Project History

Situated in West Baltimore, the University of Maryland, Baltimore – CHHS’ home base – is a 71-acre campus encompassing nearly 70 buildings, hosting more than 7,000 employees and 6,000 students.  With such a large footprint, safety and security is a top priority for University leadership. While CHHS has worked with the University on emergency preparedness on a number of initiatives over the years, the University recently utilized CHHS’ expertise to conduct a comprehensive campus security project that included an examination and updates to Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans, development of awareness campaigns, building safety assessments, and a series of exercises ...Read More
CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Eric Oddo continues to provide comprehensive planning services to the District of Columbia (DC) cabinet-level agencies in the development, implementation, and exercising of Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans. The eight year relationship between CHHS and the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) for COOP support is one of the longest in Center history. This fall, Oddo delivered COOP update briefings to a number of critical District entities, including: Mayor Muriel Bowser and her cabinet; the DC Emergency Preparedness Council (EPC); the DC Emergency Response System (ERS) Committee; and the Risk Management Council. Oddo has ...Read More
On August 18, 2015, the CHHS Exercise and Training team conducted a drill for the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW).  Testing shelter-in-place procedures – including communication of emergency procedures to staff and building security protocols – the exercise simulated a mock hazardous material explosion outside the building, obliging staff to remain indoors.   CHHS worked closely with SSW administration to develop the exercise and evaluate actions to identify areas of improvement in the event of a real-world situation. This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2015 Newsletter
Following protests and violence sparked by deadly police use-of-force in several cities across the U.S., CHHS was approached by the Annapolis Office of Emergency Management to develop and deliver a seminar on lessons learned when responding to civil unrest.  CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Vernon Herron, a veteran law enforcement professional, presented a comprehensive two day event to both city officials and first responders that examined pros and cons of efforts taken by government agencies from Ferguson, to New York, to Baltimore.  The seminar gave participants the opportunity to discuss how to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from similar ...Read More
Over the past year, CHHS has assisted the City of Dallas in developing a comprehensive Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan. CHHS partnered with Tidal Basin Group to review and update Dallas’ previous COOP plans, conduct interviews, develop COOP annexes for over 40 Dallas City departments, and execute a full-scale exercise. Carrying out a number of roles for this project, CHHS staff first conducted on-site interviews with several Dallas City departments this past January. During these meetings, CHHS engaged department leaders to determine which essential functions must be continued post-emergency event, and how those functions would be brought back online after ...Read More
Working with the U.S. Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance, CHHS continued to develop and deliver Senior Crisis Management Seminars for international delegations looking to enhance their emergency management capabilities.  In June 2015, Kazakhstan officials spent a week with CHHS at the Universities at Shady Grove to discuss topics including threat and hazard identification and risk assessments, human rights, planning and mitigation for critical infrastructure, mass evacuations and sheltering, the incident command system, emergency operation center activations, crisis communications, and mass casualty response. Participants were given the opportunity to test these capabilities through a series of hands-on exercises throughout ...Read More
In June 2015 CHHS completed a multi-year Training and Exercise Plan (TEP) for the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS). The TEP focuses on developing multi-disciplinary and/or multi-jurisdictional response capabilities for critical incidents, while documenting the overall regional training and exercise program goals from July 2015 to May 2017. The TEP was developed in consultation with the Training and Exercise Work Group (TEPW), which identified the training and exercise needs of the Maryland-National Capital Region. The TEPW includes stakeholders from various disciplines in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, including: fire, rescue, and emergency medical services; law enforcement; emergency ...Read More
