration mechanism for linking national and state disaster intelligence fusion centers and enable local and province responders access to and communications reporting to them. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
8. Need to plan, design and establish a system to integrate Local, State, District, and Federal plans dynamically. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
9. Need to plan and establish a mechanism which will enable mandatory participation of Key officials and decision-makers in pre-event training, planning and exercises. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
10. Need for planning and establishing a training mechanism for Emergency responder’s n the use of The Indian Disaster Resource Network (IDRN), state disaster resource networks and other relevant disaster response support systems. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
11. Need to plan, design and establish a CIKR (critical infrastructures and key resources) directory with adequate monitoring system in place. The CIKR director may include -
Protecting and ensuring the resilience of the National critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR) is essential to the nation’s security, public health and safety, economic vitality and the way of life. India, urgently, needs a national policy program for preventing, deterring, neutralizing, or mitigating the effects of deliberate efforts by terrorist to destroy, incapacitate, or exploit elements of our Nation’s CIKR. (Applies to National, State, province levels)
Recommendations on - Emergency Operation center (EOC) – design, implementation, operation and management
21. Need to plan and establish system to ensure that State EOC networks ICT infrastructures are compatible in each state for seamless sharing of databases and applications during planning, response and recovery. (Applies to National, State, province, local and first responder agency levels)
22. Uniform and compatible State EOC ICT infrastructures design consideration should include
a. Standardized spatial data infrastructure (SDI);(Applies to National, and State agency levels)
b. State wide area network for steady-state communication linkages ;(Applies to National, and State agency levels)
c. Standardized VSAT based communication network for emergency communication. There should be a single VSAT based National network of emergency communication and alls states should subscribed to that. This will avoid duplication of Hub resources in each state. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
d. Standardized Decision support system in each state so as common pool of prediction model (simulation model) for cyclone, earthquake, flood and gas leakages can be used by all states. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
e. Uniform and compatible mass messaging system for each state so as resources from across the state can also be alerted during certain critical incidents. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
f. Each state EOC should have compatible (IP based) be Unified communication infrastructures for seamless Integeration of voice communication or call centers. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
g. Each state EOC should have compatible (IP based) be Unified communication infrastructures for seamless Integeration of voice communication or call centers. India needs a Unified Emergency Call Center with unique calling number for through the country and creation of unified communication infrastructures will be enabler for a national emergency service call center. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
h. Uniform public alert and warning system working on Common Alert protocol (CAP). Alert and warning system created in each state should have manageability from any level (national, state and local). (Applies to National, and State agency levels)
i. EOC facility management on PPP Model – Looking to the low ICT skill set available in the Government system and the frequently changing technology scenario, PPP (private-public-partnership) model would suite best for planning, designing, implementation and management of EOC (s) ICT infrastructures in each state. Central Government should draw standard based policy guidelines on EOC(s) technical and management specifications to be followed by each state, in order to ensure that system installed in different states talk to each other. (Applies to National, and State agency levels)