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    Behind the Scenes of NDW’s Crisis Action Team During COVID-19 Pandemic



    Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Chidi Amadi 

    Naval District Washington

    WASHINGTON (NNS) – Naval District Washington (NDW) activates its Crisis Action Team when an incident occurs on an installation in the region that requires a large-scale response. Representatives of every N-code gather in the Regional Operations Center and develop solutions to complex problems. One of the CAT’s latest complex problems is how to operate while adhering to social distancing protocols put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

    “We can’t all come into the room together, nor should we at this time,” said Jeff Sanford, NDW emergency management director. “If we did, we’d be violating the very same thing we’re telling people not to do. We’re not above getting sick and nobody is immune to getting COVID-19.”
    Current social distancing protocols dictate that no more than 10 people be grouped together at once. NDW’s CAT has used modern technology to continue with their mission.

    “We use bridge lines where everybody calls in from their homes. The evolution of the learning curve is quick. You learn not to step on each other when you’re talking over the phone line and you really learn to have patience with connectivity issues and things like that. But we’ve proven in other events like for state of the union addresses that we can operate in a virtual environment, but it’s just never been every day. We’re operating in this virtual environment seven days a week and it’s working,” said Sanford.

    Using technology to communicate with more than a dozen people has its own set of challenges, but NDW’s CAT continues to press on and carry out its mission.

    “The biggest challenge I’m finding is losing the interactions you’d normally have,” said Mike Hedrick, NDW deputy director of operations. “Email and phone conversations can cut in and out. There’s a lot of side-bar conversations that go on in a normal environment where you have a room full of people. When you’re only communicating via electronic means, you lose those side-bar conversations where some good ideas and solutions are generated.”

    “But with all of today’s technologies and things like Defense Collaboration Services, we’ve been able to overcome some of the challenges we wouldn’t have been able to overcome five or 10 years ago with just email. Our essential task is to keep the doors open so the tenant commands can do their essential functions to keep the Navy and military effective. We’ve been able to do so and will continue to be able to do so with these mitigation factors,” said Hedrick.



    Date Taken: 03.27.2020
    Date Posted: 03.29.2020 21:28
    Story ID: 366131
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

    Web Views: 156
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