During our largest exercise to date, CHHS was all-hands-on-deck for a full-scale mass casualty exercise on May 19, 2015. The Region V Emergency Preparedness Coalition (EPC), which includes representatives from Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s Counties in Maryland, brought CHHS onboard to test medical surge capacity by simulating a bus accident resulting in multiple traumas, as well as an infectious disease component.  With nearly 20 hospitals and medical centers joining from the region, the exercise gave participants the opportunity to test hospital specific surge plans, infectious disease protocols, as well as regional response and coordination during a ...Read More
Several CHHS staff members, including CHHS Senior Law and Policy Analyst Clark Lee, were involved in the development and evaluation of the Montgomery County Cities Readiness Initiative Closed Points of Dispensing (POD) Partners Tabletop Exercise on February 24, 2015, in Silver Spring, Md. Sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services and the Maryland Emergency Response System of the National Capital Region, this exercise brought together representatives from local public health agencies, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to discuss key planning issues related to Closed PODs that are likely to arise during a ...Read More
The Prince George's County Health Department (PGCHD) hosted a series of exercises designed to test the County's Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) plan in early April. The three exercises simulated the non-medical model for the organization, staff, material, and coordination necessary to ensure that the County can respond to a biological attack, such as smallpox or aerosolized anthrax, affecting a vast majority of the population. The first exercise was a tabletop exercise to provide background information about the event and required discussion of activities based on a scenario developed by the CHHS Exercise and Training team, along with CHHS Law and ...Read More
Senior Policy Analyst Russell J. Strickland kicked off CHHS’ 2015 work with the U.S. Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance during a March trip to Mexico City. The seminar included more than 15 students that represented a cross-section of the City’s response community, and was conducted in a workshop style that engaged the students in daily activities and exercises, encouraging their collegial interaction. From the assessment conducted prior to the delivery, to input from the opening exercises, students learned how to better enhance planning and operational coordination – two core capabilities that are essential to all mission areas of ...Read More
Between 2013 and early 2015, Senior Policy Analysts Lisa Crow and Kasia Fertala worked with the Howard County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to revise the Howard County Emergency Operations Plan (EOP). The EOP outlines the responsibilities and coordination mechanisms of County departments and external partner organizations in response to an emergency or disaster. The EOP planning team focused on the development of a thorough response plan uniquely tailored to capture Howard County’s capabilities and characteristics, but also, more importantly, the planning process aided in building a more robust emergency management program. The planning team included members from the OEM and ...Read More
CHHS professionals work with many local public health and emergency management offices throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia to provide staff support and expertise on a daily basis. Recent efforts include:  Baltimore City Health Department In the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Shannon Snyder continues a partnership between CHHS and Baltimore City that goes back nearly nine years.  As the Strategic National Stockpile Coordinator, Snyder is heavily involved in writing, updating, and testing the City’s Emergency Medical Countermeasures Plan. The latest version of the plan, which outlines requests for and deployments of assets ...Read More
On February 12, 2015, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Eric Oddo facilitated a tabletop exercise for the District of Columbia’s Department of Forensic Sciences. The discussion-based exercise helped City employees from the Forensic Science Laboratory Division, the Public Health Laboratory Division, and the Crime Scene Sciences Division, talk through Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning roles and responsibilities during a scenario involving a mock flood and extended loss of power to the City’s Consolidated Forensic Laboratory. CHHS Exercise and Training staff was also on hand to evaluate the exercise, which followed multiple workshops conducted by CHHS over the past year that brought ...Read More
Enhancing existing templates for tabletop exercises, CHHS recently provided planning toolkits for the Maryland Emergency Response System. The toolkits allow exercise planners to pick and choose various elements of an exercise to fit their exercise needs. Components of these toolkits include capabilities to test, exercise objectives, exercise scenarios, and facilitator questions. Documents developed included a facilitator guide, situational manual, after action report, evaluator presentation, and participant feedback form. This text is taken from the CHHS Spring 2015 Newsletter
