Robert Buxton Appointed as New HSEM Director

A photo of HSEM Director Robert Buxton being sworn in.
New Hampshire Department of Safety Commissioner Robert L. Quinn swears in Robert M. Buxton as the new Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, Robert M. Buxton, of Bedford, was sworn in as the new Director of the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

“I am humbled by the opportunity that Governor Sununu and the members of the Executive Council have provided to me, and I am excited to take on this leadership step with HSEM,” Buxton said.

Buxton was unanimously confirmed by the New Hampshire Executive Council on Thursday, August 18, 2022.

Buxton joins state government following three decades in municipal fire service.

Since 2013, he has served as Chief of the Hudson Fire Department and as the Emergency Management Director for the Town of Hudson. Previously, he served as a lieutenant with Nashua Fire Rescue.

Buxton has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of New Hampshire, as well as a Bachelor of Science in fire science administration from Salem State College. He is also a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Maryland.

“Robert’s extensive background in public safety, emergency preparation and disaster response makes him a great fit for this role,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Robert L. Quinn. “I am confident he will be a tremendous asset to our first-class team at HSEM.”

Safety Video, Resources Shared with School Districts Across New Hampshire as Students Return to Classrooms

On Monday, August 29, 2022, the New Hampshire Department of Safety and the New Hampshire Department of Education released a Back to School Safety video to school districts throughout the state. The video urges superintendents, principals, teachers and staff members to ensure they are familiar with their school emergency operations plans. It also reminds students of the importance of listening to administrators and faculty when an emergency situation occurs.

A screen shot of a back to school safety video with a teacher and children in a library.
Teacher Kayla Laframboise-Marston speaks about preparedness during the Back to School Safety Video.

“From our historic School Safety Preparedness Task Force report to our first-of-its-kind $30+ million fund to help every school strengthen safety in their schools — ensuring kids can be safe in school has been a top priority,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “This safety video offers a critical, timely message and reminds school communities that there are many state resources available to ensure they are prepared for any emergency or threat.”

As the 2022-2023 school year gets into gear, the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) reminds residents and visitors about free resources offered by the agency.

NH School Safety Resource Center: This website divides information into nine sections, including the School Safety Preparedness Task Force, Legal Review, Legislative, Mental Health, Planning, Training & Exercises, Communication, Facilities Upgrades and Links. Resources posted to the website include free events, the Task Force report, education on bullying prevention, webinars and more. Users also can subscribe to receive updates from the website.

School Physical Security Assessments: HSEM’s School Readiness Program offers a free voluntary physical security assessment of kindergarten through grade 12 schools in New Hampshire. This program looks at the physical building and grounds and makes observations and recommendations based on three physical security capabilities: surveillance, access control, and emergency alerting. School officials can schedule an assessment by emailing schoolreadiness@dos.nh.gov.

Training and Exercises: The purpose of conducting trainings/exercises is to assess, practice, and improve in the five phases of the preparedness cycle, which include prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery from school-based incidents in a no-fault environment. The trainings and exercises should include your school’s emergency operations plan. Most commonly schools are prepared to participate in either a seminar, workshop, or tabletop exercise. Schools can request training by filling out the online application.

Ready the Prepared Puppy: Ready the Prepared Puppy teaches children kindergarten through fourth grade about knowing what to do and having what they need to stay safe. Children should be a part of the planning process because knowing what to do in an emergency will provide them with reassurance that they are being protected, even during dangerous conditions. To schedule a visit with Ready email hsempio@dos.nh.gov.

The Back to School Safety video can be viewed on YouTube at the following link: https://youtu.be/uBumxUyc1pE.

School Resource Officer Conference

The eighth annual School Resource Officer Conference, sponsored by the New Hampshire Juvenile Police Officers Association, took place at the Edward Cross Training Center in Pembroke on August 9 and 10. The annual conference brings together school resource officers and school administrators from around the state for two days of training and educational presentations regarding best practices for school safety. This year, 80 attendees explored a variety of topics, including drug trends among school-aged youth, diversion tactics, juvenile justice, the HSEM School Readiness Program, responding to school bomb threats in New Hampshire, and social media.

SAU 55 Hampstead Tabletop Exercise

On Tuesday, September 6, 2022, members of the School Readiness Program held a discussion-based tabletop exercise facilitated by School Readiness Liaison Scott Lambertson at Hampstead Middle School. Several HSEM staff along with the SAU 55 Superintendent, the Hampstead Police Department School Resource Officer, and other school staff engaged in this forum. The presented scenario involved an armed assailant and how the school’s Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) would guide their response. Progress was made to help identify strengths as well as areas for improvement for the school’s EOP. Hampstead Middle School had a physical security assessment earlier this year and scheduled the tabletop exercise with HSEM’s technical assistance to familiarize themselves with the school’s EOP without deploying actual resources like an operations-based exercise would.

