Emergency Situations Plenary
On June 25, the 4th annual Emergency Situations Working Group (ESWG) meeting took place at the Department of State’s George C. Marshall Conference Center in Washington, D.C. ESWG co-chairs U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) W. Craig Fugate and Minister Vladimir A. Puchkov of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) held a panel discussion on lessons learned from recent international disaster responses, including those to Hurricane Sandy, and the Chelyabinsk meteor impact.
Among the presentations was a summary of the July 2012 symposium on scientific monitoring and forecasting geo-hazards that was co-sponsored by the BPC’s Science and Technology and Emergency Situations Working Groups and held in Moscow. Plans were also discussed for the next geo-hazards workshop that will be held in Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, where geologists, oceanographers, and emergency managers will gather in Spring 2014 to discuss the formalization of mechanisms of exchange and notification regarding shared geo-hazards in the North Pacific.
EMERCOM summarized their successful visit in April to Boston to explore opportunities for exchange and partnership in graduate and undergraduate educational programs in Emergency Management and plans for follow-on discussions between Harvard University and EMERCOM’s St. Petersburg Fire University. A proposal was also made to broaden the discussion of educational partnership to include cooperation with U.S. research and scientific institutions focusing on areas such as the development of geo-spacial information systems for the monitoring and prevention of emergency situations.
The director of EMERCOM’s Mine Rescue Service proposed collaboration and exchange with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. In addition, EMERCOM and FEMA discussed establishing exchanges to study approaches to building volunteer service organizations such as the newly formed FEMA Corps.
One highlight of the gathering was the discussion of plans by EMERCOM and FEMA jointly to produce a documentary film on voluntary firefighting in the United States that will be used as part of a campaign to educate potential volunteers, citizens, and law makers about the alternative approaches to organizing volunteerism in Russia. FEMA’s U.S. Fire Administration and the U.S. Forest Service would support EMERCOM’s film crew by coordinating participating U.S. local firefighting units and serving as advisors on the use of volunteers in fighting structural and wild fires in the United States.
As a step towards greater operational cooperation in disaster response Minister Puchkov and Administrator Fugate agreed to explore the possibility of exchanging daily disaster watch reports. The ESWG also looks forward to achieving another milestone later this year as FEMA and EMERCOM take the lead in organizing an international workshop on air medical evacuation under the umbrella of the NATO-Russia Council.
16th Meeting of the Joint U.S.-Russia Committee on Cooperation in Emergency Management
The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Emergency Situations, and the 16th Meeting of the Joint U.S.-Russia Committee on Cooperation in Emergency Management, took place in Vladivostok, Russia on October 8. The meeting brought together Vladimir Puchkov, Minister for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of the Consequences of Natural Disasters, and Timothy Manning, Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness for the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) for talks on disaster forecasting, the exchange of best practices, and joint training.
Russia and United States Participate Jointly in NATO Exercise
From August 27 to September 2, both FEMA and EMERCOM sent representatives to observe the NATO Civil Emergency Preparedness Exercise, “CODRII 2011,” in and around Chisinau, Moldova. “CODRII 2011” was organized by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center and involved a simulated earthquake with resulting victims, damage to critical infrastructure, chemical accidents, and a radiological incident. Approximately 1,300 civilian and military Moldovan and international participants from over 20 NATO and partner countries participated, making this the largest exercise of its kind that NATO has ever conducted. FEMA and EMERCOM’s participation fulfilled a joint work plan goal laid out on July 18 at the Working Group’s annual meeting in Boston.
Disaster Management Forum Focuses on Public-Private Partnerships
On September 21-23, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) held the “Fifth Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum” in San Francisco as part of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Emergency Preparedness Working Group. Over 60 participants from 18 member economies participated in the Forum, which was chaired by FEMA Deputy Administrator Tim Manning and focused on public-private partnerships. The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) sent a five-member delegation to the APEC event, building upon previous joint efforts with the United States in multilateral organizations. The “Sixth Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum” will be held in Vladivostok, Russia in fall 2012, with a focus on national crisis management centers and their integration into international networks.
FEMA and EMERCOM Discuss Lessons Learned from Recent Disasters
The 15th annual meeting of U.S.-Russia Joint Committee on Emergency Management and the 2nd Annual Meeting of the Bilateral Presidential Commission Working Group on Cooperation in Emergency Management took place in Boston, Massachusetts, July 18-19. The group discussed a whole community approach to disaster preparedness and response and held a panel discussion on lessons learned from recent international disaster responses, including the Haiti and Japan earthquake/tsunami. Additionally, they discussed lessons learned from the 2010 Russian wildfires as well as current trends and opportunities for cooperation in the field of mass transportation security. Read more at the FEMA Blog»
EMERCOM Earns Internationally-recognized INSARAG Status
Short: From June 27-July 1, the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) hosted an international team of disaster relief specialists to observe and assess their live field exercises and disaster relief simulations as they pursued—and earned—the highest United Nation’s International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) status. Read more»
EMERCOM Hosts Superintendent Onieal in Russia
On May 19, Dr. Denis Onieal, Superintendent of FEMA’s U.S. Fire Academy and Acting Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration, travelled to Russia and addressed an EMERCOM conference entitled “Preparing for Disasters.” Speaking on the organizational and operational aspects of disaster preparedness and response, Dr. Onieal shared his experience from September 12, 2001, when he led the U.S. Fire Administration’s team at the World Trade Center to help the New York City Fire Department re-establish their systems of command, control, and on-site communications.
National Level Exercise 2011
On May 16, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) kicked off the National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE2011), which focused on a scenario involving a catastrophic earthquake in the central United States. Read more»
EMERCOM Hosts U.S. Disaster Assistance Delegation
December 8-10, Acting Director of USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance Mark Ward travelled to Moscow and met with EMERCOM officials to discuss opportunities for cooperation on disaster assistance issues. As a result of these consultations, future exchanges on effective disaster management and joint exercises on cooperative disaster response are being organized. Minister Shoygu of EMERCOM and Administrator Fugate of FEMA are expected to preside over a formal working group meeting in the Spring of 2011.
First Co-Chairs Meeting of the Emergency Situations Working Group
On July 23, 2010, Administrator Craig W. Fugate co-chaired the first co-chairs meeting of the Emergency Situations Working Group of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission in Moscow with Russian Emergency Situations Minister Sergey K. Shoigu. At the meeting, the U.S. and Russia shared best practices on a variety of emergency response management topics and worked to outline future goals and objectives. Read more and watch a video of Administrator Fugate talk about Emergency Management Cooperation. Press Release and Video»