Through a year-long contract with the Prince George’s County Health Department, CHHS Law and Policy Analyst Christine Gentry is supporting exercise and training for the County’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program. As part of this program, Gentry conducted a Mass Fatality tabletop on December 19, 2014, at the County’s Emergency Operations Center, and included local and state health officials, healthcare facilities, and first responders. The tabletop exercise expanded upon a workshop held the month before, which addressed areas of improvement for the County’s Mass Fatality Management Plan. Using the plan to guide high level decision-making, the tabletop allowed ...Read More
CHHS is committed to helping Maryland colleges and universities be better prepared for man-made and natural disasters. In 2014-2015, Senior Law and Policy Analysts Preeti Emrick and Avery Blank led the development of a comprehensive Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan for the College of Southern Maryland (CSM). CSM is a regionally-accredited community college, delivering higher-education programs in Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties in Maryland. Throughout the fall of 2014, CHHS assisted CSM in developing college-wide, as well as departmental-specific, COOP plans. CHHS coordinated stakeholder meetings with the President’s Council and departmental heads and then met with each department individually ...Read More
On December 4, 2014, the CHHS Exercise and Training staff joined the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, the Maryland State Police, as well as local and federal partners to test the State Prevention and Protection Operations Plan (SPPOP). CHHS planned and facilitated the workshop, which gave key stakeholders the opportunity to review and evaluate the plan in a stress-free environment. This text is taken from the CHHS Spring 2015 Newsletter
On November 19, 2014, CHHS conducted a half-day Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning course at the Baltimore City Public Safety Training Academy. This session was designed to serve as an introductory course for planners with limited COOP experience, and a refresher for individuals who wanted to learn about recent developments in this area. The course was sponsored by the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management and enrollment was permitted for both public and private sector planners. Participants representing law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services, public health, communications infrastructure, operators of critical infrastructure, and non-governmental organizations received instruction on ...Read More
Senior Law and Policy Analyst Michael Vesely traveled to Jerusalem, Israel, to present at a NATO conference focused on issues related to lone wolf terrorism from November 1-7, 2014. The event was hosted by TAM-C Solutions. The conference brought together various subject matter experts from Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S., in order to bring a multinational, multidisciplinary view to the threat that lone wolves pose to the contemporary world. Lone wolf terrorists present unique challenges, in part because these actors are harder to detect and intercept than terrorist organizations; moreover, these individuals’ actions are not moderated by a group ...Read More
On July 29, 2014, representatives of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) visited Maryland’s capital to discuss the first-ever Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN). Participants included Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Maryland cabinet officials, and a team of Maryland first responders. Five CHHS staffers who support Maryland’s Statewide Interoperability Office were also active participants in the meeting. CHHS staffers have been credited with assisting Maryland in its national leadership role for FirstNet outreach. Once deployed nationally, this broadband network will give first responders throughout the U.S. the power to share critical data and information, making emergency management safer and more ...Read More
During May and June of 2014, Senior Policy Analyst Vernon Herron led the CHHS Exercise and Training team in developing and delivering Senior Crisis Management Seminars for delegations from Indonesia, Nigeria, India, and Lebanon in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance. Each seminar lasted one week. They included topics such as counterterrorism, mass sheltering and evacuation, incident command systems, continuity of operations, and crisis communications. Subject matter experts shared their experience with participants and helped them apply best practices to challenges faced in their home Nations. Seminars got underway again in the fall with delegations ...Read More