To request a training or exercise at your school or district, complete an application online and a representative from the School Readiness Program will contact you.

As a reminder, NH RSA 189:64 requires that School EOPs must be submitted annually no later than October 15 to HSEM, utilizing the online portal.

To learn more about the other services offered to public and non-public K-12 schools by the School Readiness Program, visit the HSEM Resource Center.

September Is National Preparedness Month

Celebrate By Being Prepared For Emergencies

A graphic showing the four key steps to emergency preparedness: stay informed, have a plan, make a kit and get involved.

The New Hampshire Department of Safety Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management participated in National Preparedness Month during September to help increase emergency preparedness throughout the state.

This year’s national theme was “A Lasting Legacy.” In New Hampshire, content also focused on “It Can Happen Here” in regards to recent weather events that produced two tornadoes in the state so far in 2022.

“The Granite State is not immune to severe weather,” said then-acting New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Richard C. Bailey Jr. “Take time during National Preparedness Month to keep you and your family safe during a disaster.”

These core steps are key to preparedness and keeping you and your family safe: 

1. Stay informed. Sign up for NH Alerts or download the NH Alerts mobile app to receive free emergency notifications, including weather alerts from the National Weather Service. 

2. Have a family emergency plan so everyone knows where to go and what to do in an emergency. Include emergency contact information so everyone knows how and where to reconnect after an emergency occurs.

3. Make an emergency kit with supplies for your entire family, including your pets. 

4. Get involved in preparedness efforts in your community through organizations like VOAD (Voluntary Organizations in Disaster), CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams), or Neighbors Helping Neighbors. Taking a First Aid/CPR class is a great way to be more prepared for an emergency. 

For more information on what to do before, during and after a disaster, visit ReadyNH.gov. Stay informed by following New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Facebook, Twitter (@NH_HSEM) and Instagram (@NH_HSEM).

Hopkinton State Fair

A photo of Ready the Prepared Puppy greeting children at the Hopkinton Fair.
Community Outreach Specialist Brenda Larson and Ready the Prepared Puppy greet children during the 106th annual Hopkinton Fair.

 On Labor Day weekend, HSEM attended the 106th annual Hopkinton Fair.

Employees staffed a table in the Fish and Game building throughout the entirety of the event, handing out preparedness materials and educating fair attendees about knowing what to do and having what they need to stay safe in various emergency situations.

Hundreds of enthusiastic children got to spin the emergency preparedness wheel and answer questions to win a prize, meet Ready the Prepared Puppy, and learn about emergency preparedness in an engaging manner.

Meanwhile, adults were brought up to speed of the numerous ways they can prepare for the unexpected such as building an emergency kit, signing up for NH Alerts, and joining a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Attendees left the fair feeling more educated about emergency preparedness and better prepared for handling a disaster situation.

Preparedness Outreach

HSEM Donates Backpacks For Children

A photo of HSEM staff members and backpacks that were donated to charity.

Members of HSEM donated 70 backpacks to the New Hampshire Department of Education’s seventh annual Summer Backpack Drive and Concord Collections Coalition’s Back To School event to benefit New Hampshire children in need for the upcoming school year.


A photo of WebEOC training in the State Emergency Operations Center.
In-person training for WebEOC is periodically offered at the State Emergency Operations Center in the Incident Planning and Operations Center in Concord.

HSEM maintains a crisis-disaster management system, WebEOC, to manage large- and small-scale events, disasters and support, or increase public safety information sharing — providing real-time situational awareness. 

One of the primary objectives is to provide incident commanders, community leaders and command level personnel a common operating picture of public safety operations, sensitive information and infrastructure problems, and/or disruptions upon which to make informed, effective decisions in response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

WebEOC is also used as a gateway to share information between the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) and federal, state, local public safety entities, and critical infrastructure partners.

To learn more about WebEOC and sign-up for an account and training, visit the HSEM Resource Center.

Stratham Tabletop Exercise

A photo of HSEM Exercise and Training Office Steven Cooper facilitating a tabletop exercise in Stratham as School Readiness Liaison Kevin Partington and Training and Exercise Supervisor Deb Yeager look on.
HSEM Exercise and Training Office Steven Cooper facilitates a tabletop exercise in Stratham as School Readiness Liaison Kevin Partington and Training and Exercise Supervisor Deb Yeager look on.

On Tuesday, September 13, 2022, members of HSEM along about 30 members of leadership from several communities in Rockingham County participated in a tabletop exercise in Stratham.

