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OR&R’s Emergency Response Division Operational Meeting

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019 — On September 3 - 6, OR&R’s Emergency Response Division (ERD) staff held an all-hands meeting in Cle Elum, Washington in the Cascade Mountains, east of OR&R’s Seattle office.

Large group of people pose for photo on a lawn.
OR&R Emergency Response Division meeting participants. Image credit: NOAA.

52 ERD members and offsite contractor staff participated in the meeting that focused on our teamwork and internal communication, our cross-divisional interactions and collaboration, and succession and knowledge transfer. Priorities and actions that emerged during the gathering were captured and incorporated into priorities for the division’s annual operating plan for FY20. All divisions of OR&R and a key external partner also participated in the event. Participants included OR&R’s Assessment and Restoration Division, Disaster Preparedness Program, Marine Debris Program, Business Services Group and headquarters, OR&R Senior Scientist, and a representative from the United States Coast Guard.

During the three-day conference, discussions were held on how to improve our scientific support services and adapt them to a continually changing environment; what the future of ERD looks like; and how we can effectively and efficiently coordinate with all divisions in OR&R. Our group cohesion was strengthened with team building exercises and group activities conducted throughout the conference, supported by a professional facilitator. Demonstrations of various tools such as Web General NOAA Operational Modeling Environment (WebGNOME), Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO), Chemical Aquatic Fate and Effects (CAFE), Aerial Locations of Hazardous Atmospheres (ALOHA), Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA), Data Integration, Visualization, Exploration and Reporting tool (DIVER), Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT), NOAA Unit Converter for Oil Spills (NUCOS) and Response Link were set up in multiple rooms so that participants were able to rotate through each station and learn more about these important models and tools that deliver critical information for our scientific support.

Overall, the conference enhanced communication throughout ERD, improved our priorities for our next annual operating plan, and allowed expression of areas for improvement. The event enhanced cohesion in the diverse and geographically distributed personnel of ERD and established goals for continuing the collaborative spirit present during the conference.

Consistent with a National Ocean Service Zero Waste Initiative, we minimized single use items during the event by using durable items such as mugs, cloth napkins, water carafes, reusable water bottles, sugar bowls, milk carafes, reusable chalkboard name tags, reusable dry erase name table tents, and minimizing and recycling printed materials. The planning team made use of Zero Waste Planning Guide for Large-scale Events and/or Conferences from the most recent International Marine Debris conference as a guide to reduce our footprint.

For further information, contact Megan.Raymond@noaa.gov.

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