ISR conducted the fifth installment of the Canada-US Enhanced Resiliency Experiment (CAUSE) in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (BC), and Whatcom County in Washington State (WA). This experiment tested numerous emerging emergency response technologies and capabilities. These technologies were used to support emergency operations in border communities in both Canada and the US in a joint response to a Mt. Baker eruption scenario.
Natural Resources Canada engaged ISR to develop and run two 3 hour notification exercises with offshore oil and gas partners in the Newfoundland & Labrador, and Nova Scotia regions. These half day exercises were run independently for each of the two regions and saw participation from provincial and federal level stakeholders. These exercises aimed to identify how information moves between each of the key stakeholders and how this information is processed by each organization.
ISR has recently completed work supporting the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO) in developing three complex emergency management framework documents to assist MTO staff and other key stakeholders during emergency situations. To verify the utility and the accuracy of the response strategies outlined in the plans, ISR developed and facilitated a table top exercise (TTX) for the key plans stakeholders. This one day TTX provided multiple scenarios against which each of the three frameworks were notionally used to coordinate a response effort. The TTX was supported by a ½ day after action review (AAR) sessions which gathered key successes and areas for improvement within each of the three frameworks. The AAR session informed the development of an after action report providing remedial action(s) for each of the areas for improvement identified for the three frameworks during the exercise.
Following the completion of Exercise Unified Response 2014, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) requested ISR’s assistance in addressing the key findings and lessons learned as reported in the Exercise Unified Response After Action Report. As a result ISR’s highly experienced team was able to create new plans and procedures to help aid in OPG’s radiation surveillance, accident projection and dose control programs. In conjunction with the Province of Ontario, ISR developed a Radiation Survey Plan for all stages of response as well as a staff rotational plan for release and post-release phases of a severe accident. These plans were made by studying and understanding the procedures used at accidents at Fukushima Daiichi plant and adapting and improving on them for use at OPG.
ISR designed and developed a technical scenario for the Ottawa Fire Service (OFS) to test an experimental Public Safety Broadband Network (PSBN) that has been developed by the Communications Interoperability Research Test and Evaluation Centre (CIRTEC) established by the Communications Research Centre (CRC). ISR developed a live field play scenario requiring OFS HAZMAT deployment and response to a suspicious package using new technology capabilities were used by responders to verify their current functionality and to elicit potential future user requirements for the technologies.
ISR developed and delivered an exercise for the City of Burlington’s Emergency Management Team (EMT). This exercise was provided to both the primary and alternate Emergency Management Team (EMT) over two days and identified key areas for improvement during activations of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). This exercise provided a progressive learning opportunity for the EMT through the combination of theoretical training followed by a Command Post Exercise (CPX) where participants worked through a simulated emergency within their respective role in the EOC. The focus of this exercise was to investigate the responsibilities of the EOC during the recovery phase of an emergency after the initial response has been completed.
Ontario Power Generation enlisted ISR’s Francois Lemay to assist in the preparation and execution of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Operational Safety Review Team (OSART) mission hosted by the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in September and October of 2016. ISR supported management at Pickering in the understanding, preparation, execution, and review and response to findings for all assessment areas of the plant inspection.
The OSART mission final report commended Pickering for a number of good practices, making good progress in a number of operational safety areas, and for the reinforcement of safety culture by the plant’s senior leadership team. The OSART team also proposed a number of safety enhancements which management at Pickering are addressing as they prepare for the follow-up visit by the OSART team.
In October 2016, ISR worked with Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to develop and deliver a half day Table Top Exercise (TTX) for representatives from 12 federal and provincial government departments. This exercise was designed to further increase the capabilities of Canadian government organizations in coordinating an effective multi-agency response to an offshore oil incident as Canada’s east coast is steadily increasing its offshore oil production. The 2012 report of the Commissioner Environment and Sustainable Development and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon incident are reminders of the need to understand and practice response to offshore oil/natural gas emergencies and exercises such as this demonstrate Canada’s efforts to ensure a timely, effective response.
