Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Open House - Friday, July 18th

You are invited to attend the
Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center

Open House

3888 Sound Way, Bellingham, WA

Friday, July 18, 2014

10:00 Gathering

10:15 Welcome and Remarks

~Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws

~Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville

~Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo

~Bellingham Fire Chief, Bill Newbold

~Port of Bellingham Real Estate Director, Shirley McFearin

10:50 Ribbon Cutting

11:00 Refreshments / Self-Guided Tours

**Parking is provided by the Port of Bellingham. 

**Please park in the lot west of the Center. Signage and attendants will be on hand.

Whatcom Unified Emergency Coordination Center is a partnership with Whatcom County, the City of Bellingham, and the Port of Bellingham.  This unique center stands ready to provide the base for multiagency coordination in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters affecting Whatcom County.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

April 15th COAD Meeting Summary

April 15, 2014

Attendees:  Hollie Moe (Volunteer Center/RSVP), Mallory Graving (Saturna Capital), John Lieberherr (Whatcom County Search & Rescue Council), Chalice Dew-Johnson (WCSO-DEM/WUEM)

COAD Speaker Series Presenter - Hollie Moe, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program Director, with the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County.  Hollie gave an excellent presentation on who the Volunteer Center of Whatcom County is, what types of services and programs they provide, and how they engage and provide support in times of disasters.
New Business: 
·            Mallory Graving is still waiting to receive confirmations from a couple Speaker Series presenters for this next round of presentations.  Once she has those confirmations, she plans to complete the Speaker Series flyer for the months of May, June, July and September.  COAD is not holding a meeting in August, therefore there is no speaker scheduled for that month. 
·            Chalice Dew-Johnson plans to add links to the COAD blog for the Speaker Series presentations from January, February, March and April.  She still needs to collect 2 of the 4 presentations and get some technical support to make this happen. 

 Next Meeting: May 20th 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 18th COAD Meeting Summary

March 18, 2014
Attendees: Mavis Dalzell (Red Cross), Chalice Dew-Johnson (WCSO-DEM/WUEM), Kristina Glasgow (Northwest Regional Council), Hollie Moe (Volunteer Center/RSVP), Noriko Lao (Red Cross, Garden Street United Methodist Church), Wallace Kost (WSCO-DEM), Mallory Graving (Saturna Capital), Sherin Vanderyacht (Pacific Surveying and Engineering), Tom Schultz( CSS Communication), Mario Bonilla (LDS), George Edward (WECU), Nicole Enslow (CHS), Patrick Hurley (Downtown Bellingham Partnership), Bertella Hansen (Ferndale Downtown), Russ Westin (Grange).
COAD Speaker Series Presenter Mallory Graving from Saturna Capital gave an excellent presentation on Preparedness for Small Businesses.  A summary of her presentation will be posted on the COAD blog.
New Business:
·            The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) made calls to the COAD member organizations for two reasons: 1) to invite COAD members to be a speaker for the next round of the COAD speaker series presentations and 2) to offer an opportunity for COAD member organizations to host an individual and family preparedness session.  Hollie Moe reported that RSVP was not able to schedule any individual and family preparedness sessions, however there was success in scheduling speakers for the speaker series presentations at our COAD meetings.  So far, we have The Bellingham Ambulatory Service for May, the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) for June, WESNIP for July and Washington State Animal Response Team for September.  If no one else contacts us about Oct and Nov, the Red Cross and Whatcom Unified Emergency Management (WUEM) will take those months.  

·            The LDS is planning a Preparedness Workshop in September.  LDS invited all COAD members to participate in the workshop and would like COAD members to have preparedness booths if they are interested.   Both the Red Cross and WUEM plan to participate.  It was suggested that we reach out to our COAD member Animal Groups and invite them to participate.   

