by Andree Swanson
Air Mobility Command Geo Integration Office
9/10/2013 - TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Travis
Air Force Base's emergency responders have taken their actions into the
geospatial world by introducing an online map that may save lives.
The Emergency Response Tool is a specialized map view vital for incident
commanders, security forces, firefighters and senior leadership in
making critical decisions during an emergency. Using the ERT on Air
Mobility Command's geospatial program called AMC.maps, members of the
installation's Disaster Response Force can plot cordons, color code
dangerous areas affected by an emergency, and develop safe routes for
base personnel response or escape. The resultant image is continuously
refreshed online so all responders have a near real-time view of the
Responders viewing the ERT map will see a picture of an emergency as it
happens, giving emergency responders immediate life-saving knowledge.
ERT's installation perspective also provides senior leaders a tool to
determine which missions can continue during an emergency. While the end
product seems pretty simple, behind the scenes it's a complex tool
combining interactive maps with robust training and fast moving data.
Although various emergency map tools have been used by Travis in the
past, the ERT was first used in May during an earthquake scenario at the
base theater involving local hospitals, fire departments and the Office
of Emergency Services. The Disaster Response Force again tested the ERT
during a recent shooting incident simulated at Scandia Elementary
School Aug. 1.
"We used ERT during our last local exercise with great success," said
Col. Doug Bugado, 60th Mission Support Group commander. "Although it is
bandwidth dependent for multiple simultaneous users, it's very efficient
in terms of both posting collaborative updates and viewing the most
up-to-date incident information. I'm confident other installations could
benefit utilizing its capabilities."
The 60th Civil Engineering Squadron's GeoBase manager, Dan Mattheis,
worked with the AMC Geo Integration Office to bring the capabilities of
the mapping tool to Travis. Mattheis refined the tool to fit Travis
AFB's needs, worked with engineering assistants in its use, then tested
the tool during last May's exercise.
Staff Sgt. Seamus Mills, Geospatial Data Management Office
non-commissioned officer in charge, trained the engineering assistants
to use the ERT in support of the Crisis Action Team and Emergency
"Training for using the ERT is absolutely necessary," noted Cheryl
Brown, a program analyst. "Sergeant Mills is such a huge contributor to
the success that we've had during the past year. From the beginning, he
understood the CAT to EOC connection, and the applicability for all
control centers. His participation was critical to turning a tool on a
CE map into a tool for all Travis emergency responders."
The training ensured the Travis emergency response team worked
effectively through both exercises while improving communication using
the new tool.
"Dan was CE's man behind the curtain," said Mark Wilson, 60th CES
Installation Emergency manager. "He was key to fielding a cutting edge
tool that will assist commanders and responders for years to come."
Lt. Col. Dan Guinan, 60th CES commander, awarded Mattheis a squadron
Work Horse award in early August for his efforts. However, Mattheis
wasn't the only person recognized for bringing on the ERT. Airman 1st
Class Shane Frey took the wing's Professional Performer Award Aug. 28 as
the ERT editor during August's Scandia School incident exercise.
Mills trained Frey, an engineering assistant, to serve as the map editor
during the recent August exercise. Frey entered event locations,
plotted a detailed safe route, and continuously maintained updates as
the incident developed.
Teamwork combined with a bit of technology could mean huge returns for Travis AFB during a real-world emergency.
"I hope there is never a reason to use the ERT real-time," said Bugado.
"But if there is, I know Travis is ready to respond with a top notch
team utilizing capabilities like ERT to save lives and reconstitute the
base to meet our mission requirements."