In April 2016, International Safety Research (ISR) worked with Canadian and US first responders to execute the Canada-US Enhanced (CAUSE) Resiliency Experiment for Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS), Public Safety Canada and the US Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate First Responders Group. This marked the fourth experiment in this series and demonstrated that shared situational awareness through interoperable communications during an emergency can lead to enhanced resiliency. CAUSE IV involved participants from the Canada-US border communities of Sarnia, ON and St Clair County, MI. This experiment used a variety of advanced technologies and applications in order to promote cross-border information sharing while simulating a coordinated cross-border patient transfer and a response to a tornado causing destruction on both sides of the border.
International Safety Research (ISR) coordinated the planning, development, design and delivery of Exercise Vulcan, a two day full-scale exercise (FSX) and training session conducted in March, 2016 at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), Maple Ridge Campus. Led by Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) and Transport Canada (TC), this training and exercise program was developed in response to a recommendation made by the TC Emergency Response Task Force (ERTF) following the catastrophic derailment that occurred in Lac-Mégantic, QC in July 2013. Exercise Vulcan was designed to identify the current capability in responding to Class 3 flammable liquids derailments as well as to inform the development of a national standard for awareness-level training to respond to such incidents. The training’s aim was to raise the level of awareness of volunteer firefighters of the complexities and dangers in responding to train derailments involving flammable liquids, primarily crude oil.
International Safety Research (ISR) developed Exercise Eastport 379 to assess the progress of Trans Northern Pipeline’s (TNPI) Emergency Management Program (EMP). ISR assisted TNPI staff by leading the design, development and conduct of this Full Scale Exercise (FSE) which took place in Hamilton, ON in December 2015. The exercise scenario was designed to assess the progress of TNPI staff’s knowledge of response planning and incident command. It also evaluated how TNPI, municipal responders’ and supporting organizations’ worked together to respond to a release of petroleum products caused by a ruptured pipeline. The responders and scenario activities were divided between the incident command post (ICP) and an on-site field crew who responded together to contain the effects of the spill. ISR controlled the conduct of the exercise at each of the main locations and ensured that any delays or changes to the exercise schedule were appropriately relayed and managed at the opposing location. This exercise benefitted from the involvement of numerous organizations including local first responders, TNPI and their contractors, municipalities, First Nations and provincial and federal government officials.
International Safety Research (ISR) conducted a tabletop exercise (TTX) on behalf of Defence Research and Development Canada’s Centre for Security Science (DRDC CSS) and Health Canada’s (HC) Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate in November 2015 in Ottawa, ON. This TTX focused on the capacity to monitor humans for exposure to radiation following both a major power plant-based nuclear disaster and a non-nuclear radiation contamination event. ISR designed two unique scenarios that focused on the different elements that involve human monitoring processes following these types of events. While leveraging these scenarios, ISR facilitated the TTX in a manner so as to meet the HC objectives. These included identifying the necessary post-event required actions for the triage of exposed individuals, sampling for and the conduct of biodosimetry and bioassay testing, and the provision of personal dosimetry resources.
Held in November 2015, Exercise Intrepid 2015 was a two day exercise which involved a simulated incident at the Point Lepreau Generating Station. This exercise is a result of NB Power's commitment to safety through the validation of all plans and procedures. The exercise was designed to challenge 30 organizations and with more than 1500 players involved, this marked the largest full scale nuclear exercise the province had ever seen. For more than one year, ISR, coordinated the planning, development, and design of the exercise. The Exercise Design Team was dedicated to the development of a realistic and challenging scenario that would ensure organizations at every level of response would achieve their exercise objectives and successfully test their respective emergency response plan.
As a part of this project, International Safety Research (ISR) was retained by the Director General of Nuclear Safety to provide project scoping, management, control, administrative support, and technical services for the development and execution of a nation-wide radon survey. The purpose of the Radon Survey is to take measurements of radon concentrations and determine the required remediation in all DND/CF owned buildings and private residences in Canada.
