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CANUSLANT JRT

2007 Transboundary Incident Management and Communications Workshop


The Canadian / U.S. Joint Response Team for the Atlantic Region hosted a Transboundary Incident Management and Communications Workshop in May 2007.  The goal was to examine procedures and assumptions in the Atlantic Geographic Annex to the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan and to recommend appropriate changes. This workshop was the latest in a series of joint Canadian / U.S. exercises and workshops and served as a prelude to the biennial CANUSLANT exercise in September 2007.

Workshop Agenda: MS Word format

Workshop Presentations:

Workshop Report: See Reports & Summaries Page

Workshop Executive Summary: [Extracted from Report]
The Canadian / U.S. Joint Response Team for the Atlantic Region hosted a Transboundary Incident Management and Communications Workshop in May 2007.  The goal was to examine procedures and assumptions in the Atlantic Geographic Annex to the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan and to recommend appropriate changes. This workshop was the latest in a series of joint Canadian / U.S. exercises and workshops and served as a prelude to the biennial CANUSLANT exercise in September 2007.

The workshop format used a series of educational sessions followed by facilitated breakout sessions designed to focus emergency response professionals on the challenges of incident management and communications during a major international marine pollution event. 

The key consensus points and recommendations of the five breakout groups are as follows.  Greater detail can be found in the attached appendices of this report.

Incident Management:
A vast majority of the participants preferred a joint US-Canadian command post model for incidents posing imminent impacts to both countries (Level V incident) followed by a transition to geographically independent national commands with liaisons once the incident stabilizes


Advantages
  1. Better communication between countries
  2. More efficient use of shared or similar response assets and expertise
  3. Coordinated public outreach (single voice)
  4. More efficient coordination with the responsible party/spiller
Challenges
  1. Potential for political unease for the non-resident country
  2. Demand for larger and more complex logistical efforts
  3. Difficulties in meshing different national incident command systems
  4. Complexities in international travel and equipment transport
Key Recommendations
  1. Develop a decision tool for establishing the appropriate command structure
  2. Outreach to governmental and political officials prior to an incident
  3. Identify adequate incident command posts in the transboundary region
  4. Enhance liaison support through training and familiarization of systems
Communications:
Participants recognized that communications, including the maintenance of an adequate “common operating picture,” in the transboundary region are difficult due to the area’s remote location and weak digital infrastructure. Regardless of the management structure adopted for the incident, intra-command post, inter-command post and extra-command post communications links will be provide significant challenges.

Key Recommendations
  1. Standardize communications plans between countries, including frequency assignments, points of contact, communication protocols and national/region capabilities.
  2. Improve understanding of local cellular capabilities and deficiencies
  3. Develop a plan for adequate broadband, digital (internet) capacity
  4. Ensure emergency responder priority on land-line and cellular networks, including Government Emergency Telephone Service and Wireless Priority Service.
  5. Investigate real-time emergency information management tools to enhance voice and video conferencing, improve data transfer and share the “common operating picture.”

Full details on the issues addressed by each breakout group are captured in the issue report forms contained in Appendix D of the report.

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Last Modified 11/10/2011