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Mission Manager Incident Command Tracking Capabilities Tested at Multi-Jurisdictional Search-and-Rescue Exercise (NCR SAREX) in the National Capital Region

LORTON, VA, October 2015 – In a first-ever training event involving seven law enforcement agencies in the National Capital Region (NCR), Mission Manager was put to the ultimate test as officials compared the incident management software with traditional paper methodologies during a mock search for a missing family at NCR SAREX.

Sponsored by the Fairfax County Police Department, the multi-jurisdictional Search-and-Rescue Exercise, or SAREX, was held Oct. 16-17 at the Mason Neck State Park that is bordered by the Potomac River, Occoquan River and neighboring communities in Lorton, Va.

SAREX briefing

Searchers receive a briefing about their mission (Photo courtesy: WTOP/Mike Murillo)

It was a grueling 36-hour exercise that involved approximately 80 participants from the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC region.  The event attracted law enforcement officers from agencies including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County and Montgomery County, Md. Also on hand were the Marine Patrol, Air Assets and numerous volunteer SAR groups – including several K9 and equestrian teams that are long-time users of Mission Manager.

The organizers’ primary goal was to bring all search resources together and hone their collective skills in this multi-operational exercise involving multiple jurisdictions. At the same time, they wanted to see how Mission Manager performed compared to the traditional paper-based method of organizing and tracking search teams.

In this exciting competition, automation clearly won over paper, according to Andy Young, Mission Manager subject matter expert and a director of Parthenon Technology Consultants LLC, in Sterling, Va.

SAREX-NCR

Mission Manager’s mapping layers were used to plot the coordinates of the search area, and also track members, clues and events in real-time.

“Everyone we talked to – from the teams on the front lines to the search managers – gave Mission Manager a big thumbs up,” said Young. “They were particularly impressed with how it simplified the process of checking in-and-out members, performing accurate PAR [Personal Accountability Report] checks, organizing teams, and tracking all the search elements on mission maps.”

The mission was based on a scenario involving a mother and two sons who went missing while hiking in the park. The children’s father searches for them in the woods late at night, and also finds himself lost. Then, an 80-year-old Alzheimer’s patient self-deploys after learning of the incident on TV, and becomes lost herself.

The idea was to see how Mission Manager and search managers performed without any pre-planning.  Prior to the mission, they were given a GPS coordinate of the command post and a flyer describing the training goals and resource types.

The paper-based crew coordinated the mission inside a huge command vehicle and a communications truck, which were parked about 30 feet apart.  Andy Young and his crew sat at a table just outside the command bus, running Mission Manager on his laptop. A second computer was set up inside the command bus for the planning section, and a third in the communications truck for operations.

Moving between the three stations, he demonstrated how easy it was to check-in the participants, set up team assignments and run the mission in the field with a click of a button.  Meanwhile, the paper-based crew scrambled to write all the information on paper – running back-and-forth between the trailers to share information.

Andy Young

Andy Young is pictured outside the command vehicle as he demonstrates the power of Mission Manager.

“Mission Manager automated the entire process,” he said. “Setting up the team assignments was incredibly fast.”

The mission began with a hasty search – a quick search with K9 teams mostly on defined trails – then transitioned into a wide area search that spanned 5 square miles.  The U.S. National Grid (USNG), which is the standard geo-referencing tool for land SAR missions, was used to track and pinpoint the location of the subjects.

Mission Manager’s mapping layers, including USNG and U.S. Geological Survey Topo Maps, were used to define all the search areas. Mission Manager also tracked and recorded all events from the radio logs, including the participants’ actions, locations and clues found (such as candy, a black jacket and lunch leftovers.)  With geo-location codes, all this information appeared instantly on the mission maps.

“People were particularly impressed with the COMMS log [radio log] because it told the entire story,” Young said, noting that the recorded information also simplified the process of producing after action reviews.

Comms Log

The COMMs log tracked all events in real-time at the exercise, including clues found during the search.

During the exercise, three of the four missing family members were found alive and well; one of the sons had drowned in the river. With the help of air assets, the search parties also found the Alzheimer’s patient who was equipped with Project LifeSaver receivers/transmitters.

Fortunately, all these victims were role-players. But as it turned out, the training exercise evolved into a real-world SAR mission. Search teams involved in the exercise also found real people who were lost in the area.

“It was an exhilarating, rewarding experience to take part in this exercise,” said Young. “It was also a ground-breaking event for agencies and volunteers in the National Capitol Region, who gained the skills and knowledge that will help ensure well-coordinated search efforts in the future.”

