Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTV) – from Concept to Capability

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) provides its member organizations with the services to develop comprehensive emergency response capabilities.  This includes dissecting a problem statement, developing a desired outcome state, and reverse engineering.  The result is a full set of plans, organizations, equipment, trainings, and exercises that address the entire need.  The case below highlights the benefits received from the MDERS methodology to address local needs.

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Members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS), Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD), Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD). And Maryland ERS (MDERS) conducted a needs assessment to evaluate capabilities for off-road response to routine and large-scale events.  The team focused on after-action reports and incidents from all departments. That report identified a set of gaps that included policy development, equipment needs, and training requirements. Working with local leaders, MDERS received an allocation from the Urban Area Security Initiative to address those needs.

All departments developed a policy to address the technical rescue operations. Operational personnel completed training on the Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV).  All vehicles, equipment, and training were purchased using Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funds to address gaps in response, rescue, and evacuation of casualties from a terrorist incident, while also recognizing the dual-use for routine emergency operations for each department. Montgomery and Prince George’s County police and fire departments received a combination of 17 units with equipment and removable skids. 

Training for vehicle operation requires two full days of hands-on instruction by staff in challenging remote locations.  All personnel were required to complete online training and driving courses.  The course is designed to provide the vehicle operator the knowledge and experience for trailer connection, operations, and maintenance.  Personnel complete twelve hours of driving preparation, skills practice, and written evaluation. This capability offers first responders a rapid response platform to deliver personnel, medical equipment, and patient transport access to remote areas.

The MCFRS and PGFD assigned these assets to various stations.  The police department’s assigned these vehicles to their Special Operations Sections. Each UTV is stored in a weather-protected trailer with supporting supplies for quick deployment. Each department secured funds to allocate support vehicles to tow the trailers, establish facility upgrades for the electrical power source to charge all equipment, and to provide designated interior storage space.  This cooperative arrangement provides the community of Montgomery and Prince George’s County the resources necessary to respond to an emergency incident, even in austere terrain.

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Each UTV provides seating to deliver four personnel to the scene of an off road or remote incident.  The frame design allows easy configuration changes for load carry, emergency medical service response, and protected patient transport.  Designed as an off road vehicle, the frame is lightweight, extremely durable, and equipped with a winch capable of moving 3,000 pounds.  Lighting for the vehicle is provided by an energy efficient LED mounted system.  These features provide safety benefits to the rescuers, patients, and bystanders.

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) is a federally-funded grant program administered by MIEMSS. Please contact Mike McAdams, Planning & Organization Program Manager, at michael.mcadams@maryland.gov for additional information.

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Montgomery County Police Department Trains on Sniper Response Operations

The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) upholds a mission to equip, prepare, and bolster the response  capabilities of their Sniper Response Team to provide enhanced public safety and security at national special security events, as well as respond to active-threat incidents in Montgomery County and the National Capital Region. The Sniper Response Team is additionally tasked with reinforcing the response activities of law enforcement officers, including conducting surveillance to share intelligence with responding agencies on the ground. To accomplish this mission, the MCPD Sniper Response Team requires specialized tools, tactics, and capabilities.

For several years, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) has collaborated with MCPD to ensure their cadre of sniper-trained officers are experts in the field and ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. In May 2022, MDERS funded the High Angle Sniper Training for nine members of the MCPD Sniper Response Team in Oregon with Anchor Risk, LLC. MCPD worked with the instructors to ensure the class was tailored to the specific needs of the department.. The multi-day course provided students with hands-on instruction to gain an understanding of non-standard shooting techniques, engagement methods, mission planning, and ballistic characteristics.

At the conclusion of the sniper training, participants provided the following feedback:

  • “This training allowed me to learn how to work on shooting from high angles, which without the trip to the Pacific Northwest, I would have never been able to do.”
  • “I learned observation and intelligence-gathering skills from high-elevation positions to convey to command.”
  • “I gained a better understanding of environmental factors that affect the trajectory of a long-distance shot as well as when shooting at angles. Real-world experience provides us with much ­­­greater confidence if an actual situation occurs.”

