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Georgia 2013 Mobile Communication Vehicle Rally Set for May 13-16

Author: Nick Brown, GEMA/Homeland Security

Date: 2013-04-11
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The Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA/HS), has announced its 2013  2013 Statewide Mobile Communication Vehicle (MCV) exercise, scheduled for May 13-16, 2013. Within Georgia, the progress for the state's mobile communication assets has grown by leaps and bounds since we began organized MCV exercise efforts around five years ago.  This progress would not be possible without the great partnerships that we have with federal, state, county and city agencies and participants in Georgia.  We’re calling on you again to aid us with our exercise efforts and are proud to announce the registration process is open for the 2013 MCV Rally.

This exercise is undergoing a considerable amount of modification and improvement including a change of venue.  Our new home is Stone Mountain Park located east of downtown Atlanta.  The physical address for the park is 1000 Robert E Lee Blvd Stone Mountain, GA 30083.  A final schedule with a participant manual and incident action plan will be distributed to all registered participants one week prior to the exercise. 

Above: 2012 GEMA MCV Rally - see story here.

As with our previous exercises, we are able to provide funding for some participants to cover lodging, mileage reimbursement and meals for Georgia State and Local governmental agencies (cities/counties) who actively participate with a mobile communications vehicle.  Support or administrative vehicles (ie: personnel transport vehicles, sedans, SUVs, Trucks) will not be eligible for reimbursement.  Agencies can bring multiple communication vehicles or trailers and expenses will be covered for each vehicle that is deemed a fully functional communication asset.  Assets outside of Georgia are encouraged to participate however we are unable to cover expenses for out of state vehicles so any expenses would be the responsibility of the personnel or their agency. 

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Below is a breakdown of eligible funding expenses:

Lodging:  Lodging will be inside Stone Mountain Park at the Evergreen Marriott located at 4021 Lakeview Drive.  GEMA/HS will cover the cost for 2 rooms for each registered MCV that participates in the exercise (lodging for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights).   Some rooms are double occupancy so if personnel double up the agency can avoid paying for lodging at their expense.  You can list names for those sharing a room on the registration page shown below.  We will make lodging arrangements for all participants utilizing the 2 rooms provided by GEMA/HS so please do not contact the hotel directly for the two state funded rooms.

Agencies are welcome to send additional personnel at the agencies expense and can book extra lodging for those personnel.   Rooms for additional personnel at their agencies expense must be made by calling the Evergreen Marriott at 770-879-9990.  As a government agency you should be eligible for the $133/night government rate without having to reference a specific group code for our function. The facility has over 5 floors with 311 guest rooms and 25 suites as well as 90 rooms at a 2nd Marriott property within the park so lodging rooms is not anticipated to be an issue for the State funded rooms or room funded by participating agencies.

Fuel reimbursement:  GEMA/HS will reimburse mileage at the standard federal rate to cover the travel expenses for each MCV that participates in the exercise.  The reimbursement covers the mileage to the exercise from the agency headquarters as well as the return trip.  Administrative or secondary support vehicles are not covered under this provision.  However, prime movers for communication trailers will be covered.  Direct dollar for dollar fuel costs are not eligible, only the mileage reimbursement. 

Meals:  Meals will be covered at the Waterside Restaurant located within the Evergreen Marriott for all participants that are registered as part of a group participating with an MCV.  Visitors who are not part of the GEMA exercise support staff or are not affiliated with a specific MCV team may be required to pay for their meals at the Waterside Restaurant at the conclusion of each meal.

Exercise support staff: Participants providing direct support on behalf of GEMA will have their meals and lodging covered through direct contract with the Evergreen Marriott and Waterside Restaurant.  Mileage reimbursement for exercise support staff may be available under certain circumstances.  Exercise support staff positions include:

  • Branch directors
  • Evaluators
  • Safety Officers
  • Incident Communication Center Managers (INCMs) located within Exercise Command
  • Radio Operators (RADOs) located within Exercise Command
  • Logistics/Supply Officers
  • Technical Specialist (THSP)
  • Registration support

Most of these positions are traditionally filled by personnel who have participated in previous MCV exercises.  Anyone interested in filling these roles should contact the exercise director, Nick Brown for more information.

Vendors:  Vendor participation is being explored as an option.  Until a final determination is made, vendors should contact the exercise director Nick Brown prior to making any arrangements for attendance or participation.

Exercise design:  The approach of the exercise will not be a scenario based response and instead, a number of tasks will be assigned for the communications unit leaders (COML) to complete to demonstrate successful interoperability.  Many great improvements have been added to the exercise evaluation guide that we’ll be using this year.  We have added many additional tasks that agencies have not demonstrated in prior exercises and we’ve increased our involvement with Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES). 

There is an expectation that each agency should complete thorough programming of all radios with the national interoperability frequencies found in the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) prior to the event.  In the past, we’ve also asked that you complete a vehicle inventory of your MCV and its capabilities.  We have many of those inventories on file and are inputting that data into an online data collection tool that is currently in beta testing.  This tool is a direct result of last year’s MCV exercise and we hope that the tool will be demonstrated as a very useful addition for our asset management and tracking efforts.

MCV’s and participants should plan to arrive between 12pm and 2pm on Monday May 13.  The exercise briefing will take place from 2pm-3:30pm that afternoon where team assignments and COML’s will be decided during or immediately following the briefing.  The exercise will begin the following morning on Tuesday at 8:00am.  Each team will be led by a COML who will be responsible for the overall management of their team and assets.  This COML can assign assistant COMLs for help in record keeping and logistical needs that support the COML in their duties.

This exercise will provide an opportunity to evaluate the functionality of vehicles and radio/communications equipment. It will also enhance the training and preparation of communications teams. Those who have been through COML or COMT training can get their task books signed off for participation in the exercise or through the evening practice stations that will be set up for various functions. 

Best practices:  Because we’ve conducted quite a few of these exercises over the past several years, we have identified some of factors that have assisted the MCV operators achieve high performance while operating at the exercise.  Please consider the best practices below when planning for your MCV participation at the exercise or with any deployment.  These items are not required for participation and are only intended as a recommendation.

  • Inclusion of tactical dispatch team personnel (911 center communication officers fill this role for most agencies and are attached as part of the MCV operations team).
  • Team comprised of multiple members who are trained in all functions/operations of the MCV including COML leadership and COMT technical operations.
  • Personnel who are licensed as an Amateur Radio operator or attachment of volunteer ARES members to assist the MCV and its members with ARES related tasks.
  • Tools kits and supplies to troubleshoot and make necessary simple repairs to radio, telephone and computer equipment. Examples are fuses, connectors, plugs, testing equipment (phone test sets, probe tracer kits, punch down tools, etc.) and radio programming software/cables.

Registration:  Registration for this event begins immediately and must be completed no later than Friday May 3, 2013.  Only one registration for the entire agency or MCV is required so please coordinate with other team members prior to submitting registration. 

To Register visit:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/mcv2013

If you receive a “page cannot be displayed” message after you click the link, try the link again or wait a few minutes.  Sometimes the link may inadvertently show an error if someone else is currently completing a registration or we are pulling a report from the system. 

Thank you again to you and your agency for your ongoing partnership to help improve interoperable communications for Georgia. We look forward to working with you to make this another successful training event for the citizens within your jurisdiction and the citizens throughout Georgia.

If you have any questions please feel free to give me a call or email. 

Nick Brown, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator, Homeland Security Division
GEMA/Homeland Security
Office:  404-624-2359
Email:  click here

See also: California 2013 MCC Rally (May 8, 2013)

 

 

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