Homeland Security Plan for Iowa State University Extension Field Offices

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1 Homeland Security Plan for Iowa State University Extension Field Offices Homeland security covers natural disaster events such as a flood, drought, or winter storm, as well as terrorist events from a physical, economic, or biological attack. It also covers unintentional disasters such as an industrial release, railroad derailment, or building fire. An organization such as Iowa State University Extension has four different stages of homeland security activity: preparedness, identification, response, and recovery. Each stage has distinctive tasks and challenges that use the unique resources available from ISU Extension. This plan describes these homeland security activities and outlines procedures that prepare ISU Extension for effectively handling events that impact homeland security. The Regional Extension Education Director is responsible for implementing the homeland security plan. Additional resources to assist with homeland security are located in Addendum 1. Preparedness The first stage of homeland security activity is preparedness. Developing, testing, and maintaining a plan for handling unexpected events involving homeland security will yield a fast and effective response. Issues of homeland security require this level of participation before an event occurs. ISU Extension staff should complete these steps, and periodically check and update them. 1. Form a personal contact and a working relationship with identified key emergency personnel in the county. Those contacts should include but are not restricted to the county emergency disaster coordinator, law enforcement, first responders, health professionals, veterinarians, industrial safety coordinators, and school administrators. 2. Participate in the inventory of vulnerabilities in your county. These potential vulnerabilities can involve events or facilities that have large populations present (county fairs, sporting events, conferences, or manufacturing plants). These vulnerabilities also can include our food system (commodity production, processing operations, or warehousing facilities) or water systems (local reservoir or water processing plants). 3. Know how to recruit a base of volunteers who would assist during the response and recovery stages. Page 1 of 8 November 2009

2 4. Review and develop security plans for events that ISU Extension leads and look at security plans for events where ISU Extension is a partner. 5. Monitor alert systems. a. Homeland Security Advisory system: The descriptions of the five conditions identified by the advisory system are provided in Addendum 2. b. National Weather Service system: National Weather Service for Quad Cities, Iowa: National Weather Service for Des Moines, Iowa: The descriptions of the severe weather conditions identified by the National Weather Service are provided in Addendum Receive and support periodic training for homeland security. Identification The second stage of homeland security activity is identification. A basic element for minimizing loss during a homeland security event is rapid identification that an event has occurred. That translates into knowing when something unusual is occurring within the local community. Since ISU Extension staff members are traveling throughout the community and interacting with various industries, producers, organizations, and groups, they may be the first to identify potential disturbances to homeland security. Handling of this information is critical so as not to create a public panic or neglect vital signs that require action. ISU Extension staff should be familiar with these steps and be able to implement them when needed. 1. Staff should report suspicious or unusual events such as a plant disease not normally found in the area, numerous requests from livestock producers about similar problems, or a suspicious request for information. A. If a security issue is identified, then open essential communication links as defined in the county preparedness plan. B. If a security issue is suspected but not confirmed, open essential communication links as defined in the county preparedness plan and continue to monitor developing conditions. Page 2 of 8 November 2009

3 2. Designate a staff person to follow up on security issues and act as the point of contact for ISU Response Extension. The third stage of homeland security activity is response. While a homeland security event is unfolding and until control of the event has been established, the two-way communication of information becomes paramount. ISU Extension s localized connections to Iowans provide an effective channel of grassroots communication. Questions, concerns, and facts can be collected and channeled to appropriate agencies including ISU Extension. Alerts, information, and procedures from government agencies can be disseminated through the grassroots connection. 1. Establish and maintain an open communication channel to appropriate agencies and attend event debriefing sessions as necessary. 2. Clarify reallocation of staff assignments that may be necessary during the event. 3. Recruit and engage volunteers to supplement staff demands caused by the event. 4. Assess the needs from the county and convey those through the established key communication channels in the county or back to requesting agencies. 5. Relocation of the current extension office may need to be coordinated with the Emergency Management personnel, Regional Directors, and Vice President for Extension. 6. Document approaches used during the response for process improvements evaluation conducted at a later date. Recovery The fourth and final stage of homeland security activity is recovery. Recovery from an event will be a long process and will require local staff members who know and understand the communities and how they function. Impacted areas will require grassroots interaction, education, and assistance. ISU Extension can mobilize expertise with youth, families, agriculture, businesses, and communities to impacted areas. Since this is a long-term process, the approach will require developing a new or revised plan of work for recovery caused by an event. If multiple counties are involved in the same event, then an area or state plan of work may be developed. Page 3 of 8 November 2009

4 Addendum 1 Additional Resources Resources listed below were identified as containing significant information for handling homeland security events. Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) EDEN links Extension educators from across the United States and various disciplines -- so they can use and share resources to reduce the impact of disasters. From food safety to field safety, from the physical to the psychological, and from governmental process to community development, EDEN has resources you can use. ISU Extension is a partner in EDEN. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) FEMA is an independent federal agency with a headquarters in Washington, D.C., and regional and area offices across the country. FEMA also has nearly 4,000 standby disaster assistance employees who are available to help after disasters. Often FEMA works in partnership with other organizations that include state and local emergency management agencies, 27 federal agencies, and American Red Cross. Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness (UMCPHP) The Upper Midwest Center for Public Health Preparedness (UMCPHP) is one of 52 Centers for Public Health Preparedness funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. UMCPHP serves the Upper Midwest and was established to strengthen the capacity of the public health workforce to respond to bioterrorism and other public health emergencies. ISU Extension is a collaborator in the center. Iowa Concern Iowa Concern is one hotline answered all hours and all days for Iowans to receive information about stress counseling, financial questions, caring for yourself and others, legal issues, overcoming adversity, and family transitions. This ISU Extension resource is accessible by telephone at (800) and Telecommunications Device for Deaf Persons at (800) Page 4 of 8 November 2009