The continued partnership between MDERS and MCPD ensures that the Sniper Response Team is capable to expand upon basic sniper techniques and are better prepared to protect the residents and visitors of Montgomery County.

MCFRS and PGFD Train on Structural Collapse Response

In 2019, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) identified structural collapse response as a strategic priority for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) and Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department (PGFD). MCFRS and PGFD determined that to ensure an appropriately robust structural collapse response capability that each department needs to be able to deploy 13 trained personnel with the necessary equipment to the scene of a structural collapse incident within 40 minutes and provide cross-county mutual aid within 90 minutes.

To support this priority, MDERS sponsored personnel from MCFRS and PGFD to participate in a structural collapse specialist course in September 2022. This course trains personnel on the critical duties and activities as outlined in their position task books and is a requirement for any individual participating in structural collapse response. This training program, hosted at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy, began with eight hours of computer-based training (CBT), followed by 80 hours of hands-on training. The specialized techniques learned and practiced that are necessary to perform rescues at structural collapse incidents included:

  • Breaching: Students learned techniques to break through and access obstructed areas. Participants drilled holes in a triangle formation, then chiseled away the surrounding areas, allowing the triangle to be lifted out, revealing an opening for entrance or extraction.
  • Breaking: Students learned the skills and techniques to safely break apart larger pieces of debris to facilitate manual removal without further compromising the structural integrity of a collapse site.
  • Lifting: Students learned building methodology and principles of physics to lift large pieces of cement and other debris without the help of a large crane. These techniques ensure that responders are able to remove large amounts of debris before crane operations can be implemented. Students additionally learned how to coordinate crane operations via hand signals to lift and remove debris.
  • Shoring: Students learned basic stabilization techniques to create supports that prop up surrounding debris to allow safe ingress and egress from collapsed buildings.
  • Burning: Students learned the various characteristics of available torches and the best situations to utilize a particular type to cut through rebar, steel beams, or other metal objects. Students also learned the techniques to effectively cut the metal without comprising the structural integrity in an area of a building.
  • Building Construction: Students learned about basic construction and engineering principles to familiarize themselves with a structure and also to construct apparatus needed for an effective rescue.

With the completion of this course, MCFRS and PGFD further increase their cadre of certified structural collapse specialists, ensuring each department’s ability to deploy a fully staffed response team of 13 individuals on scene of a collapse event within 40 minutes. Additionally, by jointly training across both departments, MCFRS and PGFD can deploy fully interoperable mutual aid within 90 minutes of a large collapse event.

To further bolster structural collapse response capabilities within the Maryland-National Capital Region, MDERS is coordinating with MCFRS and PGFD to host two technical search specialist courses and an additional structural collapse specialist course in 2023. These courses, alongside a robust equipment cache, ensure both departments are able to effectively deploy and respond to structural collapse incidents.

Maryland-National Capital Region Public Safety Agencies Train on Unmanned Aerial System Maintenance Operations

As the deployment of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) programs continues to expand across the United States, public safety agencies face challenges in maintaining sUAS platforms. To support stakeholders within the Maryland-National Capital Region, MDERS sponsored pilots from Prince George’s and Montgomery County public safety agencies, as well as MDERS, to participate in the Understanding Unmanned Aerial Systems Maintenance course hosted by Tactical Drone Concepts, Inc. in September 2022. This course combined maintenance theory, best practices, and hands-on application to guide students through potential maintenance issues they may encounter.

The Understanding UAS Maintenance course engaged students in classroom discussion and hands-on instruction to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities to implement in-house maintenance programs for UAS vehicles. Students attending the course gained a functional understanding of the component parts and software programming used to operate unmanned aircrafts, as well as soldering techniques to repair wire and electronic components on tactical and training aircraft. Upon completion of the course, Maryland-National Capital Region stakeholders enhanced their understanding of diagnosing and troubleshooting maintenance issues associated with sUAS. Students can further apply this knowledge as public safety agencies in both Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties continue to develop their internal maintenance policies and procedures.