As part of an ongoing campus security update led by CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Eric Oddo at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), the Exercise and Training team developed a series of six exercises to test university emergency response policies and capabilities. Two workshops and two tabletop exercises provided stakeholder groups within the University, such as the campus Emergency Management Team, the campus Office of Communications and Public Affairs, and the campus Executive Advisory Council, a chance to discuss their roles in an emergency at UMB. From identifying chain of command for decision making, to highlighting resources needed in the ...Read More
The CHHS Exercise and Training team is often called upon by our partners to assist in security preparations for large special events. Past projects have included work with the Maryland Stadium Authority to prepare for potential emergencies at Baltimore Orioles and Ravens sporting events, as well as supporting the District of Columbia in Presidential Inauguration preparations. In September 2014, Maryland’s Star-Spangled Spectacular events commemorating the War of 1812 and the writing of the U.S. National Anthem attracted more than one million visitors to a week-long celebration at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Fort McHenry. Prior to the events, CHHS worked with ...Read More
CHHS continues to support the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) in its effort to ensure all Maryland essential government functions can be continued after a disabling emergency.  In 2009, in light of the H1N1 flu pandemic, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley proposed a thorough review and update of all Maryland state agencies’ Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans. CHHS worked with MEMA and the Office of the Governor to ensure each state agency was prepared for any threat causing prolonged disruption to essential governmental functions. CHHS did so by developing general Maryland agency COOP plans and a specific Pandemic Influenza COOP annex.  ...Read More
CHHS conducted two separate efforts to increase the competency and use of a Healthcare (HC) Standard system throughout Maryland and the National Capital Region (NCR). HC Standard compiles emergency management and patient tracking tools in one system to provide a rapid common operating picture among hospitals, emergency medical responders, and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. CHHS Exercise and Training staff first conducted a series of site visits to hospitals throughout the state to provide training and equipment checks. CHHS also facilitated a series of meetings within the NCR to identify barriers to use and help create sustainable solutions. ...Read More
The Exercise and Training team developed and delivered a tabletop exercise Aug. 28, 2013 for the Carroll County Health Department. Local healthcare facilities, law enforcement, emergency medical services, and state and local coordinating agencies joined CHHS staff to discuss the scenario of a flu-like illness causing a medical surge in the county. The exercise helped local officials review their response plans while working with partners in the county to prepare for flu or other potential pandemics that might stress public health capabilities. This text is taken from the CHHS Fall 2013 Newsletter.
Evacuation Workshop for Central Maryland Regional Hospitals The Exercise and Training team delivered a workshop on August 8, 2013 involving medical providers from Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties, which opened a dialogue on hospital-wide evacuations in Central Maryland. The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems’ Region III Health and Medical Task Force and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sponsored the day-long event. Participants heard from subject matter experts, participated in a panel discussion on roles and responsibilities, and talked through a facilitated mock evacuation of Johns Hopkins Hospital in downtown ...Read More
Mitigation Planning Across Maryland Effective mitigation planning enables local jurisdictions to reduce the impact of disasters before they occur by instituting cost effective prevention and education measures. In the long run, successful implementation of mitigation projects ultimately will save the lives of many people and millions of dollars in property damages. To receive funding from the federal government for mitigation projects, local jurisdictions in Maryland must submit a mitigation plan every five years to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) for initial review. Upon approval, the State then forwards the plan to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for final ...Read More
Preparing for natural disasters is imperative for local county emergency management agencies and first responders, including major winter storms that bring power outages and treacherous travel situations along with heavy snow and ice. In Montgomery County the CHHS Exercise and Training team helped emergency management officials practice activation of their Emergency Operation Center for a mock severe winter thunderstorm accompanied by snow in early December 2013, and evaluated their response. This text was taken from the CHHS Spring 2014 Newsletter.
