Public Works: Preparing for and responding to terrorism/weapons of mass destruction

Roy M. Robinson
Program Coordinator
Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX)
Texas A&M University

With the threat of terrorism on the rise, critical public infrastructure (i.e., power plants, water purification plants, water treatment facilities, local government buildings) is an obvious target. In the event of a terrorist incident, public works personnel will play a crucial role in the response by providing valuable resources and expertise.

The National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center (NERRTC), part of the Texas Engineering Extension Service and the Texas A&M University System, has developed courses as part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium's curricula to improve the abilities of jurisdictions to combat terrorism. The "Public Works: Preparing for and Responding to Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction" course trains public works managers and supervisors in their critical infrastructure and public services responsibilities and roles as they relate to a jurisdiction's preparation and response to terrorism/weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incident. Each jurisdiction is encouraged to develop a multi-discipline incident management team capable of responding to either the crisis or the consequences of a terrorism/WMD incident.

The course is conducted in an interactive environment in which a balanced combination of personnel from local agencies located within the jurisdiction includes representatives of public works, fire services, hazardous materials response, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public health, and emergency management personnel. Using the collective experience of all course participants, public works will be able to effectively contribute to the management of a terrorism/WMD incident as a member of the jurisdiction's unified command structure.

The course delivery methodology consists of lectures, small group discussions, case studies, and scenario-driven participant activities. Participants conclude the course with an activity designed to improve and enhance the public works terrorism annex to the jurisdiction's emergency operations plan. This three-day (24 course hours) management-level course is free of charge (funded by the Department of Justice) and is taught on-site within the jurisdiction. Participants attending at least 85 percent of all course hours receive a NERRTC course attendance certificate. The materials provided for this course include a participant manual with a bibliography, glossary and appendices (which includes a copy of the Federal Response Plan Extract and the Terrorism Annex to the Federal Response Plan).

To reserve a training date for the "Public Works: Preparing for and Responding to Terrorism/Weapons of Mass Destruction" course for 2001, contact Roy M. Robinson at the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), Texas A&M University System via e-mail, fax or phone.

Roy M. Robinson, Program Coordinator (979) 458-6758 or 1(800) 824-7303 (979) 458-6771 (fax) Roy.Robinson@teexmail.tamu.edu