Have a playbook for the unthinkable
The DATTCO Emergency Preparedness Plan provides online intelligence for first responders
By Richard Tackett
Should the unthinkable occur, Terrapin Blue, Athens, GA, has put a plan in place for DATTCO Inc., New Britain, CT, a municipal transit and commuter service operating in in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Additionally, DATTCO operates school bus service and is a Megabus.com franchisee. The company also employs 120 mechanics at 12 service facilities across New England.
The Terrapin Blue Safety and Security team provides first responders and transportation companies with tools essential for preventing, protecting against, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and catastrophic natural disasters. All of these tools combine to create what the company calls an Emergency Preparedness Plan.
DATTCO emergency preparedness
Terrapin Blue President Ryan Kelly says crafting an effective Emergency Prepared Plan for DATTCO meant creating a specialized playbook to fit a transportation operation.
“With DATTCO, we’ve developed walkthrough videos for all of their different vehicles,” Kelly says. “This allows first responders to have all relevant information when they’re responding. The videos include electrical wiring, diesel tank location, as well as instructions about how to cut valves. We’re aiming to mitigate more unwanted events during an emergency.”
Terrapin Blue created a web portal for DATTCO’s senior management, first responders and emergency personnel, and any other parties that might be required during a crisis. By logging on to a secure website, any authorized user can access a multitude of data about any of DATTCO’s many facilities.
“We wanted to make sure people could log in anywhere in the world and see the incident,” Kelly says. “The facility manager or first responder can log in, see evacuation protocols for a fire or even an armed incident. Police and fire positions are outlined, in case those departments haven’t fully communicated with each other. Many kinds of incidents are role-played out so that people can see what everyone else’s game plan is.”
Using the National Preparedness Guidelines published by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Terrapin Blue has developed a comprehensive framework for preparing and linking all the appropriate stakeholders during an emergency. Additionally, Terrapin Blue incorporated the concepts, principles, terminology and philosophy of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS) to establish effective interorganizational communications in the event of a crisis.
A blueprint for success
Kelly says that his team spent six weeks at various DATTCO sites while researching the Emergency Preparedness Plan. They then developed the plan over the course of five months. They’re currently on the tail-end of uploading online content and training DATTCO employees about its use.
“Now DATTCO has a plan that senior managers can use to unleash whatever is needed in an emergency,” Kelly says. “Whether it’s an accident at a facility or with a bus, management can log on and manage the incident professionally. When you get into an emergency, you can fall into uncharted waters if you don’t have a blueprint for success. We have a playbook, and it changes based on the situation at hand.”
Kelly says that the Emergency Preparedness Plan concept has also been a bit of a marketing tool for participating bus companies.
“TSA and FEMA love this too, since they’ve been on to evaluate it,” he says. “Escot, Arrow Stage Lines, DATTCO and these other bus companies are five to ten years ahead of everybody else, in terms of security, because of what we’ve created.”