COLLEGE STATION – The unique computer simulation training tool, designed for classes held on-site at the Emergency Operations Training Center in College Station, is going mobile.
A new web-based version of the Emergency Management*Exercise System (EM*ES) proprietary simulation software will allow the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) to take some advanced incident command and Emergency Operations Center classes on the road.
The EM*ES software was developed specifically to support realistic, scenario-based training of multiple disciplines and positions in an incident command post setting. The new web-based version allows for multiple, simultaneous exercises to be performed across several locations, providing greater flexibility for course delivery and easier, more cost-effective software maintenance.
“The new, web-based EM*ES software will extend the reach of our specialized emergency management simulation training and provide opportunities to attract new customers,” said TEEX Program Director Tony Crites. “It gives us more flexibility and allows us to conduct full-scale simulation training that doesn’t depend on having a classroom available at the EOTC.” The web-based version also allows groups to interact and manage a single “incident” from different locations, he added.
“The Web EM*ES is a huge step for this training program,” Crites said. “It gives us more flexibility and reduces costs. Now we can take the training anywhere in the world with good internet connection.”
Although the web-based version has less functionality than the fully deployed version used at the EOTC, it will be valuable for training in smaller communities that can’t send a large contingent to a training session in College Station, said Program Director Jason Moats. “Our whole intent was to reduce the cost and expand our reach.”
“This will also open up more opportunities to train industrial clients,” Moats added. “For example, we could develop courses for corporate teams. We could bring team members together from different locations via the Web EM*ES and save them money. Although it is not as robust as the system used at the EOTC, it gives our customers another option.”
For jurisdictions, he pointed out that an incident management team at the EOTC in College Station could interact with the Emergency Operations Center back in the local jurisdiction, and both could work on the same disaster scenario. The exercise could be tied together via the Web EM*ES, he said.
“So far, we have successfully used Web EM*ES for piloting the new Enhanced Sports and Special Events Management course,” Moats added. “We are planning additional training applications of the Web EM*ES in the next few months.”
The Web EM*ES was developed in conjunction with the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and the Texas Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), under the project leadership of TCAT Executive Director Jim Wall. It was an agency-funded effort and builds on an 11-year relationship between TEEX and TEES. Sarah Dobrovolny of TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center also assisted with coordinating the project.