Emergency Response and Security

Tools and Tech Assistance

EPA - Emergency Response Tabletop Exercise - contains tabletop exercises to help train water and wastewater utility workers in preparing and carrying-out emergency response plans. The exercises provided can help strengthen relationships between a water supplier and their emergency response team (e.g., health officials, laboratories, fire, police, emergency medical services, and local, state, and federal officials). Users can also adapt the materials for their own needs. The exercises also allow water suppliers to test their Emergency Response Plans before an actual incident occurs.

EPA - Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning for and Responding to Contamination Threats to Drinking Water Systems - The Toolbox is designed to help the water sector effectively and appropriately respond to intentional contamination threats and incidents. It was produced by EPA, building on the experience and expertise of several drinking water utilities, in particular, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Organized in modular format, the Toolbox will be of value to drinking water utilities, laboratories, emergency responders, state drinking water programs, technical assistance providers, public health and law enforcement officials.

EPA - Security Product Guide - A tool to help drinking water and wastewater utilities make informed decisions about security-related products. EPA has updated the Guide to include these new products: Wireless Data Communications, Alarms, Biometric Hand and Finger Geometry Recognition, Manhole Intrusion Sensors, Reservoir Covers, and Intrusion sensors. Based on feedback from their web site, they also revised the existing guide for Biometric Security Systems. Since EPA keeps this tool current, users should check back frequently for the latest updates. A customer feedback form is available in the left column of the Guide.

Emergency Response Planning Guide for Public Drinking Water Systems (DOH publication)

Vulnerability Self-Assessment Software Tool (VSAT)

The Vulnerability Self Assessment Software Tool (EPA website) provides a comprehensive, intuitive system for water and wastewater utilities seeking to analyze their vulnerability to both intentional threats and natural disasters. VSAT organizes data, supports vulnerability analyses, documents the analyses, and presents complex information in an easy-to-understand format for the full suite of potential utility assets including physical plant, employees, knowledge base, information technology, and customers.

The free VSAT 5.0 software provides the following benefits:

  • An intuitive process with improved navigation and enhanced work tracking features,
  • An improved analytical approach that will make consequence, vulnerability, and likelihood of occurrence assessments of threats more transparent, and
  • A natural disaster assessment process supported by historical information to enable likelihood determinations.
    AMSA has upgraded their VSAT software tool to actually generate a draft vulnerability assessment that systems can edit, polish, and submit to EPA.

Send questions or comments to the Office of Drinking Water.