For more details about the event, read article that appeared in WTOP – Washington’s Top News – by Mike Murillo: “Fairfax search drill hopes to better prepare officials.”

 ABOUT MISSION MANAGER
Mission Manager provides cloud-based software designed to help save lives and property by enabling first responders to operate more efficiently and effectively. Mission Manager’s team member and asset management capabilities, combined with its calendar and communication functions, allows users to enhance team readiness through optimized training and seamlessly integrate mission-specific operations during real-time events. Over the past three years, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 actual missions ranging from single-person rescues to large public events and full-scale natural disaster response. Mission Manager is currently used in all 50 U.S. states, and on every continent except Antarctica. Truly a global tool, Mission Manager is available in 80 languages.

SAREX-NCR

SAREX reports

Florida Task Force 4 (FL-TF4) Joint USAR Exercise Incorporates U.S. National Grid and Mission Manager Incident Command Software for Team Coordination, Live Tracking and Situational Awareness

It’s as real as it gets: A tornado rips through Lakeland, Fla., leveling a campground, destroying a building and toppling multiple vehicles with “victims” trapped in torn and twisted wreckage. Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams work side-by-side as they come to the aid of the trapped victims, using hydraulic cutters, saws and spreaders to rip through roofs and crushed doors. Meanwhile, helicopters and drones fly overhead to access the damage and pinpoint the location of the victims.

Fortunately for Lakeland, the large-scale disaster was a 24-hour joint exercise designed to put first responders to the test – namely USAR teams from the Florida Task Force 4 (FL-TF4) and the Lakeland Fire Department. Luckily, the victims were role-players and mannequins, and the campground was a paint-ball field.

It was FL-TF4’s annual mobilization exercise, called MOBEX 2015, held October 6 to test the readiness levels of the USAR teams.  The exercise focused on all aspects of the deployment, not just on the skills of individual members and teams but also on the logistics, preparation and planning for a catastrophic event.

USNG MOBEX MAP

Using USNG map layers, Mission Manager displays a wide-area search, or WAS, involving three FL-TF4 squads, K9s and live “victims.” Click for larger screen view.

At the command post, Mission Manager’s web-based incident management system was used to coordinate team assignments, provide status of the search areas, and indicate the locations of the victims using the U.S. National Grid System, or USNG.

USNG: The National Standard for Land SAR Operations
USNG is a nationally consistent geo-referencing tool that provides user-friendly position referencing on gridded digital and/or paper maps with pinpoint accuracy. Derived from the Military Grid Reference System, USNG is an intuitive, alphanumeric system that is used for wide-area searches, but could equally well identify the front or back door of a home or business.

Serving as a standard language of location for Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel and multiple agencies, USNG is federally mandated for land SAR operations to ensure first responders avoid multiple searches of the same area.

This universal map index improves interoperability among first responders at all levels – from federal, state and local government – which is vital during large-scale natural disasters that involve multiple agencies.

The Mission Manager Connection
During MOBEX 2015, the search area boundary was first plotted on Mission Manager’s mapping layers prior to squad deployment. Then, as the wide-area search progressed, squad leaders would radio the truncated USNG coordinates of each victim found, which was then plotted on the Mission Manager map, according to Al Studt, USNG subject-matter expert and FL-TF4 Communications Specialist.

“Everyone who saw Mission Manager in action at the command post was impressed – it is a great tool.  They were particularly impressed by the fact that it was so easy to use,” said Studt, who also uses Mission Manager to teach USNG classes.

Mission Manager provides a team-based operational environment for day-to-day tasks, allowing administrators to easily manage personnel and asset records. It also serves as an online command center during incidents or planned events.

When used in the field, Mission Manager enables incident commanders to create, assign and track team member tasks, and see a real-time picture of every event that transpires on mission maps. Administrators can drop markers onto the map to identify major items, such as the command post, lost subject information, clues and staged equipment.

Administrators can draw lines to represent team assignments or other paths; and also provide area sectioning of custom-drawn areas using polygons, circles and pies. Every change to every field in Mission Manager is automatically logged and can be instantly exported as NIMS ICS compliant reports.

The USNG-Mission Manager Integration
USNG was fully integrated into Mission Manager in 2011 thanks to Studt, who among his other roles, is a Lieutenant with Canaveral Fire Rescue.  The Grid can also be accessed via GPS receivers and smart phone apps.

An initiative of the nonprofit Public XY Mapping Project,  USNG was released as a standard by the Federal Geographic Data Committee in 2001. The Grid was later adopted by FEMA in 2009 due to the confusion among first responders during Hurricane Katrina.

