Emergency Preparedness – Gas Utility ERPs and FEMA ICS Integration
Ensuring Consistent Response to Unplanned System Events
TRC was chosen by a large, multi-state, electric and gas utility company to develop a universal Emergency Management Plan for its gas utilities that would enable consistent response to system events even across state or commodity lines. Each of the operating companies currently used a unique plan specific to their O&M and state regulatory environments; however, the plans used differing terminology, roles and responsibilities and writing styles.
To ensure compliance with state and company-specific legal and regulatory commitments, TRC performed a review of all existing plans and hosted sessions with key stakeholders to identify which elements of those plans could be made consistent across the operating companies and states. The common practices were enhanced with the inclusion of FEMA’s National Incident Management System (NIMS) practices and the adoption of the Incident Command System (ICS) structure. The ICS organizational structure mirrored the client’s electric operations’ ICS structure, allowing for a unified command in large-scale or dual-commodity events.
To support the sustainable deployment of the companywide plan, TRC led the development of a change
management campaign that leveraged instructor-led training, corporate communications, client-side advocacy and mock emergency drills to ensure that initial implementation was successful.
This client has received positive feedback from their personnel on the rollout, and in the spirit of Plan, Do, Check, Act, continues to solicit, receive and act on feedback from internal and external stakeholders. The client has developed a company-wide committee to oversee the continued maturity of their program and is working on additional training and practice opportunities to build muscle memory amongst its emergency response personnel.
In addition to the stakeholder engagement sessions, written plans and change management strategies detailed above, TRC also provided program management during the development of the new ERPs as well as regulatory and best-practice consultation.
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