ISR led the R&D project, Early Triage for Radiological and Nuclear Events (ETRNE), that was based on the concept that in any radiological/nuclear (RN) event involving the release of radioactive material, it is vitally important to determine whether or not casualties have been internally contaminated. This project, funded by the Centre for Security Science (CSS), developed a protocol, through modeling, scientific testing and experimentation, that allows responders and receivers to use their existing hand-held radiation detectors to rapidly screen casualties of an RN event for internal contamination. Detector specific protocols were developed based on screening criteria calculated from Monte Carlo N Particle (MCNP) transport code simulations and laboratory experiment that considered the biokinetics of internal contamination.
Beginning in January 2014, International Safety Research (ISR) started working with Defence Research and Development Canada's Centre for Security Sciences (DRDC CSS) and partners to develop CAPEX 2015 Exercise “Northern Lights”. This exercise is a capability exercise (CAPEX) that occurs every two years and involves national level response teams comprised of law enforcement and military specialists from Canada, the US, the UK and Australia. CAPEX allowed these teams to practice their response to complex scenarios involving chemical, biological, radiological and explosive threats (CBRNE). Northern Lights took place at the end of April 2015 at the RCMP's Technical Protective Operations Facility near Ottawa. ISR coordinated the design of the multi-day exercise, facilitated its execution and prepared the scientific after action review report for the international community.
Following the permanent shutdown of a nuclear power plant, ISR was contracted to develop the process to re-zone portions of the plant site to reduce the radiation protection requirements, operational costs, and the number of control zones. ISR created plans to identify the re-zoning locations and characterized each location based on its radiological risk. Detailed re-zoning plans were then prepared and an in-field radiation survey protocol was developed that was compliant with regulatory requirements and international best practices, such as the Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM).
ISR was contracted by the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF) to develop a technical planning basis and nuclear emergency response program for Canada in support of the visits of American, British, and French nuclear-powered vessels (NPVs) and nuclear-capable vessels (NCVs) that are currently authorized to visit three Canadian ports. ISR was tasked with developing, and on an ongoing basis updating, the technical safety documentation that contains the technical planning basis and recommended precautionary measures for public and environmental protection for these goodwill visits. Planning distances were developed and refined for the implementation of protective actions (i.e., evacuation, sheltering, and stable iodine prophylaxis) in the event of a nuclear accident involving a radiological release. This was followed by the development of plans, procedures and a training and exercise program for the response teams stood up for these visits.
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) contracted International Safety Research (ISR) to re-write their guidelines for calculating radiation doses based on a release of airborne radioactive material to capture advances made in the fields of atmospheric dispersion modelling and dose assessment. ISR conducted a literature search and consulted with industry experts to identify a clear and concise guidance on treatment of meteorology, source characterization, modeling atmospheric dispersion, calculation of consequences and model uncertainties. This project incorporated the above findings into a current standard for modelling the consequences of a nuclear reactor accident in Canada. This standard identifies acceptable data sources and methodologies to account for specific effects, and recommends standardized end points for the calculations in determining dose rates. The produced standard is now available on the CSA Standards website.
International Safety Research (ISR) designed and executed a complex multi-agency communications experiment, known as the Canada-US Enhanced Resiliency (CAUSE) Experiment. ISR worked with Alberta, Saskatchewan and Montana (US) along with federal partners and technology providers to test a wide range of communications equipment within a simulated emergency environment in November 2014. The experiment area covered the southeast corner of Alberta, the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and northern Montana and had participants sending and receiving communications from a variety of locations in order to test the equipment used but also to measure the improvement to the overall response. The goal of the experiment was to assess the communication and overall response effectiveness of standalone radios compared to those combined with a deployable broadband network. A formalized evaluation process was conducted that provided an assessment of the results of this experiment for the emergency management communities in both Canada and the US.
International Safety Research (ISR) was tasked with developing the ground-breaking Digital Volunteer Supported Recovery Operations Experiment (DVSROE) which was used to test if cooperation between organizations using social media led to improved recovery operations following a disaster. The exercise tested digital volunteers, traditional emergency management and humanitarian organizations listening and communicating to the public through the use of social media. Information was presented to the participants using ISR’s innovative exercise website which provided similar applications to popular social media tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.) in a closed and safe environment. Participants and their respective organizations performed their normal recovery operation tasks while following the Social Media in Emergency Management (SMEM) Concept of Operations (ConOp), as applicable. The experiment was very successful and was featured widely in Halifax media.