In 2013-2014, Senior Policy Analyst Eric Oddo – in partnership with consultants from Tidal Basin Government Consulting, Continuity Operations Group LLC, and Vision Planning and Consulting LLC – developed a comprehensive Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC). The mission of the Maryland PSC is to ensure safe, reliable, and inexpensive public utility and transportation service to Maryland’s citizens. It ensures that rates, terms, and conditions established for public service companies are just, reasonable, and transparent; adopts and enforces regulations that are in the public interest; creates standards and policies that protect the safety of ...Read More
The National Capital Region (NCR) uses emergency alert and notification systems to send messages within each jurisdiction when significant events, such as weather and traffic disruptions, impact the local population. In partnership with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), CHHS assisted Montgomery County, one of the Maryland NCR jurisdictions, in its transition to an enhanced platform for their Alert Montgomery and Montgomery County Emergency Network notification systems. On May 6, 2014, CHHS planned and facilitated a workshop for Public Information Officers (PIOs) from agencies within Montgomery County. During the workshop, PIOs were able to provide input on the public ...Read More
On May 8, 2014, the CHHS Exercise and Training team carried out simultaneous exercises in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties to test Maryland’s mass casualty response.  The scenario, explosive detonations at large sports and recreation facilities in Maryland’s National Capital Region, allowed local fire, police, emergency medical services, emergency management, and coordinating agencies to test the state’s Emergency Response System when a high volume of injuries and casualties are involved. CHHS began planning efforts with regional stakeholders a year prior to the full-scale exercises.  More than 20 partners from local and state entities, as well as local hospitals, participated at ...Read More
Kicking off what looks to become an annual forum, CHHS staff supported three National Capital Region (NCR) School Emergency Preparedness Seminars this spring in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Principals and administrators from public, independent, and private K-12 schools in the NCR joined local law enforcement and emergency management officials to discuss current trends, technology, and response tactics when facing crises in schools. More than 500 people joined the three seminars, far exceeding original attendance expectations. Each seminar gave participants a chance to network, hear from public safety and emergency management experts, as well as learn from administrators ...Read More
Testing the Montgomery County Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) Point of Dispensing (POD) procedures in the event of a bioterror attack, CHHS conducted a full-scale exercise on March 28, 2014 at Damascus High School. This exercise was the first full-scale field exercise in which the County activated and operated its CRI Plan – a plan to effectively dispense mass amounts of medication to the Montgomery County population using POD sites. More than 100 county employees and volunteers participated in the exercise, which focused on a public health emergency response plan that was largely written by CHHS staff members supporting the County’s ...Read More
The CHHS Exercise and Training team recently completed an assessment of training and exercise needs for the Baltimore Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI). Staff reached out to exercise and training representatives from each UASI jurisdiction, including the cities of Baltimore and Annapolis and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, and Howard, to discuss individual and regional capabilities. From this data, CHHS staff developed training and exercise goals, and made recommendations for what future regional exercises and trainings the Baltimore UASI should sponsor over the next five years. This text was taken from the CHHS Spring 2014 Newsletter.
EOC Activations Spur CHHS Staff into Action The 2013-14 winter season dealt parts of Maryland more snow in just the first few storms than the entire previous winter. As ice and snow caused travel headaches and power outages, and an active-shooter event impacted a local shopping mall, CHHS staffers who work directly with local and state emergency management agencies supported several Emergency Operation Center (EOC) activations this winter. In the city of  Annapolis, Md., CHHS Senior Law and Policy Analyst David Mandell, in his role as a Senior Planner with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management, worked through ...Read More
In coordination with the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness, CHHS Associate Directors Amy Major and Megan Timmins recently developed and taught a series of three “Surviving a Disaster” business continuity webinars for ABA members. The webinars were built upon the content of the ABA’s guide: Surviving a Disaster: A Guide to Disaster Planning for Bar Associations, which was drafted by CHHS for the Disaster Committee. The webinar introduced participants to the basic concepts of continuity planning and addressed key planning issues for anyone in the legal profession who is interested in creating a continuity ...Read More
