Month: September 2022

Navigating the Environmental and Historic Preservation Review Process

As a subrecipient of the National Capital Region’s (NCR) Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) award, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) complies with federal regulations for grant-funded projects. One such regulation is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Environmental and Historical Preservation (EHP) review process. The EHP review process aims to minimize the impacts of any project on the environment and historically designated sites, including floodplains, wetlands, archeological sites, historic structures, protected coastal areas, critical wildlife habitats, clean air and water, and minority and low-income populations among others. In order to ensure the long-term preservation of these sites, any project that could cause permanent impacts must be approved by FEMA through the EHP process.

MDERS, in its support of emergency response partners across Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties, supports numerous projects that fall under the jurisdiction of the EHP review process. Notably, any building modification, including the permanent installation of equipment, must be approved by FEMA. In addition to building modifications, any training opportunity that occurs in a non-designated training facility, as defined by the local agencies, requires FEMA EHP approval to ensure no damage or permanent impacts will be made to the training site.  As the single point of collaboration on multi-disciplinary, multi-jurisdiction emergency response capability enhancement, MDERS manages the EHP review process on behalf of its stakeholders.

The required application includes a FEMA-provided questionnaire that defines the scope of the project in question. The FEMA screening form prompts users to provide a variety of information including grant project names, contact information, estimated cost, project description, and the intended construction to be conducted on the building. Additionally, the screening form must be accompanied by secondary photo documentation. The required photos must include a picture of the structure and if possible, a building sign. This preliminary information is sufficient in most cases but, FEMA requires additional photo documentation for building over 45 years old, as older buildings are more closely associated with potential environmental concerns and an enduring historical significance. The extra photos must clearly identify the area(s) that any alteration to the building will occur so that FEMA can closely assess the environmental and historical ramifications of the specific areas of construction.

Within the MDERS portfolio, the Public Access Trauma Care (PATC) program is most intertwined with the EHP process. As part of the PATC program, MDERS works closely with both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties to install readily accessible bleeding control kits and medical supplies in public schools and government buildings. These items are stored in PATC cabinets, which are permanently affixed to interior walls similarly to fire extinguishers or automated-external defibrillators (AEDs). Before these cabinets are installed, MDERS must submit the required EHP documentation to ensure that any alteration to a building does not harm the environment and protects its historical significance.

MDERS began the EHP process for the PATC program by coordinating with stakeholders to determine how many buildings would be impacted and their respective ages. By delineating buildings by age, MDERS determined which buildings required additional photo documentation and which did not. MDERS then worked closely with subrecipients to identify the strategic location of PATC kits and cabinets, conduct the needed photography, and compile the information for submission to FEMA for approval.

To better meet the needs of its stakeholders, MDERS developed an EHP checklist for the PATC program. This checklist not only provided all the necessary information to FEMA, but also served as a resource to stakeholders to refer back to for the ultimate installation of the PATC cabinets.

While the EHP process can appear daunting, MDERS is committed to helping its stakeholders through the FEMA review process and ensure that projects are executed in accordance with the Maryland-National Capital Region’s needs and in compliance with federal regulations.

For more information on the EHP review process, please visit:



Preparing the Emergency Response Community for Cyber Incidents

On August 19th, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) hosted a cybersecurity workshop for emergency response partners in and around the Maryland-National Capital Region. Designed to help emergency response organizations prepare for and respond to a cyber incident, the workshop explored the current cyber threat landscape and implications of a cyber incident on state and local governments.

A team of local cybersecurity practitioners led participants through a series of plenary instruction and breakout discussions. These subject-matter experts, including Markus Rasucheker J.D., Director of Cybersecurity for the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS), Ben Yelin J.D., CHHS Director of Public Policy & External Affairs, and Netta Squires J.D., Emergency Management Specialist II Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS), applied their knowledge of the Maryland-National Capital Region and its agencies directly into the workshop curriculum.