International Safety Research (ISR) was contracted to conduct the radiological component of a preliminary quantitative risk assessment for the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station. This assessment identified any potential human health and environmental risks as a result of historical and ongoing operations at the facility and if these risks need to be addressed. Any risks associated with radiation dose to humans were calculated following the CSA N288.1 Standard using the IMPACTTM modelling software. Toxicity assessments for various airborne and waterborne release pathways were considered for a number of radionuclides. ISR defined criteria to categorize the level of risk to humans; these categories correlated to a recommended environmental monitoring plan. ISR also performed a radiological exposure assessment for non-human organisms to determine the radiation dose at the exposure location.
International Safety Research (ISR) was tasked with coordinating the development of Exercise Unified Response (ExUR), a three-day exercise designed to challenge all organizations responsible for responding to a nuclear emergency at Ontario Power Generation's (OPG) Darlington Nuclear Generating Station (DNGS). ExUR spanned a wide variety of response functions and started with the initial indications of a problem at the plant and subsequent notification of response organizations, through the activation of emergency operations centers and the actions required to protect the public, including public messaging, to the first steps of the recovery phase, when the emergency has been stopped and life must return to normal. ExUR involved over 54 organizations and thousands of players responding to a major nuclear emergency at DNGS as if it were a real event.
International Safety Research (ISR) established a series of detailed objectives for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) National Foot-and-Mouth Disease “Operating Policy and Procedures” exercise. It was determined that to fully understand the utility of the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network (CAHSN) during an outbreak, the team would need to establish maximal capacities and an appropriate timeframe that these capacities could be sustained. In order to effectively address these problems, an extensive online questionnaire was conducted prior to a two day Table-Top Exercise (TTX) designed, organized and coordinated by ISR. A set of recommendations was generated on the basis of the findings of the questionnaire and the TTX. The recommendations were focussed on clarifying and communicating the expectations for the service provided to CFIA by the Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network.
International Safety Research (ISR) designed and conducted a series of exercise-based activities focusing on a simulated terrorist attack on the Alberta Products Pipeline (APPL). Exercise “Elaion Response” was designed to examine the interoperability of the pipeline industry and law enforcement response activities in the aftermath of a deliberate attack. ISR developed the scenario while conferring with multiple levels of government, coordinated the development of the objectives and facilitated and controlled both a Table-Top Exercise (TTX) and a Full Scale Exercise (FSX). The team used ISR’s exercise website and communication systems in order to fully develop all the activities. The TTX provided participating organizations an orientation to forensic investigations, roles, responsibilities, protocol, procedures and a validation of training standards in an incident involving explosive devices damaging critical infrastructure in the oil / gas and energy / electricity sectors. The FSX took place in multiple cities and brought together industrial response personnel and law enforcement / fire HAZMAT first responders to demonstrate their respective response-related duties and capabilities, specific to an attack on a pipeline. The exercise identified key issues that impact interoperability of the teams.
On behalf of Public Safety (PS), International Safety Research (ISR) was tasked to design, execute and report on an orientation seminar and a Table-Top Exercise (TTX) for the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Emergency Responder and First Receiver Communities of Practice. The orientation session was designed to provide Provincial/Territorial stakeholders the forum to provide updates on relevant CBRNE activity in their respective jurisdictions. It also allowed for a discussion forum on the development of CBRNE Responder Competencies to allow for additional examinations of training requirements and associated delivery models. The seminar provided an opportunity for lead Canadian agencies, such as the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and PS to discuss advancements in the Beyond the Borders Plan (BtB) associated with Health Security and CBRNE Responder Competencies. The presentations, discussions and facilitated scenarios presented during the Seminar and TTX elicited feedback from the participants and successfully established a baseline understanding of the operational requirements / issues and a roadmap to future events.