What Does BZ Mean?

Bravo Zulu when conveyed by flaghoist, morse code, or voice comms at the end of a mission means Well Done. It was introduced between allied forces in World War II.

This blog is a BZ to you.





D4H Making Multi-Agency Collaboration Easy During an Emergency

D4H is helping Waldo County EMA organization to be prepared and respond more effectively to natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters in collaboration with partner agencies.

Customer Background

Waldo County is located in Maine. Currently, the population stands at about 39,600 people. Waldo County’s county seat is in Belfast, which has a population of about 6,500 people. The county has an area of about 840 square miles and its about 85% rugged forestland. Most residents commute to cities in other counties for work.

The mission of the Waldo County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is to plan and prepare for disasters and emergencies that could happen in Waldo County, Maine coordinate with other government entities, coordinate county and municipal efforts for a joint response to regional disasters and emergencies, and establish and manage an organized effort to quickly respond and recover from such disasters and emergencies.

County EMAs provide an invaluable link between the almost 500 cities and towns in Maine and the State. EMAs like Waldo County provide support and leadership in preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation to their local, business, and volunteer partners.

Waldo County EMA

Coordinating at state, county, and town level

Maine is unique as it has both county government and municipal government, most US states generally have one or the other. Maine has 26 towns that all have the ability to set their own ordinances. There is also a county government that acts as a regional government, however, the county government does not have oversight over land use or roads, etc. as those are all decided at the town level. Each town has its own fire department and a few towns also have their own ambulance department.

At the town level, all of the firefighters and emergency managers are volunteers. Dale is the first level of a full-time emergency manager at Waldo County. The towns are generally quite self-sufficient but the county is responsible for three important services:

1. The Communications Center

The county runs the only communications/ dispatch center. All fire, police, and EMS services are dispatched from this one facility that the county runs.

2. Full-time EMA staff and the county EOC

The county is responsible for receiving updates from each of the towns and feeding them back out to the other towns during an emergency.

3. The Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s Office is the police department for 23 of the 26 towns. It is located in Belfast and it is run by the county. The Sheriff’s Department is in the same building as the EMA and the Communications Center is right next door.

Waldo EMA's command post

How Waldo County EMA uses D4H

Waldo County EMA uses D4H Incident Management for centrally managing all of their emergencies. It works very well for each of the 26 towns within the county as they might not have their own EOC. They can still log into the county level’s virtual D4H EOC to get a full picture of the incident and receive updates in real-time.

"I love that we can create status boards on the fly. In some emergencies, we have created our own brand new status boards to track information specific to that incident. Until COVID-19, we never thought that we’d have to track PPE. That was something that we were able to easily build out in the software. Anyone can go in and update their information and that’s been huge. In the past, it was all telephone calls and faxing in information."
— Dale Rowley, Director, Waldo County Emergency Management Agency.

Dale has built out several status boards in the EMA’s D4H Incident Management account. The status board that gets used the most is their ‘Roads and Utilities Board’. They use this to track the location of where trees have come down on the roads during a storm and whether there are power lines down at that location. The public works companies cannot clear the trees if they are wrapped up in wires, so the EMA then coordinates with private utility companies to have the wires cleared first. During a large storm, the EMA can actually bring the utility company into the incident in D4H Incident Management and have them add their updates directly into the software so that everyone is kept on the same page at all times.

Some of the other status boards that the EMA has built out include status boards to track casualties, resource requests, critical facilities, and gas stations.

"We use the log in D4H a lot too. It’s great to be able to just ping an individual or attach a photo. It comes in really handy."
— Dale Rowley, Director, Waldo County Emergency Management Agency.

Watch the full interview


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