Notes from the desk of the Sponsoring
behalf of the Mayor and City Council, it is my pleasure to
welcome you to the City of Philadelphia.
citizens of Philadelphia have a great deal of pride in their
city and we welcome Pennsylvania Task Force One with the
same pride for your mission. We are certainly glad to have
you here in the city of Philadelphia and we plan to make
this a proud home for you.
very pleased at the work that the entire Task Force did to
ensure a smooth transfer of assets, talent and operations
Harrisburg to Philadelphia. There is an absolute transfer of
the pride and hard
work that the City of Harrisburg invested in building our
team to what it is today. Also, without the help of the
former Sponsoring Agency Chief Konkle and the support of
Chief Talloni currently, I would have had a much more
difficult time during this all-important but stressful
period for the Task Force.
are really buzzing at 6601 New State Rd. As we would
imagine, the building out of our new space, the negotiations
with so many vendors, the monitoring of the budget and
spending, the information technology build-out, the careful
acceptance, transport and maintenance of the cache, and all
of this accomplished with minimal affect on our readiness
capability. I’d like to send out a special thank you to the
key administrative staff members who worked diligently and
supported all efforts to ensure that continued readiness.
veterans of the Task Force I say thank you for your service
and continued professionalism as we move forward. To our new
additions to the Task Force, I say welcome aboard and thank
you for becoming a part of one of America’s key resources
when it comes to technical rescue during hard and
is to continue to support Pennsylvania Task Force One and
all of its goals and initiatives to become the best that
they can possibly be.
best and welcome Home!
from the Program Manager:
by itself is very powerful; it invokes a myriad of emotions
and effects each of us differently. The only common
denominator each of us has when it comes to change is that
we have the ability to decide on how we are going to face
it. We can choose to avoid it or embrace it; we can be a
part of it or distance ourselves from it. In any event the
decision is indeed each of ours to make. The reason I have
chosen to write about change is that we as a collective
group (PA-TF1) have experienced a considerable amount of it
over the past twelve months.
Transitioning sponsoring agencies from Harrisburg to
Philadelphia has not only been a monumental change, it has
also been a change that required a true commitment, hard
decisions, lots of work and sweat equity from the entire
team. As is the case in most changes there have been
rumors, this is in part due to less then desirable avenues
of communication, it is a top priority of the Administrative
Representative (TFR) and Sponsoring Agency Chief (SAC) to
improve in this area and design more effective channels of
communication. The biggest rumor thus far has been the
availability of the task force. I can attest that PA-TF1
has not been out of service a single day during the entire
transition. We remain today a dependable and deployable
Federal Asset. A request was made by the SAC to FEMA
Headquarters to move PA-TF1 from Fully Deployable Status to
Conditionally Available Status after physical relocation of
the cache and offices began.
available during the move took many hours of planning and
placed a heavy burden on the Logistics component. As always,
they stepped up and completed their assignment ahead of
schedule, in a safe and efficient manner. Each member of
PA-TF1 can take pride in knowing that we, as a team have
accomplished a feat that had never been done before in the
Federal US&R system.
in and of itself
be attributed to the commitment, forethought, hard work and
vision of everyone who has helped make PA-TF1 the sound and
resilient organization we are recognized as today. While
there is still much work to be done, the vast majority of
the transition is behind us and we are returning to normal
In closing, I believe PA-TF1 will emerge a stronger and more
efficient Federal resource ready to respond, with improved
processes and procedures.
The Administrative staff would like to say THANK YOU to all
of the members of PA-TF1 for your patience, commitment and
forward to working with everyone as we move further along
Grants Corner - Travel Policy Highlights
transition of Sponsoring Agencies, many changes have
occurred administratively within PA-TF1. These changes
are necessary in order to conform with the Sponsoring
Agency’s Policies and Procedures. Travel & travel
reimbursement policy and associated forms are new to many of
our members. The previous PA-TF1 reimbursement form is
not accepted by the City of Philadelphia as adequate
documentation of expenses.
The new forms and instructions will be posted at
members.patf1.org. The current mileage rate is
mile, in accordance with city policy. The city has adopted
the Federal Government Maximum Per Diem Rate for
reimbursement. Rates in excess of the maximum published
rate for that location are not reimbursable unless it is
associated with attendance at a scheduled professional
function, trade association, or educational meeting.
Members are responsible to hold and pay for lodging.
Overnight lodging in areas less than 50 miles from a
residence will NOT be allowed. Certain exceptions to this
rule apply, Always call the Task Force
booking rooms. The Task Force will book all airfare, rail,
or bus transportation via the city contracted travel
agency. If car rental is required, the city requires
authorization and justification demonstrating that rental is
more economical than taxi fares. Reimbursable costs for car
rental include: applicable taxes, and collision damage or
loss damage waiver. Liability insurance, personal effects
insurance, etc., are not reimbursable. Please call Brian
Booth, the Program Grants Manager, at (215) 683-9245 for
clarification; or if you have any questions regarding travel
Please join the Task Force Operations Group
and Leadership in welcoming
Mike Whalen and Marty Nevil as new Task Force
Leaders with PA Task Force One!
