As the Emergency Services Sector continues its structural and organizational formation, there are definite plans to acquire more personnel to provide a 24x7 EMR-ISAC. Until then, three USFA personnel (within 20 minutes driving time) are always "on-call" with DHS to bring one individual into the EMR-ISAC regardless of the time of day or night in order to disseminate time-essential information. This has been successfully tested with the DHS Emergency Notification Service (ENS) dedicated to the expeditious movement of emergent CIP information.
How can fire service or other official public safety officials be included in this database?
To acquire CIP information, the Chief and Deputy Chiefs must complete a brief application at https://disasterhelp.gov/usfacip.html in order to validate and complete the registration process. A 24x7 toll-free number (800-451-2647) can be used by those desiring technical assistance with the process.
Who is eligible to register for this notification program?
All Emergency Service Sector personnel are eligible for receipt of non-sensitive CIP INFOGRAMs (containing four very short articles about the protection of the critical infrastructures of communities and their emergency responders issued at the end of each week) and CIP Bulletins (containing timely, consequential homeland security information affecting the CIP of emergency management and response agencies published periodically as needed).
However, only the Department Chief and Deputy Chiefs (second-in-command) are authorized receipt of the Sensitive CIP Notices (Contain emergent, actionable information For Official Use Only regarding threats to and vulnerabilities of the Emergency Services Sector critical infrastructures. These Notices are published only as needed.)
There have been concerns raised about the availability of law enforcement sensitive information, how is that being addressed?
Law enforcement sensitive information is shared with the EMR-ISAC as well as other ISACs when the FBI and DHS agree that a joint sensitive message must be published by DHS and forwarded to the individual sectors. The EMR-ISAC disseminates all law enforcement sensitive information as For Official Use Only documents only to registered Department Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs.
Is there any cost associated with this notification service?
All EMR-ISAC services, including notifications, are provided at no cost.
I have read that the other ISACs require fees to cover costs, is that true?
Yes, other ISACs require either small or large annual membership fees.
The answers to my questions demonstrate a high level of commitment on the part of the United States Fire Administration and its EMR-ISAC. Much has been accomplished over the last two years and more is planned.
If you are a public safety professional, make sure that you have followed the instructions on how to receive Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) INFOGRAMs mentioned earlier in this article. Fire Chiefs and Deputy Fire Chiefs should also follow the instructions in order to ensure they are receiving Sensitive CIP Notices.