What is ReadyTracker? | Who is ReadyTracker.com?
History | Status | Vision
Acquiring | Caveats | Kudos | Contact

What is ReadyTracker?

ReadyTracker originated in a compilation of published standards found to be applicable to the practice of emergency management in the higher education domain, which were harmonized into a single cohesive and logical structure. The ten categories we now call the Ten Steps to Ready© encompass every aspect of emergency management practice, exploded into 35 key Topics.

The “Inclusive Plan” was built upon the framework depicted in the UCC Crosswalk, developed under the auspices of the Standards Workgroup of the University & College Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM-UCC). Committee members involved in the standards review include:

  • Troy Harris, Chair, Westmont College, Santa Barbara CA
  • Andre LeDuc, University of Oregon, Eugene OR
  • Jeffrey Hescock, University of Massachusetts, Boston MA
  • Frank Bertone, College of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas NV
  • Trish McIntosh, College of the Mainland, Houston TX
  • Shelbey Hollingsworth, [formerly at] University of Tennessee, Chattanooga TN

Each institution choosing the Inclusive Plan will weave into their Overview the unique content applicable to their institution. The Plan Standards containing the full text of the independent industry standards are linked within the system, with each standards element cross-referenced to the institution’s content pertaining to that element..

The framework is scalable from the most basic condition—simple declarative statements for each of the 35 Topics—to the nth-degree of complexity. Thus it is suitable for use by institutions of all sizes and sophistication.

Some of the Topics can be fully addressed in a paragraph. Others can link to separate stand-alone automated tools. For instance, Business Continuity Planning is a discipline unto itself, yet it occupies a single Topic in the Framework. The point, though, is that the need for continuity planning will not be overlooked by anyone using the ReadyTracker Inclusive Plan, and the system can serve, without conflict or duplication, as a portal for those who may already have fully-developed, complex and voluminous continuity plans.

Who is ReadyTracker.com?

The ReadyTracker.com website and toolset are operated, sold and supported as a not-for-profit instipreneurship venture by the Office of Risk Management at Westmont College* (Troy Harris, Director).

Westmont is a small liberal arts college (1,350 students) that recognized the need to respond well whenever any major disruption arose. As Westmont began pulling together the building blocks of their plan, it became clear that they should be organized in some sensible way. And the fear persisted: are we missing something important?

How did it come to be?

When we discovered the NFPA 1600, we were initially both delighted and discouraged. Delighted because here was a checklist for [seemingly] everything a good emergency plan should contain. Discouraged, though, because the sheer number of elements seemed daunting, and thus beyond the reach of a small school with a one-man risk management shop.

And then we began to encounter other standards: FEMA’s CPG101; the IACLEA Blueprint; and yet more! Each of them had good stuff. None of them had everything. Which one should we pick?

The catalytic moment came when we stumbled upon the Sloan Foundation Crosswalk, which depicted a pathway toward the vision that was coalescing in our minds. Here was a way to have it all: to ensure that all of the numerous standards could be harmonized, and that the key aspects could be synthesized into a manageable 35 main points.

As we were constructing our own website inspired by the Sloan Crosswalk, we realized others might also be yearning for a cohesive way to approach their emergency planning, so we aligned with the University & College Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM-UCC), in order to collaborate and contribute with other specialists. (The UCC’s Standard’s Workgroup has now adopted the Crosswalk website as the “UCC Crosswalk of Institutional Resilience Standards“.)

Finally, it dawned on us that the work we’d done on our own plan and website could have hands-on value for other schools, and that by setting up a licensing arrangement we could continuously enhance the tool and maintain currency with the standards as they continue to evolve—for ourselves and as many schools as would like to have that done for them. We initially did so on the WordPress platform under the name FrameworkEd. In 2014 we converted to the Smartsheet and renamed the product íntegReady. And in 2016 we realized people could use the product in pieces without having to invest in the whole system, and thus was born ReadyTracker.

What is the present status?

As of fall 2016, over 20 schools are licensed to use ReadyTracker and its tools. These schools have a complete instance of the site decked out in their own colors and logo, and are able with the tool to inform, enhance and calibrate their planning progress. Based upon user feedback we continue to further enhance the tool’s capacity to serve the higher education emergency management community, and look forward to having other schools join the user community.