Stakeholders from the Prince George’s County Police Department, the Montgomery County Police Department, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, and the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management rated the overall course highly. Participants provided the following feedback:

  • “I believe there are some best practices we can take from this class regarding maintenance. We learned greatly from our classmates about their programs and what works best for them.”
  • “A new appreciation for aircraft maintenance has been instilled in me due to being able to take the class.”
  • “The lessons learned will benefit the day-to-day maintenance of our UAS vehicles.”

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: https://www.fema.gov/grants/guidance-tools/environmental-historic.

 

 

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 mders@maryland.gov.

MDERS Updates HSEEP Offerings for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

The Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS) serves as a key partner in the design and conduct of public safety exercises in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties. MDERS’s Training and Exercise Program works closely with fire/rescue/emergency medical services, law enforcement, emergency management, public health, and healthcare systems to ensure a robust exercise capability within the region and within individual agencies. As part of this support, MDERS offers instruction on the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) to local agencies so they may better implement their individual exercise programs.

Originally published in 2002 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), HSEEP establishes guidelines for the development and implementation of effective exercise programs. HSEEP outlines key guidelines in five components of the exercise cycle: program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. These guidelines ensure a consistent methodology across jurisdictions and agencies, while remaining adaptable to individual organizations’ needs. In 2020, FEMA released an update to HSEEP, reflecting feedback solicited from the exercise community. Key changes to the 2020 HSEEP updates include: increased inclusivity of the whole community, additional tools and training resources for exercise design, application of “SMART” methodology to improvement planning, and the implementation of an Integrated Preparedness Plan (IPP) to replace the Multi-Year Training and Exercise Plan (MyTEP).*

In response to the 2020 revisions, the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) delivered an updated HSEEP course offering to the National Capital Region (NCR), which encompassed the new changes. MDERS Training and Exercise staff assisted HSEMA with the instruction of the updated HSEEP course, and as a result, began developing new curriculum for MDERS stakeholder agencies.

Since assisting HSEMA with the instruction of their updated curriculum, the MDERS Training and Exercise Program worked to customize its HSEEP course to better meet the needs of the MDERS stakeholder community. When partnering with a specific agency, MDERS tailors the course materials and group activities to enhance participant engagement according to the makeup of the class. Each offering of the HSEEP course includes a capstone functional exercise project to ensure that students can apply critical thinking and conflict resolution skills to solve real-world situations. During the capstone, MDERS instructors provide students with a scenario and exercise templates. Students then collaborate to design, develop, and conduct the exercise within the allotted time. The capstone project reinforces principles and best practices, while allowing students to make inferences and form recommendations based on the knowledge learned throughout the course.

MDERS will deliver the first offering of the updated HSEEP course to the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (PH OHSEM) in the fall of 2022.

For more information on requesting an HSEEP course for your agency or organization, please reach out to the MDERS Training and Exercise Team by emailing MDERS.Training@Maryland.Gov.

*For a full list of changes implemented by FEMA in the HSEEP 202 Revision, please visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/exercises/hseep.

Enhancing Tactical Operations Skills within Prince George’s County Police Department Special Operations Division

Since 2014, the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) prioritized the development and implementation of a comprehensive training program for the department’s Special Operations Division (SOD) personnel. PGPD identified several tactical capabilities requiring specialized training, including sniping, breaching, close-quarters battle (CQB), and incident command. Through the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS), PGPD partnered with the Direct-Action Resource Center, a leading training facility in Little Rock, AR. DARC specializes in tactical, technical and strategic planning, developmental training, evaluation, and implementation for the military, law enforcement, public agencies, and private enterprises.

DARC offers curriculum designed to build in complexity as students progress into more advanced tactics. DARC requires all students to complete two pre-requisite courses prior to enrolling in more advanced offerings. These pre-requisites are identified and summarized below.

