Download PDF: 2014 CATEX Lifeline Sector Coordination Workshop
Lifeline Sectors Response Coordination Workshop
September 4, 2014
National public sector policy has embraced the notion that “Getting Business Back to Business” after an incident is an important resilience strategy for communities throughout our country. In tandem with this national strategy and the growing emphasis on public-private partnerships as a key to disaster preparedness, the Lifeline Sectors Response Coordination Workshop is being conducted to inform the development of regional information sharing exercises/drills to resolve operational issues and chokepoints with the electric, food and fuel sectors in the Northeast Region of the U.S.
During large scale regional incidents (e.g. Superstorm Sandy) multiple states and companies across multiple sectors are impacted in many ways. Large scale power outages, food store closures, and fuel shortages are only a few of the many local and regional issues that face government and the private sector as they respond to the disaster. It is during these regional, multi-state events that the private sector activates their mutual aid processes to draw assistance from around the country. The public sector at all levels of government also activates their response processes to support each other and bring resources to the impacted states. These multiple response processes raise challenges that need to be addressed:
1. How can confusion and duplication of effort be avoided when these simultaneous public and private sector response mechanisms activate?
2. How can more efficient regional information sharing processes be developed to address specific electric, food and fuel sector issues (e.g. operational chokepoints) that arise during regional response efforts?
3. Within a sector, what are the specific essential elements of information and processes/protocols used or needed in order to address the sector’s regional response chokepoints/issues?
The CATEX regional exercise series is facilitating public-private sector dialogues aimed at developing solutions for these issues. In CATEX 2013, the electric sector worked with multiple states and urban areas to develop a planning and exercise process that produced multiple operational results by expediting of electric sector operational information across multiple states. The outcomes of this process are now being used in the 2014 hurricane season.
The Lifeline Sectors Response Coordination Workshop will leverage the electric sector’s regional planning and information sharing process along with the planning partners of the RCPT NY-NJ-CT-PA(Regional Catastrophic Planning Team) to extend this solution-building model to the food and fuel sectors in the Northeast. This regional information sharing process is central to the private sector’s response efforts when they activate mutual aid networks that bring in resources from across the region, country or from Canada, and multiple states have to coordinate in order for this private sector response process to flow smoothly.
At the Workshop, electric, food and fuel sector representatives will discuss their sector’s preparation activities at the following time frames: -24 hours prior to impact and +24 hours after impact. Facilitated discussions will then validate sector issues and chokepoints that have already been identified and document new ideas.
Workshop participants will collectively discuss additional information needed to address specific electric, food and fuel sector operational chokepoints/issues and regional impacts that arise during responses to disasters. The regional information to be discussed will include:
1. Local and regional operational chokepoints/issues for Electric, Food and Fuel sectors
2. Essential Elements of Information (EEIs) needed to address each issue/chokepoint
3. Regional information sharing processes and protocols already in place for each issue/chokepoint
4. Participant recommendations on how to improve the processes for regional sharing of information
The scenario background used for the Workshop discussions will be Superstorm Sandy. The planning team and working groups have selected Sandy since it is a real-world scenario that had broad regional impacts across the electric, food and fuel sectors and highlighted response challenges that potentially translate to other incidents.
The Lifeline Sector Response Coordination Workshop will capture the information needed to develop simple, sector focused “information sharing exercise modules/drills” to be used in the CATEX 2014 drill in October, or in future public or private sector exercises. These modules/drills will address specific operational issues that impact both public and private sector response efforts in each sector. Cross sector utilization of these modules/drills and information sharing products will be fostered by the planning teams. In some cases, as was shown in the electric sector during the CATEX 2013 exercise, operational information sharing products may also be an outcome of the planning and exercise process.
Improving operational information sharing has proven to have a positive measurable impact on response efforts. Developing a trusted planning and information sharing environment for regulated and non-regulated companies to plan with state/local government operations professionals is fundamental to the process. Beginning to address regional, multi-state information sharing issues is a simple step towards building a shared perspective and resolving several sector operational issues and chokepoints quickly. This builds trust and paves the way for more improvements in the future for the purposes of improving regional resilience and expedites economic recovery.