Next Meeting: April 15th 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Friday, March 7, 2014

February 18th COAD Meeting Summary

February 18, 2014

Attendees: Mavis Dalzell (Red Cross), Chalice Dew-Johnson (WCSO/WUEM), Kristina Glasgow (Northwest Regional Council), Hollie Moe (Whatcom Volunteer Center), Noriko Lo (Red Cross, Garden Street United Methodist Church), Wayne Chaudiere (Whatcom Conservation District), Don Chumley (COAD), Wallace Kost (WSCO), Mallory Graving (Saturna Capital), Brian Lawler (ACS)

Brian Lawler from the Whatcom County Auxiliary Community Service gave an excellent presentation. A summary of his notes will be posted on the COAD blog.
New Business:
Holly suggested that she have volunteers call our COAD members to see if they want to do a presentation for our Speaker Series and also to see if they are interested in a Preparedness Workshop. We agreed that this was a good idea. She will coordinate with Chalice on the wording to give her volunteers for their calls.

There was a discussion on how to increase the attendance at our Speaker Series. Since our next speaker is Saturna Capital, Mavis is going to call Patrick Hurley and see if he will spread the word to the Bellingham business community and Chalice is going to contact the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce.

Next Meeting: March 18th 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Monday, November 4, 2013

October 15th COAD Meeting Summary

Oct 15, 2013

Attendees: Mavis Dalzell (Red Cross), Chalice Dew-Johnson (WCSO/WUEM), Chuck Keiper (ACS, ARES),  Kristina Glasgow (Northwest Regional Council), Hollie Moe (Whatcom Volunteer Center),  Maggie Albert (CERT, Medical Reserve Corps), Bob Jacobson (CERT), Natalie Chavez (Community Representative), Noriko Lo (Red Cross, Garden Street United Methodist Church), Charles Law (Roosevelt Neighborhood Assoc.),

Plans for 2014

·        Discussions continued for the 2014 COAD plans:
  • Chalice brought copies of the letter she drafted to send out to COAD members. Suggestions were made for changes and Chalice is going to create another draft for the approval of the group at our next meeting. 
  • Hollie agreed to be the contact for COAD members who want to schedule Preparedness Presentations for their group.
  • Both the Red Cross and CERT are willing to do the Preparedness Presentations. Groups could also have CERT trainings if they want.
  • We discussed the flyer that Mallory created about our Speaker Series. Mavis is going to discuss with her the changes that were put forth. Mavis will ask Mallory if she is willing to be the contact person for COAD members wanting to do a presentation.

New Business:

·        The suggestion was made that we might consider sponsoring a guest speaker. We decided to wait and see how much response we get from our other plans before we decide.

·        We will not have a meeting in December 2013. Mavis will book the room at the HEC for the 2014 calendar year.
Next Meeting: November 19th 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

September 17th COAD Meeting Summary

September 17, 2013
Attendees: Mavis Dalzell (Red Cross), Chalice Dew-Johnson (WCSO/WUEM), Brian Lawler (ARES), Wayne Chaudiere (Whatcom Conservation District), Lawana Chapman (FCSC, Senior Center, United Church of Ferndale),  Kristina Glasgow (Northwest Regional Council), Hollie Moe (Whatcom Volunteer Center), Mallory Gravine (Saturna Capital), Maggie Albert (CERT, Medical Reserve Corps)

Plans for 2014

Possible projects for 2014:
  • Invite a COAD member each month to talk about their group, what they do, what help they could provide during a disaster, do they have preparedness plans for their group. 
  • Contact all COAD members and encourage them to recruit new groups to join COAD. We would give the COAD members talking points and direction.
  • Have a disaster preparedness education meeting twice/year – possibly using CERT and/or Red Cross to make the presentations.
  • Try a disaster preparedness outreach program to COAD members again using CERT and/or Red Cross. Whatcom Volunteer Center (RSVP) might be able to help coordinate the scheduling. We need further discussions on this to talk to all of the parties involved.
  • Mallory is going to design a flyer to cover the first 3 topics and send it to Mavis and Chalice for input. Chalice will design the letter to be sent with the flyer attached. Both the letter and flyer will be discussed at the next meeting.
  • We will try to plan 3-6 months in advance so COAD members will know what is happening at future meetings.
  • Continue to have a COAD presence at Business Seminars/Conventions to provide information on Business and Individual preparedness.