Conference Explores Critical Balancing Act between Public Safety and Scientific Advancement On February 10, 2014 CHHS hosted an annual public health conference in partnership with the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (MARCE). This year’s focus was on Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC), which encompasses life science research involving dangerous pathogens that could be purposefully misapplied or accidentally released into non-laboratory environments, causing harm to the public. DURC garnered a lot of attention in 2011 and 2012 following debate about the publication of scientific papers detailing information about deadly laboratory-induced mutations in the ...Read More
Longest Running CHHS Federally Funded Project Comes to an End For the past six years, CHHS has been the go-to training source when state, local, tribal, and territorial governments in the U.S. want to know how to implement Continuity of Operations (COOP) planning. More than 100 jurisdictions from Maryland to Alaska to Guam have not only learned the importance of developing plans to maintain essential functions and services following a wide range of potential disasters, but are equipped with the skills to create and implement their own comprehensive COOP plans. While business continuity planning has been around for decades, CHHS ...Read More
In 2013, the CHHS Exercise and Training team conducted eight Senior Crisis Management Seminars in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State Office of Antiterrorism Assistance. The final seminar was held for Bangladesh in College Park, Md. in November, and included participants from the country’s police and fire/first responders. As a government familiar with violent  protests and poor building codes that demand large-scale response to frequent collapses, the group sought guidance on best practices including crisis  management, violent civil disturbance response, incident command systems, critical infrastructure protection, and crisis communications. New seminars, including India, Indonesia, Lebanon, and Nigeria, are being ...Read More
CHHS Supports Development of D.C. Homeland Security Commission Annual Report The District of Columbia Homeland Security Commission (HSC) was established by the Homeland Security, Risk Reduction, and Preparedness Amendment Act of 2006. The core function of the HSC is to make recommendations for improvements in security and preparedness in the District of Columbia. Specifically, the Commission is tasked by the Mayor with gathering and evaluating information on the status of homeland  security in the District, measuring progress and gaps in homeland security preparedness, recommending security improvement priorities in consultation with major public and private entities, and advising the District government ...Read More
Planning for the Worst - CHHS Assists MD County with Mass Fatality Plan CHHS recently assisted the Anne Arundel County Department of Health and Office of Emergency Management in the creation of the Anne Arundel County Mass Fatality Plan. Although it is a subject no one likes to think about, planning for a mass fatality event is of critical importance for communities to boost their preparedness capabilities. Relying on staff expertise and national best practices, CHHS began the project by holding stakeholder meetings with county officials to determine their roles in a mass fatality event. Afterwards, a countywide planning meeting ...Read More
MD Natural Resources Police Test Port Security Technology CHHS culminated a project with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Natural Resource Police (NRP) this past fall through a full-scale exercise to assess their Maritime Law Enforcement Information Network(MLEIN). MLEIN is a port security technology that brings water patrol into the 21st century. The NRP sought out CHHS to develop a test of the system that would demonstrate interoperability among partners during a planned event, while evaluating MLEIN’s ability to enhance situational awareness and interdict unlawful activities on Maryland’s waterways. The exercise also examined how stakeholders access and receive ...Read More
Eastern Shore Interoperability Project Results in Communications Alliance CHHS recently completed a multi-year emergency communications interoperability project on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Staff supporting the project assisted with the formation and operation of the Eastern Shore Communications Alliance (ESCA) – serving the Shore’s emergency communications interoperability governance body. ESCA’s membership includes the directors of emergency services from Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester counties, as well as the town of Ocean City, Md. ESCA is dedicated to improving communications interoperability and tackling other issues facing 9-1-1 call centers and emergency managers. Laying groundwork for the Alliance, ...Read More
CHHS Helps Enhance Bar Associations’ Emergency Preparedness In coordination with the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness, CHHS recently developed a guide to help state and local bar associations and other legal services organizations enhance their emergency preparedness. The guide, entitled Surviving a Disaster: Guide to Disaster Planning for Bar Associations, is an online resource available for free to ABA Members. It provides a template and best practices for organizations to create or enhance their business continuity plans to ensure they will be able to maintain essential functions for up to 30 days following an ...Read More