The licensed version includes a host of features not visible in the free Crosswalk site, such as responder tracking, exercise planning, task planning and other helpful tools.

What is the vision for the project?

The toolset is built upon Smartsheet, which sometimes referred to as a “spreadsheet on steroids.”

We aim to continue integrating new and updated standards as the discipline evolves. For example, the NFPA 1600 (2016) was released in March and has been integrated centrally and is being rippled out to the entire user community, already fully cross-referenced. We likewise replaced the DOE Action Guide (2009) when FEMA supplanted it wit the High Quality Emergency Operations Plan (HQ-EOP:2013), and replaced the Target Capabilities List (TCL-2007) with the National Preparedness Goal (NPG:2012), which incorporates the Common Capabilities List that superseded the TCL. In 2013 we further enhanced the product by incorporating the Resilient Organizations Indicators document (RO:2012), which offers a highly strategic perspective to the planning effort.

Another aspect of the project vision is that the ReadyTracker tools will be accessible to all schools regardless of their size and plan-readiness. And so the pricing will be in reach for small schools and sensible for large schools.

Acquiring and Implementing ReadyTracker

Contact Troy Harris if you’d like to learn more about the prospect of using any or all of the ReadyTracker toolset at your institution.

Caveats

There’s always room for improvement. For instance, intelligent and experienced people may differ as to whether a cross-reference belongs to this or that anchor point. All observations, suggestions and critique are welcomed, will be taken into consideration, and where deemed appropriate will be implemented. A Site Comments page (at the Crosswalk site) and a Support Ticket tool (for ReadyTracker licensed users) are available for providing such feedback.

We have applied for patent protection for unique aspects we bring to the process and presentation in the web format. The materials original to the site are copyrighted by Westmont College; content incorporated from others is copyrighted by those entities. The UCC Crosswalk free version is provided courtesy of Westmont College. The UCC Standards Workgroup’s role was to review and adopt the allocation of standards elements into the Categories, and then the further allocations were made by Westmont College and ReadyTracker to distribute all 600+ elements across the 35 Topics.

Praise Where Due

ReadyTracker is the brainchild of Troy Harris, but he did not work alone. Worthy of special mention are Sam Humphreys, who built all the links in the 0.1 Alpha site using Adobe Contribute, and Leah Heher, who transformed all of Sam’s work onto the 0.5 WordPress platform and has done extensive further work behind the scenes. Both of them applied highly intelligent comprehension to an often tedious task, displaying a capacity for big-picture perspective with yet a remarkably sharp focus on the tiniest of details. Rachel Moore, Sean DeForest, Mariah Velásquez, Kylie Larson, Sarah Gowing and a number of student and summer workers (notably Emily Hauck), have contributed meaningfully along the way.

Andre Leduc (U of Oregon) and Jeff Hescock (U of Massachusetts) provided encouragement about springboarding from the Sloan Crosswalk, and aligning the UCC Crosswalk conceptually with the planning standards work of the University & College Caucus of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM-UCC).

Westmont’s Situation Readiness & Response Team (SRT) was a constant shaping and affirming influence since its charter in 2001, and particularly following the 2003 commencement of our wildfire shelter planning (real-life tested in the Tea Fire of 2008 which destroyed eight buildings and a million square feet of landscape—but resulted in no human casualties as 800 people sheltered in our gym), plus subsequent emergency management enhancements: Tom Bauer, Thomas Beveridge, Stu Cleek, Jena Harris, Kevin Hess, Nancy Phinney, and especially vice president Christopher Call. And Dr Gayle Beebe, president since 2007, has modeled the ideal engagement of the top echelon in supporting cultivation of a readiness culture at Westmont.

In 2008, United Educators insurance company “sponsored” our development of what was then called a Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP) by offering premium incentives in return for satisfactory progress on a robust set of milestones toward completion of the CIMP. Eric Seaborg and Bob Baird monitored our progress and asked probing questions to help keep us on track and on time. ReadyTracker was boosted along as a result of that program.

Contact Info

Project Manager: Troy Harris, AboutInquiry@ReadyTracker.com – 805-751-6211

 

* – Westmont College is a 501c3 private non-profit institution.