8.2 Evolution of the Impact-Based Decision Support Services Deployment Boot Camp: A Five Year Review and Look at the Future

Thursday, 26 January 2017: 1:45 PM
615 (Washington State Convention Center )
Megan N Taylor, CIMMS, Kansas City, MO; and K. Runk and J. J. Zeltwanger

Effective communication of weather information to support risk management decision-making is a hallmark of the National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Ready Nation (WRN) initiative. The demand for on-site support at disaster incidents and planned large venue events has been growing rapidly in recent years, prompting the NWS to expand its capacity for providing this service to core partners in the emergency management community. As an outgrowth of incidents requiring long-duration on-site support (e.g., Deepwater Horizon, the Red River and Missouri River Floods, post-tornado recovery efforts in northern Alabama and Joplin, Missouri), the NWS developed an immersive simulation training experience called Impact-Based Decision Support Services (IDSS) Deployment Boot Camp. The first IDSS Boot Camp was hosted in 2011, as a collaborative effort between the fledgling Operations Proving Ground, NWS Central Region Headquarters Integrated Services Division and the Office of the Chief Learning Officer in Kansas City. While decision support was not a new task for NWS employees, this was the first nationally supported official training effort of this type. The flagship course offered a balanced mix of presentations, large and small group discussions, and facilitated interactive exercises, the group was challenged to sharpen and practice skill sets needed to deliver quality IDSS for high impact events. Five years later, the course continues to grow and evolve, incorporating expertise from every part of the country. Hundreds of meteorologists and hydrologists have now completed the course in Kansas City. Recent courses continued to include sessions on the Incident Command System (ICS) structure, risk communication, successful media interviewing techniques, building and delivering effective briefings, the disaster life cycle, and customizing services to meet incident-specific risk reduction thresholds. The week culminated in a full-day incident simulation, giving participants an opportunity to employ their classroom training in the context of a realistic ICS exercise. The NWS has elevated its IDSS expertise. This means it is time for the IDSS Deployment Boot Camp to advance once again to aid in the continued culture change of the agency. A new training plan is in the works that opens up training to more operational employees in the agency. Additionally, this new plan includes a remodeled version of the highly successful IDSS Deployment Boot Camp. The course will continue to provide second-to-none experiential-based learning, but will involve even more exercises and involvement with partners. When an incident management team is assembled for a weather-related disaster, or an EOC is spun up for a large venue event for which public safety is a concern, there is no one in the weather enterprise better suited to provide expert assistance for critical risk management decisions than the NWS. Our Deployment-Ready scientists will be among the most visible representatives of the new-look NWS as we continue to progress toward building a Weather Ready Nation. This fact drives the success of the IDSS Boot Camp. In this presentation, we will review the evolution of various iterations of IDSS training, outline the path for its future, and identify how interested NWS employees can get involved.
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