Civil engineers at the Air Force Academy say the base is the first in the Air Force to use federal software designed to improve responses to major disasters.
Roger Smith, emergency management program manager at the base’s 10th Civil Engineer Squadron, said the program gives first responders and senior officials accurate information during any phase of an emergency response.
“We needed a tool to ensure all the players have the same information about what’s going on in a disaster to ensure we’re working together,” he said.
The use of the Air Force Disaster Response Force Common Operating Picture, or “COP,” is mandated by Air Force and Defense Department regulations. Locally, Smith said, it’s expected to increase the safety of cadets, staff and families who work or live on the base.
The program was first used at the Academy in April during an exercise to prepare first responders for the Class of 2019 graduation ceremony – the most popular annual Academy event – and again during the actual graduation ceremony, attended by nearly 30,000 people.
The COP is “cellphone friendly,” Smith said, and works “whether we’re at our desks, homes or on our cellphones, 24 hours a day-seven days a week.”
“It’s a tool we share access to with our community partners who play a vital role in helping us respond to emergencies,” he said.
The Air Force Disaster Response Force Common Operating Picture was inspired by a program developed by the Army and used primarily in the past by Marines, Smith said.
Lt. Col. Jimmy Jeoun, commander of the 10th CES, said the use of the program bodes well for the safety and security of the Academy.
“The main benefit is that is allows everyone to be on the same page – the responders, support units and personnel,” he said. “That’s what this tool gives us – one system with a lot of advanced capabilities.”
The 10th CES is part of the 10th Air Base Wing and manages the Academy’s infrastructure and environment.