During missions, air assets typically use latitude and longitude coordinates but are required to switch to the Grid when interfacing with USAR. The degree of precision is determined by the number of digits in the coordinates (i.e., 23 67 = 1,000 meters, 23451 67345 = 1 meter.)

CDRP MOBES

UAS imagery assessing structural damages (Courtesy of the Center for Disaster Risk Policy, or CDRP)

Studt noted that USNG’s user-friendly coordinate system allowed for improved efficiency during MOBEX.  “By using USNG, we only had to transmit 8 digits [to indicate a victim’s location] – compared to much longer character strings, nearly 16 digits, that are inherent with Lat/Long,” said Studt.

To learn how to use the Grid – in only 8 minutes – watch the USNG video in the Search Video Series, produced by the Iowa Task Force 1 (IA-TF1). In the Module 5, viewers can learn how to access USNG, read coordinates and find locations on a topographical map. Or visit  USNGCenter.org

To see dramatic drone imagery of the exercise, check out the Center for Disaster Risk Policy’s (CDRP) Facebook Post. CDRP provided the UAS video imagery, geotagged photos, ortho-rectified maps with USNG grids, and live video to the team leaders and planners.

For more details on MOBEX 2015, see The Ledger newspaper article by Kaitlyn Pearson, who reported live from the scene via Twitter.  

ABOUT MISSION MANAGER
Mission Manager provides cloud-based software designed to help save lives and property by enabling first responders to operate more efficiently and effectively. Mission Manager’s team member and asset management capabilities, combined with its calendar and communication functions, allows users to enhance team readiness through optimized training and seamlessly integrate mission-specific operations during real-time events. Over the past three years, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 actual missions ranging from single-person rescues to large public events and full-scale natural disaster response. Mission Manager is currently used in all 50 U.S. states, and on every continent except Antarctica. Truly a global tool, Mission Manager is available in 80 languages. To learn more, visit www.missionmanager.com

 

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2015 CATO Training Venue Attracts 1,000+ Tactical Officers; Mission Manager’s SWAT Incident Command Software Capabilities Demonstrated in Exhibit Hall

More than 1,000 SWAT personnel had the opportunity to preview the latest trends, services and technologies for tactical law officers – including Mission Manager’s incident command software capabilities – at the 2015 California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) Conference held last week in Anaheim, CA.

The company’s booth staff was pleased to report that its incident management software was a big hit among the attendees, who were impressed by the fact that Mission Manager was an all-encompassing tool for personnel & asset management, callouts, situational awareness and reporting.

Currently, most SWAT teams are using disparate tools to perform various functions, including manual spreadsheets to manage their members,  standard dispatch systems to callout their teams, and pen-and-paper to produce reports.

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Demonstration on how Mission Manager can provide situational awareness for SWAT teams, such as the recent riots in Baltimore (Photo by Daniel DiPinto / DiPinto Design)

The staff demonstrated Mission Manager’s capabilities first-hand during its Scavenger Hunt, which drew nearly three dozen participants who vied for valuable prizes including  a one-year subscription to Mission Manager. During the two-day contest, the staff deployed participants to various locations on the show floor, sending clues leading to the location of the prizes.

A big thanks goes out to the CATO organizers and participating vendors, including 5.11, ProforceAdamson Police Products, Frog Lube, American Spartan Apparel, Voodoo Tactical and Safariland. The companies handed out valuable prizes including SWAT apparel, a gun cleaning kit, weapon bi-pod and a tactical backpack.

The contest gave participants an opportunity to visit various vendors while testing Mission Manager’s user-friendly, intuitive features with their own cell phones.

How it Works

With Mission Manager, teams can callout their teams three ways – via SMS text, email and voice. Because all personnel data is kept current by the members’ themselves, including their training and certifications, the incident commander can determine within minutes who is certified and available to participate in the mission.

Using pre-set mission tools that can be easily customized, team leaders can access an instant checklist of all activities needed to support the mission – whether it be an active shooter response, dangerous suspect warrant or large-scale public event.

With real-time tracking capabilities, Mission Manager gives incident commanders a birds-eye view of the mission as it occurs.  In the field, commanders can track all phases of the event in real time on their laptops or mobile devices.

Mission Manager can provide SWAT commanders with situational awareness in the field with robust mapping tools. They can triangulate the location of the mission, the command post and surrounding schools, hospitals, fire stations and police stations as well as weather conditions, terrains and boundaries.

Every activity is captured in the system, including team locations, radio logs and suspect information. After the mission, the data can be quickly exported as NIMS ICS-compliant reports or debriefs – saving agencies significant time and money.