  • LECTC-1: Teaches tactical personnel the basics of enemy tactics, chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) operations.
  • LECTC-2: Further expands upon the principles learned in LECTC-1 while incorporating the basics of live fire breaching tactics and hostage rescue best practices.

After completing the LECTC-1 and LECTC-2 prerequisites, students may enroll in specialized response areas, such as advanced operational breaching, advanced sniper integration, and tactical night vision instruction. These courses provide operators with the knowledge and tools required to lead a breaching team, integrate a sniper and observer team in tactical operations, deploy during large venue counter-terrorism operations, and conduct operations using night-vision capabilities. The specific courses attended by PGPD since 2014 are identified and summarized below.

  • Level One Breacher Course (L1BC): Educates operators on the basics of safe, practical, and effective explosive breaching techniques for tactical operations.
  • Advanced Explosive Breaching and Program Supervisors Course: Focuses on explosive breaching and the development and sustainment of a breaching program for managing or supervisory positions within an organization.
  • Advanced Sniper Integration Course (ASIC): Instructs sniper and observer teams on the skills and tactics necessary to provide support for tactical operations in complex environments or large venues under a variety of conditions, ranges, visibility, and target types.
  • Tactical Night Vision Instructor Course: Instructs law enforcement training officers on the deployment, integration, limitations, and considerations of night vision technology to bring back to their local departments and create in-house training programs for other law enforcement personnel.
  • Tactical Supervisor/Managers Course: Trains SWAT supervisors and managers to prepare SWAT teams for operations, document their activities, conduct short- and long-term planning, including training, sustainment, outfitting, and acquisition of specialized skills.

As a result of the long-standing partnership, PGPD and DARC collaborated to develop a custom-tailored curriculum that incorporates tactical emergency casualty care (TECC) in CQB situations, under both live and simulated fire. This course, entitled Close Quarters Battle/TECC, integrates emergency medicine, explosive and ballistic breaching, live-fire training, and force-on-force training across a variety of high threat scenarios including active shooters, high risk warrants, barricades, hostage rescue, and complex coordinated terrorist attacks. To date, 31 members of PGPD SOD participated in this specialty offering.

Through DARC, over 147 PGPD officers trained on tactical capabilities, mater advanced skillsets, and gain operational experience to respond to high-stress austere environments. PGPD continues to pursue opportunities to provide more advanced and specialized training for its personnel so that they may better serve the residents of Prince George’s County.

Montgomery County Police Department Executive Staff Participate in Tabletop Exercise Series

In January 2022, the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) responded to an active shooter incident involving a student at Magruder High School in Montgomery County, Maryland. Following that incident, and considering other recent active shooter events, MCPD leadership saw an opportunity to provide training to their executive staff to better prepare them for similar situations.

Between February and April 2022, MCPD planned and conducted four tabletop exercises for MCPD executive staff with support from the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System (MDERS). These exercises assessed MCPD executive staff’s ability to manage the first 30-60 minutes of a major incident, including phases one and two of their response process, while reinforcing participants knowledge and understanding of MCPD directives, policies, and procedures.

A planning team comprised of MDERS and MCPD personnel met bi-weekly for eight weeks to design and develop these exercises. The MCPD representatives selected to participate on the exercise planning team are considered subject matter experts. These individuals all played a role in the response to the Magruder High School incident. Their firsthand knowledge of the incident informed the scenario and Master Scenario Events List (MSEL). MCPD’s directives, policies, and procedures, including the Active Assailant Emergency Response Plan, also informed the development of the MSEL.

The exercise scenario occurred at a local high school in Montgomery County and was modeled after the shooting incident at Magruder High School. The scenario aimed to build MCPD executive staff’s confidence in handling a critical incident. Interactive exercise play, which combined the use of props and floor plans, alongside a discussion facilitated by MCPD and MDERS personnel engaged exercise participants as they responded to the scenario.