CHHS Addresses Legal Issues Surrounding Public Health Response with Toolkits CHHS, working with the Olson Group, recently completed two public health toolkits for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). The goal of this project was to create public health toolkits that identified legal barriers and frameworks for common public health issues to help state leaders and public health officials improve their understanding of and ability to respond to common issues encountered in emergency public health response. Based on an extensive review of existing laws and best practices, CHHS developed issue briefs for the toolkits that discussed legal ...Read More
Traveling around the world these past few months, the CHHS Exercise and Training team continued our work with the U.S. Department of State Office of Anti-Terrorism Assistance to tailor Senior Crisis Management Seminars to the needs of five countries. In late May, CHHS Senior Policy Analyst Vernon Herron traveled to Jordan to meet with a group of senior executives representing Yemen’s police and military. The five day training utilized practical exercises, allowing participants to review case studies of actual terrorist events to identify gaps and discuss proper procedures, including the use of the Incident Command System, for future possible attacks in ...Read More
In a first for the Center, CHHS partnered with the U.S. Department of State to hold an Executive Forum entitled “Prosecuting Terrorism and Organized Crime” for a delegation of 16 judges and prosecutors from the Philippines in late July 2013. Prior to their week-long visit, CHHS worked with the Office of Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) to put together every aspect of the forum, beginning with understanding the needs of the delegation when it came to investigating and trying complex criminal cases in their homeland. The forum that resulted included discussions and panels with defense attorneys, former Central Intelligence Agency staffers, Federal ...Read More
CHHS Contributes to Future of Emergency Response in DC CHHS has finalized a two part project for the District of Columbia’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA) to develop operational procedures and guidelines. The sixty documents provided will be used to guide the decisions made by those individuals staffing various positions within the District’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) should they need to respond to a future natural disaster, manmade incident, or special event. This project resulted in two discrete types of guides: Position Specific Guides and Interagency Coordination Procedures. Position Specific Guides establish protocols for individual disciplines that ...Read More
Rockville Train Derailment Exercises CHHS conducted two exercises on June 20, 2013: one functional and one full-scale, centered around the fictional derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials in Rockville, Md. The functional exercise helped Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security test response capabilities within the county, while the full-scale included medical surge evaluations for ten area hospitals in the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems’ Region V. Each hospital experienced individualized injects to test skills that management identified as areas for improvement – ranging from an influx of patients, to emergency rooms that required decontamination, ...Read More
CHHS supported the City of Baltimore’s Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management in conducting the Baltimore Metropolitan Local Capability Exercise in April 2013. The tabletop was one of four related exercises as part of the Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, each focusing on the consequences of the explosion of a 10-kiloton nuclear device in Washington, D.C. The tabletop focused on the impacts of evacuating a population from D.C. to the Baltimore Region, and then considered impacts of nuclear fallout on the Baltimore Region. Issues included transportation and evacuation management, command and control, communications infrastructure, public messaging, and impacts to the supply ...Read More
CHHS writes and revises the Maryland Public Health Emergency Preparedness Handbook for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Scope   In 2005, CHHS worked with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to produce the Maryland Public Health Emergency Preparedness Handbook, which provided information and guidance to public health officials, hospital administrators, and county attorneys regarding the legal issues associated with a public health emergency.   The document was tailored to address Maryland state and local law, Maryland procedures, and Maryland state and local governmental structure. In the summer of 2009, DHMH asked CHHS to revise the handbook to address ...Read More
CHHS drafts COOP plans for Howard Community College in Howard County, Maryland Scope   CHHS has vast experience in creating Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans for agencies within Maryland as well as throughout the nation. This extensive experience was utilized to create COOP plans for several of the community colleges in Maryland, including Howard Community College (HCC). Results   This six month effort began in July 2009. Through an initial kick-off meeting and subsequent information-gathering meetings, CHHS collected and analyzed data to guide the administrative, academic, and operational departments of HCC in ascertaining their essential functions. Draft COOP plans were ...Read More
