DEMEC Hosts Multi-Agency Mutual Aid Workshop

SMYRNA, DE – At the height of hurricane season, preparation and coordination are key to a strong mutual aid program. Earlier in September, the Delaware Municipal Electric Corporation (DEMEC), in partnership with the American Public Power Association (APPA), hosted a multi-agency mutual aid workshop with representation from eight of Delaware’s community-owned, public power utilities, Senator Tom Carper’s office, DEMA, the fire department, and ambulance services.

Crisis management speakers came from across the east coast, including the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER), Washington Metro Transit Authority, DEMA, New York Power Authority, and Critical Path Solutions.

The goals of this workshop were to equip attendees with knowledge and tools to optimize mutual aid processes, enhance logistical coordination, strengthen incident response capabilities, and fulfill each role effectively during an emergency event. Attendees learned how to improve multi-agency coordination and how municipal utilities aggregate mutual aid services through their joint action agency (DEMEC) to help identify and foster necessary resources to strengthen recovery efforts.

“Delaware is located on a peninsula, so we know that it is not a matter of if but when an emergency event will occur. Even as a small state, there are still several moving parts on the local, state, and federal level that need to work together during a crisis,” said Kimberly Schlichting, DEMEC President & CEO, “It is always better to be proactive with training and forming effective lines of communications to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

DEMEC’s President and CEO serves as the regional network coordinator for the national APPA Mutual Aid Committee. DEMEC has supported local mutual aid efforts, as well as mutual aid in Florida, and saw the damaging impacts of storms like Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Dorian, and Hurricane Isaias.  

DEMEC would like to thank APPA and Critical Path Solutions for coordinating a dynamic variety of speakers and sessions on mutual aid, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy for providing grant funding that made this workshop possible. DEMEC was honored to be one of the first three public power entities invited to participate in this federally funded mutual aid workshop.

Sessions included topics on:

  Mutual Aid
J.T. Flick, Director of Crisis Management for the New York Power Authority presented on the mutual aid process and how to adopt a proactive, joint approach to disaster planning.

Logistics Planning
Rick Christ, Senior Crisis Planner with Critical Path Solutions presented on logistical best practices and optimization of resources to ensure prompt incident response and effective coordination and adoption of standardized guidelines.

Incident Command System/Emergency Operations Center
Eric Morgan, Emergency Manager & Trainer with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) reviewed the Incident Command System (ICS) and Emergency Operations Center (EOC) principles and structures and how these systems support overall response efforts.

Federal Response and Restoration Overview
Ken Buell, Deputy Director, Response & Restoration in the Department of Energy’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, & Emergency Response (CESER) introduced participants to CESER, its mission, priorities, structure, and responsibilities. He also gave an overview of FEMA’s National Response Framework.

Senior Management Training
Michael Taborn, (Ret) Chief of Police with the Washington Metro Transit Authority shared insight on developing effective communications channels to promote seamless collaboration during disasters. Participants learned to lead with confidence and develop a well-coordinated, efficient incident response to restore power quickly and safely.