The Wisconsin Emergency Response Plan has been updated to reflect changes and new threats. The comprehensive plan provides direction to state agencies in response to disasters and emergencies. Pat O’Connor is Director of the Bureau of Response and Recovery at Wisconsin Emergency Management. “What we’ve done is taken a good plan, and made it better,” O’Connor said
The plan, known by the acronym WERP, provides direction to state agencies in response to disasters and emergencies including new annexes for cyber and catastrophic events. The plan was presented to Governor Scott Walker in 2011. Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch accepted the 2015 plan during a presentation at Truax Field in Madison.
Highlights of the 2015 WERP include:
· Cyber Incident Annex – provides a standardized, flexible and scalable foundation for state agencies to mitigate, prevent protect and respond to actual or potential cyber-related threats and attacks. It also provides guidance to counties, tribes and local government regarding state assets and resources during a cyber event.
· Mass Evacuation Incident Annex – While Wisconsin is not a coastal state that needs to worry about mass evacuations from events such as a hurricane, there could be a mass evacuation that would be more localized. That could include an EF5 tornado or a chemical spill that impacts all or part of a city or town. These incidents could require large-scale evacuation as well as shelter operations.
· Radiological Incident Annex – Provides a coordinated and timely response by the state of Wisconsin to incidents involving nuclear or radioactive materials. This includes potential incidents at nuclear power plants, transportation accidents and terrorist incidents involving radiological dispersal devices or improvised nuclear devices.
· Donations and Volunteer Management Plan – Working with Wisconsin Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), the plan provides a framework and process to support local governments to effective coordination and distribution of donated goods and/or monetary donations during a major disaster. The plan also provides guidance for local agencies on preparing, deploying and tracking volunteers.
· Updated Wisconsin Hazardous Material Response System: After 20 years, The system was recently restructured and expanded from the original eight teams to 25 state hazardous materials response teams strategically located to augment the local incident response and provide higher levels of technical and operational capability. The goals of the restructuring are to improve response time, provide more uniform statewide coverage and align with the national system to ensure capability for all types of hazardous materials incidents.
“We updated this one based on informaiton and lessons learned from events like Hurricane Sandy, and other large events around the country,” O’Connor said.
While the initial WERP was released to the public, this year’s version was not, although copies can be requested.