Other Business:

  • Wayne talked about the involvement of the Water Conservation District in Firewise, a national program in which people take precautions to reduce their exposure to wildfires. He is available to conduct presentations for communities at risk.
  • Lawana presented a list of all of the Churches in Ferndale with contact information available. She sent a copy to Geri Chumley.  It might be a good idea to include the list in the binder with our COAD Resources.
  • Chalice mentioned that WUEM is hosting training on Oct 16th to train managers for the Community Points of Distribution (CPOD).  Course registration deadline is Oct 10th. For more details contact Chalice at 360-676-6681.
Next Meeting: October 15, 3:00pm-4:30pm


Monday, September 9, 2013

After Action Report & Improvement Plan - June 2013 TableTop

Operation Helping Hand 2013
After Action Report & Improvement Plan
Executive Summary

Executive Summary
This After Action Report/ Improvement Plan (AAR/IP) was produced with input, advice, and assistance of the Operation Helping Hand 2013 exercise planning team, which followed the guidance set forth in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP). 
Scope & Objectives / Target Capabilities
Emphasize the role of COAD volunteers in assisting County Emergency Management in the event of a countywide disaster. Capabilities-based planning focuses on planning under uncertainty because the next danger or disaster can never be forecast with complete accuracy.
The capabilities drilled were selected by the Operation Helping Hand 2013 Exercise Planning Team. These capabilities provide the foundation for development of the exercise design objectives and scenario. The purpose of this exercise is to measure and validate performance of these capabilities and their associated critical tasks. The selected target capabilities are:
Mass Care
Volunteer Management
Economic and Community Recovery 
The purpose of this report is to analyze exercise results, identify strengths to be maintained and built upon, identify potential areas for further improvement, and support development of corrective actions.
Major Strengths
Major strengths identified during this exercise are as follows:
·   A detailed and realistic exposure to an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) logistics support and how COAD fits into this.
·   The strong relationship between volunteer organizations, first responders, and the community as a whole.
·   A stronger understanding of the process of the need, activation, and utilization of COAD.
·   The Stellar turn out of the COAD members.
Primary areas for improvement identified during this exercise are as follows:
·   The need of further basic Incident Command System training.
·   More, in depth training is needed; everything cannot be covered in 2 ½ hours or less of training. Drills, functional exercises, and participation in a full scale exercise would be helpful.
·    Numerous participants requested longer training time, a different time of the day for training, more people invited..
Exercise Start & End Date
June 18, 2013
1 1/2 hours
Saint Joseph’s Hospital- Bellingham, WA
Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management
and Whatcom Unified Emergency Management
County Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
Scenario Type
Operation Helping Hand 2013 was a multimedia, facilitated exercise. Players  participated in the following three modules:
Module 1: Briefing and Start
Module 2: Initial Response
Module 3: Ongoing Operations and Ending
Each module started with a multimedia update that summarizes key events occurring within that time period. After the inject has been handed to a participant, participants review the situation and engage in a functional response of what they would actually do. Operation Helping Hand 2013 functional groups was as follows:
·         Non-Governmental Organizations
     ·         County
     ·         City
     ·         Emergency Management

Assumptions and Artificialities

In any exercise a number of assumptions and artificialities are necessary to complete play in the time allotted.
·         The scenario was plausible, and events occurred as they were presented
·         There was no “hidden agenda”, nor any trick questions.
·         Players received information and played it as a real event.
·         The date was  November 8th, 2013.
It started with a briefing of players.  The briefing included basic information on exercise format and play that includes:
3:00-3:20 PM- Incident briefing- Set the stage and answers questions
 ·        Housekeeping issues addressed
·        Key responders are presented with the problem. 
·        Actions and decisions by responders per established plans and protocols will
      drive the exercise forward.
·        Exercise play will continue until the designated time expires.
·       At the end of the day each participant will be asked to complete a Participant Feedback Form. The form is seeking three positive outcomes and three areas of improvement.
Exercise Play
3:20-3:30 PM
Scenario: Tuesday, November 8, 2013. It’s a rainy fall day in Whatcom County. Western Washington has experienced severe flooding for the last two weeks with more rain in the forecast. Today, a total of 5 counties have made disaster declarations .
3:35-3:50 PM