In total, 58 MCPD representatives participated in this exercise series, which marks the first MDERS-supported exercises for the department. While the formal after-action review process is ongoing and expected to conclude in August 2022, preliminary feedback from exercise participants was positive. With the completion of this initial exercise series, MCPD executive staff better understand the need for proficiency in key areas of incident command and response. The department continues to work towards providing additional opportunities for officers to build and refine their incident command skills, and gain the operational experience needed to perform in high-stress environments.

Fiscal Year 2020 in Review

Over the course of FY20, spanning from June 1, 2021, through May 31, 2022, the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System continued to assist stakeholders with enhancing response capabilities through the provision of plan and policy development, training and exercise development and deliver, and equipment acquisition to support the missions of partner agencies. Throughout this period of performance, MDERS oversaw the implementation and/or expansion of ten unique capabilities:

  • Ballistic Protection for Fire/Rescue/EMS Personnel
  • Emergency Management Response and Recovery Professional Services
  • Incident Command Tools
  • Innovation Fund
  • Law Enforcement Special Events Response
  • Mass Casualty Incident Support
  • Medical Resource Officers
  • Public Access Trauma Care (PATC)
  • Tactical Equipment for Law Enforcement
  • Training and Exercise Program

MDERS approached each of these programs through a comprehensive capability development process that builds, implements, and sustains emergency response capabilities. Through this process, with the guidance of its Steering Committee and support of its partner agencies, MDERS continues to pursue its ultimate vision of integrating and optimizing all capabilities to provide superior service to the near two million residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

An overview of each program supported in FY20 is provided in the following sections.*

Ballistic Protection for Fire/Rescue/EMS Personnel

To better protect fire/rescue/EMS personnel that may deploy to provide medical care in a “warm” or “hot” zone during an active threat event, MDERS procured a variety of protective equipment for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) and Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department (PGFD). This equipment includes ballistic-rated body armor, armor plate carriers, and both ballistic-rated and non-ballistic eye and face protection. Additionally, MDERS provided modular medical supplies that mount to armored plate carriers, including shears, tactical emergency casualty care supplies, triage tape, flashlights, and litters that may be used to transport patients or injured responders to a casualty collection point.

Emergency Management Response and Recovery Professional Services

MDERS continued its support of the diverse missions and functions of the Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OEMHS) and the Prince George’s County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) through the provision of professional services. In Montgomery County, MDERS funds a full-time employee that supports OEMHS’s emergency management and volunteer and donations management, as well as the provision of funding for as-needed contract support through the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. In Prince George’s County, MDERS funds four full-time employees. One dedicated to planning, one dedicated to training and exercises, and two dedicated to volunteer and donations management.

Incident Command Tools

To expand and enhance the incident command capability for use by current and future incident commanders in the public safety community, MDERS procured a variety of equipment, field reference materials, and software. These investments include the provision of video cameras, monitors, and other hardware and software that supports the Command Competency Labs, local training resources which allows incident commanders to train in immersive, simulated environments. Additionally, MDERS designed and provided hard-copy command guides for the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD) to assist officers in establishing and maintaining incident command to a variety of common events.

Innovation Fund

In FY20, MDERS implemented the Emerging Homeland Security Pilot program, otherwise known as the “Innovation Fund.” Through the Innovation Fund, stakeholder agencies are able to apply to procure, implement, and evaluate novel solutions to address emerging response challenges. After receiving and evaluating the specific technology, stakeholder agencies can then assess whether to proceed with further investments and operationalization. Some of the technology piloted through the Innovation Fund over the past year include:

  • Augmented Training Systems (ATS) Virtual Reality provides MCFRS a portable solution to mass casualty triage training through the Oculus virtual reality headset.
  • MyEOP Mobile Application provides Region V healthcare systems with a mobile application that serves as a document repository for critical response plans, reference information, or other documentation that can be accessed from any mobile device.
  • Leader Search Bluetooth Listening Devices provide MCFRS’s and PGFD’s structural collapse rescue teams with a rapidly deployed sensor to listen for trapped victims.
  • PerSim Augmented Reality Patient Assessment Training System provides MCFRS with an interactive patient assessment training tool utilizing the Microsoft Hololens system, which can project injuries, as well as responses to patient care, on top of live patients or mannequins.
  • Situational Awareness Cameras for Law Enforcement Armored Vehicles provide MCPD with vehicle-mounted cameras that can stream real-time footage of an incident scene back to the incident command post.
  • Structural Collapse Training Mannequins provide structural collapse and search and rescue teams with high fidelity patient simulators that can easily be transported to different training sites, but are durable enough for austere conditions.

Law Enforcement Special Events Response

MDERS supported the continued implementation of the Montgomery County Police Department’s (MCPD) and PGPD’s public order/civil disturbance capability through the procurement and provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialized training for both departments Level 1 response teams. Officers equipped with this PPE and the knowledge, skills, and abilities provided during the Level 1 training enable MCPD and PGPD to respond to large-scale civil disturbance events with an operational posture informed by the most modern standards developed across the United States and Europe.

Mass Casualty Incident Support

MDERS continued its goal to better prepare its partners to triage, treat, and transport victims of a mass casualty incident through the procurement of a mobile mass casualty incident support cache. At the core of this cache, a 26’ Ford F650 box truck that will be appropriately outfitted with necessary medical equipment and supplies by the Region V Healthcare Coalition. Available to any of the six major healthcare systems in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, this cache serves as an on-demand resource that will deploy and support local healthcare facilities during an acute surge that exceeds existing capacity.

Medical Resource Officers

MDERS funded two, full-time medical resource officers (MROs), one each in Montgomery and Prince George’s County, to bolster public health emergency preparedness and response capabilities. These MROs lead the coordination of the local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers in both counties, including the recruitment, credentialing, planning, training, exercising, and deployment of volunteers. Through the coordination and oversight by the MROs, the county MRCs aim to strengthen individual, community, and workplace preparedness in the Maryland-National Capital Region. In both Montgomery and Prince George’s County, the MROs and the MRC that they oversee instrumentally supported ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, including operating call centers, conducting surveillance efforts, and supporting testing and vaccination sites.

Public Access Trauma Care (PATC)

MDERS continued the expansion of the PATC capability across Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. Designed to empower bystanders with the knowledge, skills, abilities, and supplies to deliver immediate medical care prior to the arrival of first responders, the PATC program deploys the equipment and training necessary to common injuries associated with life-threatening trauma. Over the past year, the PATC program provided a cache of 84 training kits to Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for the continued delivery of training and education to students and faculty in the county. In Prince George’s County, MDERS procured 842 cabinets and five-pack kits that will be mounted in government buildings and public schools.

Tactical Equipment for Law Enforcement

MDERS remains a critical partner in supporting MCPD’s and PGPD’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team members. Over the past year, MDERS helped MCPD procure a variety of equipment for its SWAT team, including thermal imaging technology, night vision goggles, long-range targeting camera systems, ballistic shields, bomb disposal robotics, training supplies, cold weather gear, and upfitting response vehicles with essential tools and equipment. Simultaneously, MDERS provided PGPD’s SWAT team members with bomb disposal robotics, gas masks, and the funding necessary to refurbish armored vehicles. Through these investments, MDERS supported MCPD’s and PGPD’s ability to expeditiously, effectively, and efficiently respond to and mitigate a variety of high-threat scenarios.