Exercise and Training Officer Steven Cooper facilitated the tabletop exercise. The scenario involved a bank robbery and a car crash with the suspects fleeing.

The tabletop exercise served as a precursor to a full-scale exercise that will be held in Stratham on Thursday, October 27.

Granite United Way Day of Caring

HSEM staff members joined hundreds of volunteers for Granite United Way’s regional Day of Caring events across New Hampshire in September. Members of the Community Outreach Office joined a team at the New Hampshire Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen to weed and spruce up the site ahead of their 25th anniversary celebration in September.  Members of the Community Liaisons and Radiological Preparedness Section worked on straightening up the trailhead and landscape at the Bear-Paw Regional Greenways site in Nottingham. Staff member Emily Fernald cleaned animal facilities and repaired fencing at the NHSPCA in Stratham.

Houses of Worship Webinar

A screenshot of a presentation given by HSEM's Preparedness and Response Section Chief Bob Christensen.
Bob Christensen presents during the Building Partnerships that Promote Safety and Security for Place of Worship and Community Spaces webinar.

On September 20, 2022, HSEM’s Preparedness and Response Section Chief Bob Christensen spoke during a webinar hosted by the DHS Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency. In support of National Preparedness Month and Protecting Places of Worship National Week of Action, the topic of the webinar centered on the development of partnership models that promote safety and security in community spaces and places of worship. With other local, state and territorial partners in attendance, Christensen shared details of what New Hampshire has achieved over the years in supporting and protecting faith communities. Challenges were discussed, success stories were analyzed and collective takeaways helped lay the groundwork to further strengthen the safety and security measures in houses of worship across the country.

Training & Exercise Resources

L-0105 Public Information Basics
Peterborough, NH                                                                                                                             October 4-6, 2022


This three day class will equip the participants with the skills needed to be full or part-time PIOs, including oral and written communications; understanding and working with the media; and basic tools and techniques to perform effectively as a PIO, both in the proactive/ advocacy times and crisis/ emergency response. This is the replacement for the old G290 and G291. PREREQUISITES: IS-29 Public Information Officer Awareness.

Surface Transportation Emergency Preparedness and Security – Senior Officials
Nashua Fire Lake St Station                                                                                                              October 13, 2022


Participants shall hold elected or executive official level positions in public or private agencies or organizations that would have involvement in emergency preparedness. The STEPS-SR course offers an executive level introduction to the roles and responsibilities of preparedness, prevention, and response to emergencies involving surface transportation freight and passenger systems. This course will provide a clear overview of freight and passenger system threats facing jurisdictions/organizations of public and private officials and the organizational structure that must be implemented according to the NRF in an incident. There will be special emphasis on National Special Security Events (NSSE’s). Executives will learn to identify threats and vulnerabilities of freight (including flammable/combustible liquid transportation) and passenger system operations within their jurisdictions/organizations, learn to recognize and prioritize the importance of facility and conveyance hardening, receive familiarization with the NIMS/NRF to prioritize organizational immediate actions and response operations, and learn how to develop and apply management/planning tools for flammable/combustible liquids incidents and counter Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) operations and evacuations.

AWR-136 Essential of Community Cyber Security/MGT-384 Community Cyber Security Cyber Incidents
Concord, NH                                                                                                                                   Nov 30- Dec 1 2022, 0800-1700

https://prd.blogs.nh.gov/dos/hsem/?page_id=1055 If you want both classes you must register for both.

These trainings are being combined into a comprehensive two day course The Essentials of Community Cybersecurity (ECCS) course provides individuals, community leaders, and first responders with information on how cyber-attacks can impact, prevent, and/or stop operations and emergency responses in a community. The course also provides a cursory introduction to cybersecurity vulnerabilities, risks, threats, and countermeasures. It explains vulnerabilities of computer systems and networks and how these vulnerabilities can affect communities, organizations, and daily workplace operations. The course introduces actions communities can take in establishing a cybersecurity program. Community Preparedness for Cyber Incidents, is designed to provide organizations and communities with strategies and processes to increase cyber resilience. During this course, participants will analyze cyber threats and initial and cascading impacts of cyber incidents, evaluate the process for developing a cyber-preparedness program, examine the importance and challenges of cyber related information sharing and discover low to no-cost resources to help build cyber resilience.

L-0146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Concord NH                                       December 7-8, 2022


Prerequisite: IS-120 must be completed prior to registration. The Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) is a two day course that provides a set of fundamental principles for exercise programs, as well as a common approach to program management, design and development, conduct, evaluation, and improvement planning. Exercises are an important component of preparedness, by providing the whole community with the opportunity to shape planning, assess and validate capabilities, and address areas for improvement.