Scenario: Two Days Later. At this point, 11 counties have made disaster declarations; two major urban centers have been substantially impacted. Many acres of agricultural land were washed over and numerous dairy farms flooded. It is estimated that more than 50 citizens were killed and/or injured and another 60,000 have been displaced from their homes State wide. The Governor calls a special meeting to discuss the status of the storms and on-going response efforts, and calls on county/ city governments to initiate long-term recovery plans.
Later that day, WCSO-DEM stands up an EOC and requests COAD presences. Unified Command at the EOC has established goals of returning the 35 displaced residents to their homes quickly or providing suitable temporary housing, reopening businesses in a timely fashion that were affected by flooding in Bellingham/ Ferndale, and strategic use volunteers as soon as possible.
3:55-4:00 PM
Scenario: Two weeks later. The Governor will request a Presidential Declaration of a Disaster for the State of Washington. Federal funds will come but it will take some time to be available to the state. Considerable additional funding will be needed to meet recovery needs, but for the time being needs must be met, and damage assessment given to the state.
Scenario: Six months later. Most displaced residents are now in permanent housing. Repair to damaged businesses in Bellingham and Ferndale is still underway. Infrastructure repair and rebuilding continues. Eighty percent of businesses have reopened but some still struggle. Programs are ongoing and additional funding requests are still pending.
4:00-4:05 PM
Exercise Hot Wash (exercise play, decisions, and actions will be reviewed as a group).
Name: Patrick Hurley
Agency: Mt. Baker Red Cross
Name: Mallory Graving
Agency: Saturna Capital
Name: Kent Catlin
Agency: Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Division of Emergency Management

Participating Organizations
  • Acme Presbyterian Church
  • Adventist Community Services
  • Bellingham Police Department
  • Bellingham Surgery Center
  • Bellingham Technical College
  • CERT
  • Christ the King Community Church
  • COAD
  • Department of Social and Health Services
  • Garden Street UMC
  • Mac and Mac Electric
  • Medical Reserve Corps
  • Plush Pooch Palace
  • Whatcom County Amateur Radio
  • Whatcom County Sheriff’s Division of Emergency Management
  • Whatcom Fire District # 11
  • Whatcom Unified  Emergency  Management
  • Whatcom Volunteer Center
  • Mt. Baker Chapter of the Red Cross
  • United Church of Ferndale
  • Saturna Capital
  • Search and Rescue Council 
·         Players: 48
·         Controller/ Evaluator:1
·         Facilitators:1
As a part of this review, areas for improvement have been identified, as well as many documented strengths. Over all it was agreed upon that the TTX successfully reflected the need for ongoing training as well as role playing practice for COAD members.
The strong points of the table top that were routinely mentioned in the evaluation process included:
·       A detailed and realistic exposure to an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) planning/ administration of COAD.
      ·    The strong relationship between volunteer organizations, first
         responders, and the community as a whole.
·       A stronger understanding of the process of producing COAD activation.
·       An excellent investment in developing an emergency volunteer cadre.
     ·         A timely drill that was needed.
The areas of concern that were recognized during the exercise were:
 ·   The need of further basic Incident Command System training.
 ·   More, in depth training is needed; everything cannot be covered in 2 ½
   hours or less of training.
·     Numerous participants requested in the future more time spent in training.
   More participants invited. An equal number wanted fewer.
·    Better effort at removing acronyms from the presentation.
·    Concern over if major participants are not able to respond, that the system
   could still be activated/ managed.
The specifics of these finding can be found in the listed Improvement Plan below.

These recommendations draw on both the After Action Report, the After
Action Conference, and participant feedback forms.

Primary Responsible Agency
Start Date
Target Completion Date
Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Management
Resource Coordination
Capability to provide management by activating and operating an EOC for a pre-planned or no-notice event.
Build a list of back-up COAD Facilitators to assist in the coordination and integration of COAD.
1) When time commitment allows, designate training for further COAD drills/ exercises  to better prepare COAD members for seamless cooperation with the EOC.
When time/ allow make further investments in developing more COAD leadership to assist with COAD activation.
Chalice Dew Johnson
Active COAD Membership
As time allow
As time allow
As of 2014
As of 2014