About Mission Manager

Since 2011, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 missions, ranging from tactical operations and large-scale pubic events to single-person rescues and full-scale natural disasters. It has been adopted by agencies in all 50 U.S. states and 20 countries, and is available in 80 languages. Users include law enforcement agencies, search-and-rescue organizations, fire departments and emergency operation centers. Mission Manager is based on three core principles: Preparation, Readiness and Execution. To request a demo, please email sales@missionmanager.com or call 619-457-6119.

About CATO

The California Association of Tactical Officers is a professional organization dedicated to improving tactics and safety through education, peer contacts, and the sharing of tactical information. Membership entitles individuals and tactical teams to participate in CATO training, including the annual conference, at a price that demonstrates quality and value. The organization welcomes current and former members of law enforcement and the military. JOIN CATO TODAY and check out the CATO News Magazine.

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CATO Mission Manager staff

Mission Manager’s booth staff display their Scavenger Hunt mascot during the CATO show. Nearly 3 dozen SWAT officers participated in the contest and won valuable prizes from participating vendors.



 

 

 

 

Mission Manager to Showcase its Incident Command Software at the CATO Training Conference, Sept. 21-22, that Highlights Emerging Trends, Tactics and Technologies for Tactical SWAT Teams

Mission Manager will showcase its incident command software to the tactical law enforcement community at the 2015 CATO Conference, Sept. 21-22, at the Anaheim Marriott –  and  also spearhead a Scavenger Hunt contest with prizes to include a  free 1-year subscription to its robust cloud-based software. Attendees who participate in the contest will also have the opportunity to win a variety of prices from participating vendors during the show.CATO flyer

During the Scavenger Hunt, players will learn first-hand how cloud-based Mission Manager helps incident commanders easily manage their personnel and assets, communicate in real time, and track and log evidence trails – as players find clues during the game.  If you plan to attend CATO, please stop by our booth #223 and participate. Here’s how it works:

  • Stop by our booth,  and we’ll log you into Mission Manager’s pre-set missions, send you email & text alerts with “clues” every other hour.
  • Simply take a picture of the clue with your cell phone, email it back to our staff and return to our booth to claim your prize from participating vendors.
  • On Day #2 we will hold a raffle drawing of all players and announce the winner of our free 1-year subscription to Mission Manager (good for up to 10 users: Valued at $750)

As noted in our sponsored article in POLICE Magazine, Mission Manager lays the foundation for a strong infrastructure needed to save lives because it is based on team preparation and readiness. Mission Manager uniquely provides an operational environment for daily team management and serves as an online command center.

Since 2011, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 missions, including natural disasters, tactical operations, large-scale pubic events, campus security, search-and-rescue missions, and training. Users include law enforcement, fire departments,  search-and-rescue groups, emergency operation centers, security providers and the Civil Air Patrol.

The California Association of Tactical Officers was founded in 1997 as a professional organization dedicated to improving tactics, safety and professionalism of special weapons and tactics officers through education, training, peer contacts and the sharing of information and ideas. CATO has since become a premier professional organization and is dedicated to the continued improvement of officer safety through training, education and advocacy.

CATO’s annual training conference hosts approximately 1,000 SWAT officers, supervisors and commanders from teams throughout the Western United States. The CATO conference features educational seminars and presentations on emerging trends, tactics, legal issues, leadership and valuable ‘lessons learned’. The two day vendor trade show highlights the latest safety gear, weapons, munitions, clothing and technology provided by equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers.

Mission Manager to Present Virtual “Lost Person” Exercise at SAREX 2015 – California’s Premier Search-and-Rescue Training Event in the High Sierras; Live Demos Also Showcased at Company’s Booth

Mission Manager experts will demonstrate how its cloud-based incident command software can help first responders locate lost-and-missing persons during a virtual training exercise at SAREX 2015 – California’s premier Search-and-Rescue (SAR) training event sponsored by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, and Amador County Sheriff’s Department. Mission Manager will also provide hands-on demos at its booth during the event, which runs Sept. 11-13 at the Plasse’s Resort at Silver Lake, located in the High Sierras.

The desktop exercise is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Tent 6 at the remote resort.  It will simulate a mock lost person incident along the Carson River Emigrant Trail, a historic site that was used by Mormon pioneers beginning in 1848. The class will be facilitated by Eric Hanigan and Chris Stevens, Mission Manager technical experts who are also SAR first responders.

The scenario will tap into Mission Manager’s robust mapping and communications tools to locate the person who went missing along the trail. Participants can follow clues, such as footprints, to track the person to his campfire.  To see an overview of the topics to be covered, download the PDF presentation.