Lieutenant Mike Whalen is a 27 year
veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department, serving the
first 10 yrs in various engine and ladder companies. In 1991
he was assigned to Rescue 1; at that time, the Philadelphia
Fire Department's only Special Operations Company. In 1996
Mike was promoted to Lieutenant. In 2006 he returned to
Rescue 1 assigned to the "D" platoon. Mike is currently
assigned to Ladder 13, in Southwest Philadelphia on the A
Within PA-TF1, Mike has served in the positions of Rescue
Specialist (RS), Rescue Squad Officer (RSO), Rescue Team
Manager (RTM) and Alternate Task Force Leader. Mike
has served at the national level on the White Incident
Support Team as a US&R Specialist and currently as the
Deputy Operations Section Chief. He has deployed as a
member of PA –TF1 on multiple deployments since 1999.
is a life long resident of the City of Philadelphia has two
Marty Nevil served as the PA
–TF1 Program Manager from 2006 – 2011 and has been
supporting the Task Force transition to Philadelphia. Marty
recently retired as the Manager of Urban Search & Rescue &
WMD with the Dauphin County Emergency Management Agency and
is employed by Harrisburg Area Community College as an
adjunct instructor, and PA TF-1 Task Force Leader.
Marty’s background includes
experience in the Emergency Medical and Fire Service over
the past 30 years, serving in all ranks through Assistant
Chief. In addition Mr. Nevil has employment experience in
the Nuclear Power Industry, Radiation-Waste Management
Program and Municipal Code Enforcement. Marty serves as an
adjunct instructor with several local, state and federal
training institutions and as an Adjunct Instructor at the
National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg Maryland.
In the US&R Program Marty has
served as a Haz-Mat Specialist, (HMS) Technical Team
Manager, (TTM) as well as a Plans Team Manager (PTM) and
Alternate Task Force Leader. He has served on the WMD Work
Group and has recently Co Chaired the Technology Ad HOC Work
Group of the National US&R System. He is the current Plans
Section Chief, on the Blue National US&R Incident Support
Team. He has deployed as a Member of PA –TF1 on multiple
deployments since 1999.
Marty lives in Central
Pennsylvania and is the father of two children.
Everbridge Notification System
The Task Force now uses the
Everbridge Notification System for all availability checks.
Everbridge makes it easier for each member to reply with
their availability status. It allows you, as the member, to
now receive notifications via SMS text messaging and up to
two different e-mail addresses; as well as a recorded
message to your cell phone.
Everbridge will display as telephone number
717-999-1111 on your caller ID
screen. Do not block or ignore any calls coming from that
number. It may be a good
idea to save this phone
number in the contacts of your cell phone as “PA-TF1
Notification System” if you have not done so already.
When answering the
phone, use a 3-5 second greeting; for example, your name and
Pennsylvania Task Force One. In the beginning of the
notification Everbridge references the South Central Task
Force, and then goes on to reference Pennsylvania Task Force
One. Please continue to listen to the entire message and
sure to acknowledge the notification at the end.
the Everbridge System will require your Employee ID Number.
Your Employee ID or PIN Number is the same as it has always
been. It is the first letter of your last name and the last
four digits of your Social Security Number. For Example,
John Smith with a Social Security Number of 123-45-6789
would have a PIN Number/Employee ID of S6789.
If the Everbridge System has
notified you via the incorrect phone number, please notify
Administrative Assistant Lexi Passaro.
Annual Medical Evaluations on the Horizon
The Administrative Staff of
the Task Force in coordination with the Sponsoring Agency,
is finalizing the contract for Medical Evaluations for
members of PA-TF1. As we prepare to roll out our new
agreement with Concentra, it is imperative that members know
their roles and responsibilities as we move forward.
The US&R Program Office Staff
in Washington, DC conducted an Operational Technical
Assistance Visit (OTAV) the first week of September. With
the pending contract nearing resolution, the OTAV Team was
told that all PA-TF1 members who are now out of currency
with the medical examination requirement will be back in
compliance and listed as Deployable by November 15, 2012.
In order to accomplish this goal,we
need you, the members,
to not delay in setting up and completing required
Administrative Staff will identify members in critical
positions (those position / personnel needed to get PA-TF1
to 140 fully deployable personnel) who will be immediately
tasked with completing their physicals. Once these members
are medically cleared, PA-TF1 can return to fully deployable
status. We will then begin to cycle remaining members
through the process, until all personnel have completed
Your timeliness and cooperation in completing
this objective is critical to the operation and
deploy-ability of the Task Force.
TASK FORCE TRAINING UPDATES
A lot of movement has been
occurring in the Task Force related to training and training
needs. Both short and long term Strategic Training Plan
development has been undertaken.
Lt. Ivan Lopez was appointed
as the Task Force Training Manager in early September. He
has hit the ground running, coordinating several Task Force
Members FEMA required program attendance. At the request of
the Task Force Operations Group, the Sponsoring Agency Chief
stood up the Strategic Training Plan Ad Hoc Work Group. they
have been charged with solidifying a training and exercise
calendar for the remainder of the FEMA FY 2011 Cooperative
Agreement (current date to March 31, 2013). The Ad Hoc
Work Group has started the process of
developing a comprehensive Strategic Training Plan for the
years 2013-2018 as well. This plan will encompass all
aspects of Task Force operations with the stated mission and
purpose of “Improving the Task Force workforce performance,
enabling PA Task Force One to achieve excellence in all
aspects of mission execution.” As we move forward with
updates to the Task Force Training Program, you can expect
to see updates in this news letter from the Training