Training and Exercise Program

MDERS’s Training and Exercise program offers numerous opportunities for stakeholders to develop and enhance capabilities through in-person, virtual, and hybrid curricula. These offerings range from highly specialized tactical trainings to policy-level and leadership theory. These events include:

  • Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) Conference: This conference focuses on integrated response topics for law enforcement, fire/rescue/EMS personnel, medical providers, and emergency management professionals that may be involved in active threat response operations.
  • Advanced Strategic Public Order Command: This course instructs students on a variety of critical concepts necessary for effective Public Order Command and Control, including the role of law enforcement during protests or disorder, command structures, strategy, tactical planning and decision making, and overarching responsibilities.
  • Anatomy Gift Registry Lab: This training teaches emergency medical technicians and paramedics the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities outlined in the Maryland Medical Protocol and allows students to apply those skills on real tissue.
  • Assessment and Training Solutions Consulting Corporation (ATSCC) Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Live Tissue Class: This class instructs tactical law enforcement personnel and other special operations responders with a practical procedures and skills laboratory, as well as a simulated mass casualty incident exercise scenario to practice self-aid and buddy-aid in a high-threat environment.
  • Direct Action Resource Center (DARC) Advanced Sniper Integration Course: This course instructs sniper and observer teams on the skills and tactics necessary to provide support for tactical operations in complex environments or large venues under a variety of conditions, ranges, visibility, and target types.
  • DARC Level 1 Training: This course provides law enforcement officers with the knowledge of tactical leadership, terrain analysis, and planning methodologies to combat a coordinated, multi-cell attack within their jurisdiction.
  • DARC Level 2 Training: This course expands upon the Level 1 training through the use of life-fire training, explosive and ballistic breaching, and sniper/observer support to help law enforcement officers combat complex, multi-cell attack within their jurisdiction.
  • DARC Close Quarters Battle/TECC: This course integrates emergency medicine, tactical emergency casualty care, explosive and ballistic breaching, live-fire training, and force-on-force training across a variety of high threat scenarios including active shooters, high risk warrants, barricades, hostage rescue, and complex coordinated terrorist attacks.
  • DARC Night Vision Instructor Course: This train-the-trainer course instructs law enforcement training officers on the deployment, integration, limitations, and considerations of night vision technology to bring back to their local departments and create in-house training programs for other law enforcement personnel.
  • DeconTect Train-the-Trainer Decontamination Training: This train-the-trainer course provides training officers for public safety agencies with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to develop standard operating procedures and in-house training programs for their department for various decontamination scenarios including cold weather decon, post-fire decon, disinfection, and low-footprint decon.
  • EMT Tactical Basic Course: This course encompasses a nationally standardized curriculum and certification for EMTs, paramedics, and physicians that operate as part of a law enforcement special response team.
  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Symposium: This virtual conference offers participants the opportunity to engage across multi-disciplinary government agencies and industry experts about the regulations, ongoing research, and current initiatives pertaining to the use of UAS within the National Airspace System, including safety, remote identification, regulations, flight times, and beyond visual line of sight operations.
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (LEEDA) Command Leadership Training: This training prepares law enforcement leaders for command level positions through a variety of topics including command responsibility, discipline and liability, team building, resilient leadership, and leading change within an organization.
  • Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International Annual Conference: This conference provides fire/rescue professionals from around the globe with the opportunity to learn directly from instructors, in classrooms, during workshops, with hands-on-training, and novel technology offerings that cover a breadth of topics across the fire/rescue industry.
  • First Receiver Operations Training (FROT): This course educates first responders and first receivers on the lifesaving skills necessary to identify, triage, treat, and decontaminate victims exposed to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or other hazardous materials in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.
  • FireStats: This class provides students with an enhanced understanding of statistics and decision sciences as they pertain to the fire/rescue/EMS industry, specifically in deployment analysis, data presentation, and resource planning.
  • Gracie Survival Tactics Level I Course: This course teaches students 23 standing and ground-based defensive techniques that address the most common situations which may threaten law enforcement officers.
  • High Angle Sniper Course: This course provides law enforcement officers with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to conduct sniper missions and precision shooting from elevated surfaces in both urban and rural environments.