Based on Preparation, Readiness and Execution, Mission Manager uniquely provides an operational environment for daily team management and also serves as an online command center. In the field, Mission Manager provides a common operational picture for members in multiple locations using multiple devices.  After the incident, administrators can produce instant reports with analytics needed for legal compliance, debriefs and reimbursements.

To learn more about Mission Manager, see our 3-minute narrated video. Or visit our YouTube Channel to see our full line of videos, including instructional training videos.

 SAREX Poster

Mission Manager Releases Enhanced NIMS ICS Forms with Editing Capabilities to Streamline the Reporting Process for First Responders

SAN DIEGO, CA, June 4, 2015 – Mission Manager, Inc., a leading provider of cloud-based incident management software, today released a dynamic upgrade to its NIMS ICS forms that will greatly improve the efficiency of an agency’s reporting process. Mission Manager’s pre-filled forms are now editable, which enable incident commanders / emergency managers to customize reports needed for legal compliance, government reimbursements and debriefs.

The release of the upgraded forms was rolled out in conjunction with Mission Manager’s exhibit and training seminar at the National Search and Rescue Conference (SARCON 2015), scheduled June 4-7 at Estes Park, Colorado.

Cloud-based Mission Manager, which is based on Preparation, Readiness and Execution, uniquely provides an operational environment for daily team management and also serves as an online command center. It is a “one-stop shop” solution for team and asset management, mission planning and execution – all of which lay the foundation for a strong infrastructure needed to save lives and property.

Mission Manager’s automated reporting function is a powerful feature of the incident management software tool. Its robust database auto-populates certain fields in the forms, based on mission events – whether the mission involves a large-scale disaster, search-and-rescue operation, training exercise or planned event. The forms are fully compliant with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) Incident Command System (ICS).

Mission Manager NIMS ICS Forsm

The editable feature is available on the most commonly used pre-filled ICS forms, including Incident Briefing, Assignment List, Incident Check-In List, Incident Radio Communications Plan,
Medical Plan and Activity Log.

“We are very excited to release the enhanced forms to Mission Manager’s user community. With the editable feature, administrators can produce their reports faster and smarter with a click of a button. This reduces unnecessary paperwork and overtime often required to get reports done on time,” said Michael J. Berthelot, president and CEO of Mission Manager, Inc.

When used as a daily tool, Mission Manager allows incident commanders to manage everything from attendance records, training and missions to issued weapons and equipment. It also consolidates functions such as document management, timekeeping, scheduling and task management. Because these functions ensure teams are prepared – long before a crisis begins – incident managers can quickly deploy the right people at the right time.

Execution of the mission is initiated with simple drag-and-drop team-building. Incident commanders can easily create missions with pre-set or customized checklists. They can also quickly callout members via SMS text, email or voice (or all three simultaneously).

In the field, Mission Manager provides a common operational picture across multiple devices, including laptops, smart phones and tablets. Situational awareness is enhanced with robust maps featuring 100+ mapping layers.

All phases of an event are tracked in real time, including team locations, event/radio logs and assignment status. Every activity is automatically logged and recorded, providing a second-by-second record of every mission and event. This information can be easily exported as NIMS ICS reports.

First responder at PCMission Manager helps ensure a unified command, enabling incident commanders to obtain, share and manage critical information. During an incident, Mission Manager provides a user-defined Common Operational Picture that can be shared with agencies providing mutual aid. Mission Manager can easily scale to thousands of users as needed, including spontaneous volunteers.

Re-launched on July 15, 2015 with significantly enhanced security and infrastructure, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 missions in all 50 U.S. states and 20 nations since 2011. Users include search-and-rescue organizations, law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency operation centers.

In preparation for the re-launch, the company made significant upgrades to the infrastructure that bolstered its security and uptime rate, while strengthening technical and customer support services. Mission Manager also developed a tiered pricing structure to meet the needs of agencies of all sizes, and developed a grant program to assist qualifying, non-profit, 401(c) organizations.

ABOUT MISSION MANAGER
Mission Manager provides cloud-based software designed to help save lives and property by enabling first responders to operate more efficiently and effectively. Mission Manager’s team member and asset management capabilities, combined with its calendar and communication functions, allows users to enhance team readiness through optimized training and seamlessly integrate mission-specific operations during real-time events. Since 2011, Mission Manager has supported approximately 6,000 actual missions ranging from single-person rescues to large public events and full-scale natural disaster response. Mission Manager is currently used in all 50 US states, and on every continent except Antarctica. Truly a global tool, Mission Manager is available in 80 languages. For learn more, visit https://www.missionmanager.com

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