5 Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) plans for and responds to both natural and human-caused disasters. The Division helps to coordinate activities before, during and after emergencies through partnerships with local, state, federal and private agencies. The Division s main objectives are to preserve life and reduce the impact of disasters. The telephone number is (515) ISU Extension Disaster Recovery ISU Extension has extensive resources developed for disasters that include information on crop, trees, water and wells, housing, stress, and emergency tips. During major disasters, newly developed and event-specific resources may be posted. Center for Food Security and Public Health The mission of the Center for Food Security and Public Health is to increase national preparedness for accidental or intentional introduction of disease agents that threaten food production or public health. The Center integrates veterinary medicine and expertise in zoonotic diseases with the ongoing activities and needs of the Centers for Disease Control. Addendum 2 Homeland Security Threat Conditions To improve coordination and communication among all levels of government and the public in the fight against terrorism, the President of the United States created the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS). This system provides a framework for the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Homeland Security, to assign threat conditions, which can be applied nationally, regionally, by sector, or to a potential target. The HSAS establishes the following five threat conditions and suggested protective measures: Condition Green Condition Green represents a low risk of terrorist attack. The following protective measures may be applied: refining and exercising preplanned protective measures; ensuring personnel receive training on HSAS, departmental, or agency-specific protective measures; and regularly assessing facilities for vulnerabilities and taking measures to reduce them. Page 5 of 8 November 2009

6 Condition Blue Condition Yellow Condition Orange Condition Red Condition Blue represents a general risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously outlined protective measures, the following may be applied: checking communications with designated emergency response or command locations; reviewing and updating emergency response procedures; and providing the public with necessary information. Condition Yellow represents a significant risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously outlined protective measures, the following may be applied: increasing surveillance of critical locations; coordinating emergency response plans with nearby jurisdictions; assessing further refinement of protective measures within the context of the current threat information; and implementing, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans. Condition Orange represents a high risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously outlined protective measures, the following may be applied: coordinating necessary security efforts with armed forces or law enforcement agencies; taking additional precautions at public events; preparing to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed workforce; and restricting access to essential personnel only. Condition Red represents a severe risk of terrorist attack. In addition to the previously outlined protective measures, the following may be applied: assigning emergency response personnel and pre-positioning specially trained teams; monitoring, redirecting, or constraining transportation systems; closing public and government facilities; and increasing or redirecting personnel to address critical emergency needs. Page 6 of 8 November 2009

7 Addendum 3 National Weather Service Terminology The National Weather Service (NWS) and other meteorological professionals can use the following terminology to describe weather conditions. Warning Short-Fuse Warning Watch High Risk Moderate Risk Slight Risk A product issued by NWS local offices indicating that a particular weather hazard is either imminent or has been reported. A warning indicates the need to take action to protect life and property. The type of hazard is reflected in the type of warning (e.g., tornado warning, blizzard warning). A warning that is issued by the NWS for a local weather hazard of relatively short duration. Short-fuse warnings include tornado warnings, severe thunderstorm warnings, and flash flood warnings. Tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings typically are issued for periods of an hour or less, flash flood warnings typically for three hours or less. An NWS product indicating that a particular hazard is possible, i.e., conditions are more favorable than usual for its occurrence. A watch is a recommendation for planning, preparation, and increased awareness (i.e., to be alert for changing weather, listen for further information, and think about what to do if the danger materializes). Severe weather is expected to affect more than 10 percent of the area. A high risk is rare, and implies an unusually dangerous situation and usually the possibility of a major severe weather outbreak. Severe weather is expected to affect between 5 and 10 percent of the area. A moderate risk indicates the possibility of a significant severe weather episode. Severe weather is expected to affect between 2 and 5 percent of the area. A slight risk generally implies that severe weather events are expected to be isolated. Red Watch (Red Box) Slang used for a tornado watch. Blue Watch (Blue Box) Slang used for a severe thunderstorm watch. Page 7 of 8 November 2009

8 Severe Thunderstorm A thunderstorm that produces tornadoes, hail 0.75 inches or more in diameter, or winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or more. Structural wind damage may imply the occurrence of a severe thunderstorm. Fujita Scale (F Scale) All tornadoes, and most other severe local windstorms, are assigned a single number from this scale according to the most intense damage caused by the storm. F0 (weak): F1 (weak): F2 (strong): F3 (strong): mph, light damage mph, moderate damage mph, considerable damage mph, severe damage F4 (violent): mph, devastating damage F5 (violent): mph, (rare) incredible damage For More Information For more information, contact the Office of the Associate Vice President for Extension and Outreach, 2150 Beardshear Hall, Ames, IA , (515) and justice for all The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, SW, Washington, DC or call gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and Many materials can be made available in alternative formats for ADA June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. clients. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Office of Civil Jack M. Payne, director, Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa State Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, University of Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa. SW, Washington, DC or call Page 8 of 8 November 2009

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