State partners with CHHS to develop a Maritime Strategic Security Plan to coordinate resources and streamline response. Scope   The state of Maryland relies heavily on its maritime, both commercially and recreationally. The Chesapeake Bay, along with the waterways surrounding Washington, D.C. and the back bays and tidal waters of the Eastern Shore, support a large amount of business for the state, and provide numerous rest and relaxation opportunities for residents. Protecting these waterways from terrorist attacks, as well as other disasters, is a high priority for the state. However, the maritime domain is a complicated mix of local, state, ...Read More
Tabletop exercise organized and hosted by CHHS is an overwhelming success as Baltimore City officials applaud the work of CHHS staff. Scope   CHHS' range of services includes homeland security and emergency preparedness exercises and training. In this capacity, CHHS can design, develop, plan, facilitate, and evaluate seminars, workshops, drills, and tabletop, functional, and full-scale exercises to better prepare your organization for an emergency. Seminars, workshops, and tabletop exercises are discussion-based; drills, along with functional and full-scale exercises, are operations-based.  Baltimore City approached CHHS to design a tabletop exercise aimed at preparing top officials for a possible H1N1 pandemic. CHHS ...Read More
Two-year project with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene completes mass fatality planning for facilities across the state. Scope   Over the past two years, CHHS has worked with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to conduct mass fatality planning at the facilities that agency directly operates throughout the state.  CHHS staffers worked in two phases on this project, which culminated in the production of mass fatality plans for each facility and a report that outlined how DHMH might proceed in the future to make these plans stronger and coordinated.  First, CHHS surveyed the 14 DHMH facilities ...Read More
CHHS Provides Business Impact Analysis Assessment and Template Prior to developing a continuity plan, a business or public organization should complete a business impact analysis. A business impact analysis provides background for the planning effort by identifying the likely impacts of various types of disruptions to normal operations. CHHS assessed the agency’s business impact analysis and incorporated the findings into its continuity planning for the agency. CHHS developed a new template for the agency to conduct future business impact analyses that would allow each sector of operations to rank the impacts of interruption to operations. CHHS incorporated information provided by ...Read More
Hospital Increases Preparedness with CHHS-led Trainings and Exercises Scope   CHHS was hired to provide Hospital Incident Command System (HICS) training to the staff at Doctors Community, and then evaluate the staff’s application of that training during a tabletop exercise. HICS is a specialty derivative of the Incident Command System (ICS) which brings the structured response of the latter system into the health care realm. HICS is the predominant and accepted best practice for emergency preparedness and response in hospitals, and various funding and accreditations may be tied to a hospital’s staff being trained in it. Results   CHHS staffers ...Read More
Downtown Graduate Campus Augments Emergency Preparedness with CHHS COOP Plan Scope   UMB tapped CHHS in 2007 to create Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans that would cover each of the campus’ six professional schools - Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dental, Social Work and Law - as well as the campus offices and departments that support them. These COOP plans would ensure the continuity of the UMB’s essential functions across a wide range of emergencies and events and they will help the campus function after a disaster by providing consistency of services to the educational community and the public it serves. The ...Read More
CHHS Comes on Board to Increase Regional Emergency Preparedness and Collaboration Scope   In 2007, the UAWG requested the expertise of CHHS to assist in the development of regional applications for new funding, to develop and maintain regional strategic security plans and assessments, and to provide other regional project management and support as required. The success of this original working relationship has prompted the UAWG to request the expansion of the services and support the Center provides to the Working Group to two full-time and two part-time CHHS staff members. Results   Today, the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) ...Read More
CHHS Writes, Tests Plans to Help Statewide Court System Deliver Essential Services During Emergencies Scope   The Maryland Judiciary contracted with CHHS in October 2006 to develop Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans for all District and Circuit Courts in Maryland, as well as for the Court of Appeals, the Court of Special Appeals, the Administrative Office of the Courts, and District Court Headquarters. The Judiciary’s COOP plans provide a framework for the Maryland Courts to resume temporary operation of essential court functions within 12 hours following a natural or man-made emergency and to continue performing these functions for two weeks ...Read More