  • High Performance Leadership Academy: This course provides public sector leaders and decision-makers with an interactive online learning platform, which combines real-time webinars, recorded sessions, and interactive small group discussions, to enhance students’ abilities to conduct five key skills: leading, organizing, collaborating, communicating, and delivering.
  • International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Annual Conference: This conference engages emergency management professionals across all levels of government and private sector organizations on contemporary topics across the emergency management enterprise.
  • Louisiana State University Homeland Security Specialist MicroCert: This program encompasses a variety of topics within the homeland security enterprise, including collaboration between homeland security and law enforcement in a post 9/11 environment, the tradecraft of modern terrorism, intelligence, multi-agency partnerships, and public-private partnerships.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Crisis Management and Business Resiliency Course: This course provides emergency management professionals with a combination of lecture-based learning, case studies, and interactive activities to examine modern crisis management response, including the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Master Tactical Breacher Course: This course provides law enforcement officers with a comprehensive understanding of breaching techniques and their application across multiple environments, including explosive, manual, mechanical, ballistic, thennal, and hydraulic breaching methodologies.
  • MDERS Annual Symposium: This virtual symposium fosters creativity and innovation to address the numerous complexities faced by emergency response organizations and the homeland security enterprise, including climate change and its impact on critical infrastructure, pandemic response, cyber threats to public safety, rising violent extremism, and other ongoing threats.
  • MDERS Cybersecurity Workshop: This workshop provides participants with an understanding of how their organization can better prepare for and respond to a cyber incident. The course combines both an instruction on key cybersecurity concepts and allows participants to directly apply those concepts in an interactive setting.
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials (NAACHO) Preparedness Summit: This summit engages public health officials on a variety of topics including leadership and workforce, strategic partnerships, flexible and sustainable funding, data analysis, and foundational infrastructure.
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Services Physicians (NAEMSP) Annual Meeting: This conference provides EMS medical directors with the opportunity to learn from medical experts in specialized fields and enhance their knowledge in scientific and technological advancements in the EMS field.
  • National Homeland Security Association (NHSA) National Homeland Security Conference (NHSC): This conference helps personnel from various emergency disciplines to identify emerging homeland security threats and shares new technologies to enhance operational response efforts.
  • National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI) Virtual Seminar Series: Transformational Connectivity: This seminar series brings together leaders from across the emergency response spectrum to impart the tools and techniques of Meta-Leadership to help foster a connective and high-performance work environment.
  • Pinnacle Conference: This conference engages EMS leaders to adapt to the changing environment of emergency medical services through thought provoking lectures and smaller educational sessions.
  • Resilient Virginia 2021 Conference: This conference delivers the tools, informational resources, and relationship building opportunities for attendees to build resiliency in their communities, help address climate change, and overcome social challenges throughout the process.
  • Rigging Lab Academy: This online course provides fire/rescue personnel with detailed instruction on objectives, strategies, and techniques used to enhance technical rescue, search and rescue, and other rope rescue programs.
  • Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show: This conference provides attendees with an opportunity to learn from, observe demonstrations, and evaluate evolving technology from military, law enforcement, and other tactical vendors.
  • Sniper Team Leader Course: This course supports sniper team leaders by reviewing and adjusting the team’s current programs and training requirements, ensuring proper documentation of training and operations, evaluating the team’s current supply inventory, and preparing each team for numerous response deployments.
  • Special Operations Medical Association (SOMA) Scientific Assembly (SOMSA) Conference: This conference enhances the medical capabilities of special operation medical providers through lectures and educational opportunities provided by medical professionals and civilian partners.
  • SWAT Command Decision-Making and Level 1 Course: This course provides SWAT team leaders with the necessary skills to effectively confront a multitude of different emergencies and prepare for every phase of the response including planning, negotiations, operational maneuvers, media engagement, and debriefs.
  • Tomahawk Fundamentals of Close Quarters Combat: This course provides law enforcement personnel with the best practices, techniques, and procedures for close quarter operations through simulated exercises and classroom education.

*A detailed synopsis and budgetary breakdown of each of these programs will be provided in the FY20 MDERS Annual Report over the coming months. This report will be available at www.mders.org.