Juggling the Phases: Introduction to Emergency Management at the Vermont Agency of Transportation

May 30, 2018

Mann Hall 211

Todd Sears, the new Emergency Management Director at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), was on campus to meet researchers at UVM with an interest in emergency management and critical infrastructure. Todd provided an introduction to his role, and to the basics of emergency management at a state department of transportation. Todd holds an M.A. in Strategic Planning from the United States Naval Postgraduate School, and came to VTrans from the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, where he served as a Critical Infrastructure Planner and then Section Chief. Prior to his career in emergency management, Todd taught Critical Thinking and Analytic Methodology with the Regional Joint Intelligence Training Center.

Todd’s talk stressed how emergency management directors are always in a “phase”, whether it be preparation, response, recovery, or mitigation. A risk-based planning structure acknowledges that risk is a function of threat, vulnerability and consequence. Todd’s planning function includes Continuity of Operations Plans, Emergency Transportation Operations Plans, and Emergency Procedures Plans, but his role as the Duty Officer for State-Support Function 1 (Transportation) during times of crisis is perhaps the most important. This role involves transitioning the Transportation Management Center at VTrans between steady-state and crisis operating modes. Todd also discussed the definition of critical infrastructure, FEMA’s “Lifeline” critical infrastructure categories, and his interest in the inter-dependencies of each.

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