RCC Meeting Notes – May 9, 2018

Meeting Summary – May 9, 2018

Houston Emergency Center, Room 2081– 10:00am


Brazoria County: Glenn LaMont

City of Houston: Melanie Bartis, Shelli Carter, Elizabeth Farnham, Ian Feldman, Rick Flanagan, Jared Granberry, Melanie Manville, Jonathan Wiggins 

Fort Bend County: Doug Barnes, Jeff Braun, Charity Dominguez, Kristina Francis, Lach Mullen

Galveston County: Garret Foskit, Alyssa Young

Harris County: Lindsey Drouet, Bill Wheeler

Houston-Galveston Area Council: Adriana Lopez, Justin Riley

Metro: Mike Riggs

Montgomery County: Miranda Hahs, Cynthia Jamieson

Port of Houston: Colin Rizzo


Welcome and Introductions:

Meeting was called to order at 10:02 am by Jeff Braun.  Introductions were conducted and the sign-in-sheet was passed around.

Work Group Updates:

  • Emergency Public Information & Warning (Mullen)
    • EPIW did not meet for the month of May. The workgroup is currently working on a plan for updating the Regional Emergency Public Information Plan (EPIP).
      • The group will use previous AARs and recent exercises to build a roadmap for the re-write of the plan.
      • The schedule for the re-write will be sent out as it is determined.
    • Planners Workgroup (Francis)
      • Planners Workgroup met last on May 8, 2018 at the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management.
        • Regional plans, the next Peer Planning Workshop, and planning section products (e. what each jurisdiction does in the planning section, what documents they produce, how they are helpful, how they can be better) were discussed during the meeting.
        • Mel Bartis (COH) and Brian Murray (HC) will be presenting at the TDEM conference related to their respective planning sections during Hurricane Harvey.
      • Regional Recovery Workgroup (Wiggins)
        • The workgroup anticipates having a final draft of their recovery template within the next few months.
        • They are working with the exercise workgroup to put together a basic recovery tabletop exercise, loosely based on FEMA’s Recovery VTTX.
          • This exercise will be pushed out locally to individual jurisdictions rather than one large regional exercise.
        • The next meeting will occur the week of May 21, 2018.
      • Technology Workgroup
        • Alert FM (Jamieson)
          • No updates. Montgomery County still has ownership.
        • Digital Sandbox (Feldman)
          • Digital Sandbox (DSB) used their mobile reporting application in an April exercise with positive review.
            • Feedback is currently being compiled into an AAR.
            • The Texas State Guard would like to continue to use the application for damage assessments.
            • The application should be available in the next update of DSB.
            • This application is bigger picture and for situational awareness, it is not specific but is still useful to narrow down areas for more specific damage assessments.
          • Evacuation Tracking Network (Farnham)
            • The official contract with Radiant has ended and there is a gradual movement to ETN.
            • ETN is currently making changes to the system but nothing that will significantly change the system.
          • I-Info (Jamieson)
            • Information from I-Info was separated May 10, 2018 and emailed out to the appropriate stakeholders. If you are missing information or have concerns, email Cynthia Jamieson (jamieson@mctx.gov).
          • Jetty (Mullen)
            • The Jetty renewal agreement is going through the purchasing process. The region is waiting on Jetty for two additional projects; theme development for the region and system enhancements.
              • Theme development offers each jurisdiction an opportunity to customize their website.
              • The technology workgroup worked to map the entire Jetty system (something Jetty has yet to do themselves). The workgroup identified many gaps and presented Jetty a list of system enhancements to begin working toward.
              • Mullen participates in weekly check-in calls with Jetty.
          • WebEOC (Feldman/Bartis)
            • Walker is currently at the Intermedix Conference.
            • Continuous advocacy is needed on the region’s behalf to facilitate changes in WebEOC.
            • The WebEOC workgroup meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 18, 2018 at 10:00 am at the TDEM conference.
  • Training and Exercise (Manville)
    • Training Opportunities
      • There are many upcoming training opportunities available in the region.
      • The Situational Awareness class has dropped to $125 in price.
        • The class comes highly recommended and is EOC focused. The participant will leave the class with a usb of related materials.

Other Updates:

  • Grants (Bartis)
    • FY2015 – projects are almost closed out with some jurisdictions already closed.
    • FY2016 – approaching the closeout date.
    • FY2016 and FY2017 – have small project reallocation windows.
      • FY2016 will re-open in June for reallocation.
      • FY2017 reallocation deadline has passed.
    • FY2018 – the Notice of Opportunity is expected within the month of May.
      • There are indicators that the region will receive less money than previous years.
      • This year’s budget was estimated on last year’s funding. If the region receives less money, projects will have to be reviewed again by the executive committee.  Some projects may be reduced in funding or cut completely.
    • THIRA/SPR (Francis for Belcher)
      • Hurricane and flooding scenarios will be re-written this year.
        • Hurricane: conducting modeling to be able to better determine impacts based on population and infrastructure growth since the last modeling.
          • After the modeling is complete, the planning team will re-write the impacts from the THIRA to correspond with the modeling.
          • A meeting for the region will be hosted to help the planning team verify the impacts.
        • Flooding: the team is still working on building the survey to help capture impacts from Harvey. A sample survey will be sent out for feedback once the planning team has it in a workable format. Once the impacts have been synthesized, a meeting will be hosted to validate those impacts as well.
      • FEMA is still in the process of change the methodology. The changes they are making will require more work from our stakeholders so the plan is to start THIRA/ SPR meetings in June.
        • More information on dates and meetings to follow as they are scheduled.
      • HGAC (Riley)
        • The de-obligation period for SHSP is in June.
          • FY2016 – there is an estimated $112,000 that is being de-obligated and up for re-allocation.
          • FY2017 – there is an estimated $1,800 that is being de-obligated.
          • RHSCC will meet in June to determine the re-allocation strategy.
          • FY2018 – RHSCC met in March to vote on the 2018 priority list that was submitted to eGrants.
        • There is an upcoming regime change in HGAC as the current executive director is retiring on June 1, 2018. The new director is committed to bringing emergency management together, supporting regional projects, and improving both transparency and visibility.
        • HGAC is partnering with Tina Rose to conduct a planning assessment (not to replace the RCPI planning assessment). The goal is to take the planning gaps from the SPR, validating gaps, seeing where a regional plan may be able to fill a need or gap (in planning equipment etc.).  The parameters of the project are still being discussed.
      • MACC (Wiggins)
        • During Harvey, the MACC was primarily used to gain situational awareness by regional partners.
        • There was a multi-jurisdictional meeting in early May to discuss an update to the MACC plan, including a focus on how it can better incorporate situation awareness rather than majorly focusing on resource matching. Also discussed were:
          • Triggers for stopping the regional calls when they become ineffective.
          • How incident type and impact may affect the way the MACC is used (e. resource matching vs. situational awareness).
        • Wiggins will update the plan and job aids via the feedback received. There will not be a follow-up meeting; however, Wiggins will reach out to specific stakeholders for more assistance as necessary.
      • Regional Plans (Bartis and Francis for Rose)
        • The Regional Plan Reference Guide is in the final stages. Feedback from planners and other stakeholders have been incorporated.  The draft will be sent out again for review, any comments/concerns can be emailed to Tina Rose (rose@houstontx.gov). The Reference Guide will be a living document, as plans are updated, the relevant information in the Reference Guide will be updated as well.
        • There are currently two plan re-writes underway; (1) the merger of the Hurricane and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Search and Rescue (SAR) ConOps and (2) the Regional Mass Fatality ConOps.
          • TDEM has some discussion over the merger of the IED and Hurricane SAR ConOps.
          • The Coast Guard is simultaneously coordinating a collaboration of key SAR stakeholders in the region to move forward with the operational scope. There is discussion to involve the Coast Guard SAR collaboration with the red team review of the SAR merger.
        • Edits from the Coordination of Multiple Incident Sites (CMIS) ConOps exercise have not been finalized yet.
        • The Texas Gulf Coast Regional VOAD is hosting a workshop June 13, 2018 focusing on Family Assistance Centers (FAC) after a mass fatality incident. John Fudenberg, the Clark County coroner will speak about his time as coroner during the 2017 Las Vegas mass fatality incident.

General Discussion:

  • Air Operations (Foskit)
    • The Coast Guard came out with an Air Ops de-confliction plan in response to the major air confliction during Hurricane Ike. The de-confliction plan was used so well in the Houston area that Corpus Christi has come up with a similar plan.
      • It contains a map with locations, air pads, good landing zones, support for airframes etc.
      • A goal is to get other counties involved in the plan, especially those who have airspace and air operations.
      • The FAA rules concerning drones in airspace needs to be addressed.
    • There needs to be a discussion at the regional level of who is using UAVs (Braun).
  • As part of the Big City Emergency Management (BCEM) program in Seattle, Bartis worked on a project that built out a “game” called Operation High Water (Bartis).
    • This “game” can be used during emergency management related presentations with an engaged audience. There are role player cards, a facilitator guide, and an accompanying presentation with three modules (pre-storm, during-storm, post-storm). Cards are meant to encompass the standard government related emergency management jobs as well as the “everyday” emergency manager like truck drivers and single mothers.
    • In the future, it would be beneficial to convene a webinar or meeting to present this game to regional partners to obtain feedback and determine its usefulness.
  • Brian Murray (HCOEM) and Mel Bartis (COH) are to co-present on their planning section during Hurricane Harvey (Bartis).
    • The idea was discussed to collaborate and share information (as allowed) from regional AARs with other jurisdictions with the idea that other jurisdictions can learn from each other’s AARs.
    • If anyone has any comments or ideas related to the jurisdictional AAR sharing concept please email Mel Bartis (bartis@houstontx.gov).
  • During Harvey, many entities and jurisdictions were duplicating efforts when generating maps. There is a need to discuss how the region can use tools that are more effective (Bartis).
    • Possibility of reconvening the Regional GIS workgroup
      • What are we trying to accomplish by reviving the group?
      • What is the mission/vision of the group if we reconvene this group?
      • What personnel would take part in each jurisdiction?
    • Explore regional technology that we have but do not use or know how to use
    • Explore the connection of regional software
      • There are many regional tools/software that does not connect with each other.
      • Explore ESRI capabilities that are not being used to its potential.
    • Harvey Recovery
      • Government Land Office (GLO) meeting took place recently (May 7, 2018) which brought up the idea to have a discussion to take place at the next RHSCC meeting regarding how different organizations are involved (TDEM, HGAC, GLO, FEMA) in the recovery process (Braun).
      • Harvey workshops will take place during TDEM conference, as possible, representatives need to be present during these workshops to advocate for our region.
    • Fort Bend County and other jurisdictions have seen some new EMCs recently (including Missouri City, Stafford, Pearland).
    • The non-profit security grant program which previously was limited to entities in the UASI region has now been opened state-wide (Riley).
      • Scoring for the projects will most likely take place in June.






Task Responsibility
Change the date of the July RCC meeting Kristina Francis
Obtain the Coast Guard de-confliction plan from Garret Foskit Kristina Francis
Put discussion items on the agenda for next RCC meeting Kristina Francis
Review presentation and test Operation High Water game topic RCC
Review jurisdictional incident AAR sharing discussion RCC
Review regional GIS working group discussion RCC


Meeting adjourned at 11:20 AM.


Meeting notes submitted by Kristina Francis