Participants learned about the key motivators for launching a cyber-attack on local governments. They examined several recent cyber-attacks on county and State government organizations and the cascading effects they have on those directly and indirectly impacted. The facilitators guided stakeholders through the following seven-step planning process to prepare their emergency response organizations for a cyber incident:

  • Establish a project leadership team
  • Resource identification
  • Beginning the planning process
  • Drafting a plan
  • Thinking through high-level policy considerations
  • Thinking through legal/policy considerations
  • Thinking through operational considerations

Stakeholders concluded the workshop by completing a scenario-based capstone exercise drawing on lessons learned and reinforcing cyber preparedness and response concepts. All participants walked away from the workshop with a cybersecurity preparedness planning guide and the knowledge and tools needed to enhance their organization’s cybersecurity preparedness planning efforts.

Workshop participants provided positive feedback and highlighted the need for additional cyber preparedness and response training opportunities for emergency response partners in the Maryland-National Capital Region.

Montgomery County Public Schools Deploy Public Access Trauma Care Training Kits

The Public Access Trauma Care (PATC) program, led by the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS), empowers the residents and visitors of Montgomery and Prince George’s County to respond to life threatening bleeding and trauma. MDERS collaborates closely with both counties to identify, procure, deploy, and train upon the medical supplies necessary to treat major bleeding injuries, pneumothorax, and shock. As part of this program, government buildings and public schools are outfitted with publicly accessible PATC kits.

In the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) system, each high school maintains 20, 5-pack PATC kits located in readily identifiable cabinets distributed throughout each building. These kits contain a QuikLitter patient movement device, a Combat-Application Tourniquet (CAT), compression dressing, compressed gauze, medical gloves, trauma shears, two chest seals, a survival blanket, a sharpie, duct tape, and an instruction card. Through these supplies, a student or staff member can deliver immediate medical aid to an injured person prior to the arrival of first responders. As recently as January 2022, one of these PATC kits was utilized to treat an injured student at Magruder High School suffering from a gunshot wound.

Currently, MCPS staff train on the identification of injury patterns and administration of proper medical care through the PATC program. As MCPS looks to expand the capability further, program leaders identified the need to better train students the knowledge, skills, and abilities to use the PATC kits in a real-world situation. To meet this need, MDERS procured 84 PATC training kits on behalf of MCPS to supplement health curriculum and training opportunities in Montgomery County high schools.

MDERS partnered with MCPS to configure the training kits to best meet the needs of Montgomery County high schools. To ensure students are prepared to deploy a PATC kit in a real-world situation, each training kit contains a variety of equipment mirroring the supplies an individual may find in the PATC kits installed throughout MCPS. Each high school received three training kits comprised of the following supplies:

  • 15 Combat Application Tourniquets (CAT)
  • 15 Elastic Bandages
  • 15 Conforming Stretch Gauze Bandages
  • 15 Hyfin Twin Pack Chest Seal Trainers
  • 10 Wound Cube Simulators
  • 3 Emergency Trauma Dressings
  • 1 Cloth/Silk Tape
  • 1 QuickLitter Transport Device
  • 2 Emergency Mylar Blankets
  • 2 Medical Shears
  • 2 Hyfin Twin Pack Chest Seals
  • 2 Compressed Gauze Packages
  • 2 Pairs of Nitrile Gloves
  • 2 Sharpie Markers
  • 2 Mini Duct Tape Rolls
  • 1 PATC Kit

MCPS plans to utilize the training kits during a three-day lesson about identifying medical emergencies and rendering basic medical aid. During this curriculum, students will learn to recognize specific injury patterns and understand associated harm and risks. Instructors will then demonstrate how to safely and effectively render aid using proper medical techniques. During the final component of the curriculum, students will use the provided training materials to practice the application of chest seals, direct pressure, and tourniquets, as well as how to pack a wound and prevent shock. The knowledge, skills, and abilities provided through this program will better prepare students to administer life-saving medical care in real-world emergency.

MDERS continues to provide training materials and PATC supplies to the residents and visitors of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. For more information on the PATC program, please email