Q3-2023 Newsletter

Kelly Brudniak Named Deputy Director

Kelly Brudniak accepted the position of Deputy Director for the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management effective July 28, 2023. 

Kelly has worked for the State of New Hampshire for more than 20 years, most recently as an administrator overseeing the largest bureau within the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) supervising over 100 positions.  

Kelly is bringing her years of leadership experience as well as her love for helping others into this new role with HSEM.

After almost 25 years of working for the DMV, Kelly says she is looking forward to this next step in her career. 

2023 Summer Interns

With several weather-related emergency events, training sessions, EOC operations, community outreach events, and many other activities throughout the Division’s various offices during the summer months, this highly-talented group of interns contributed their commitment to the mission of this agency. They participated in many opportunities, including school readiness activities, community events, Seabrook Station drills, and local full-scale exercises that allowed them expand their understanding of the importance of our work in the career field of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The interns included:

  • Nathan (Nate) Lemire, attending Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Angelica (Angie) Perez, attending Pennsylvania State University
  • Sam Zarakovich, attending the University of New Hampshire/Durham
  • Katherine (Katie) Reid, attending Georgetown University, WDC
  • Aicha Hamcha, attending the University of New Hampshire/Durham
  • James Hobson, attending the University of New Hampshire/Durham

Anyone interested in pursuing internship opportunities with HSEM is urged to visit the Division’s resource center to fill out an application.

Suncook Valley Balloon Rally 8/25/2023

July 2023 Floods

The National Weather Service reported that 38 flash flood warnings were issued in New Hampshire for the month of July 2023, not only the highest monthly total ever recorded, but higher than any previous annual total as well. Another record broken was at the summit of Mount Washington. Nearly 17” of rain fell during the month of July, breaking the previous record set in July 1996. Below are photos of flood damages that eventually led to Governor Chris Sununu requesting a major disaster declaration for the State of New Hampshire for the period from July 9-17 for damages reported via Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs) in Belknap, Carroll, Cheshire, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack, Rockingham, and Sullivan counties. Governor Sununu requested a full Public Assistance Program for these counties and a designation statewide for support from the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Below are photos from the damaged areas.

Unity/Croydon roadway washouts and culvert flooding damage.

Senator Shaheen meets with HSEM Director Buxton and tours flood-damaged areas in and near Alton.

Alstead/Stoddard washouts from extreme flooding.

Hurricane Lee State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) Activation

As Hurricane Lee approached New England, HSEM decided to lean forward and activate the SEOC on September 15 to be sure the State had all-hands on deck in the event this major hurricane-turned-post-tropical storm lingered and created additional flooding damage and power outages.

SEOC Activation Hurricane Lee on September 15 and 16.

School Readiness Program

School Resource Officer Conference

School Resource Officer (SRO) Conference on August 8.

School Resource Officers, working with administrators, teachers, and parents, help keep students safe in their schools. HSEM staff, along with Director Robert Buxton, Governor Sununu, and former NH Supreme Court Chief Justice John Broderick joined this year’s annual SRO conference to provide updated information relative to resources and response tools available to them to address the situations that they could potentially encounter in their schools.

School Nurses Conference

School Nurses Conference on August 18.

Intern Aicha assisted HSEM staff in providing information and other readiness tools for the annual NH School Nurses’ Conference. As awareness increases of the mental health issues contributing to the potential risks at New Hampshire schools, it is important that nurses have the tools to recognize signs and respond appropriately in partnership with their school resource officers, administrators, teachers, and parents.

Plymouth Schools Tabletop Exercise

Plymouth Schools tabletop exercise on August 22.

On August 22, the School Readiness Program held a tabletop exercise at Plymouth High School. Participants included school district teachers, staff, and administrators, as well as first responders. School Readiness Training and Exercise Coordinator Ernest Petrin led a group discussion based on a hypothetical active shooter situation. Participants were able to discuss and review the current plans in place in the event of an active threat . The exercise helped all participating parties to engage in better communication and identify areas of improvement for the emergency operations plan.

To request a training or exercise at your school or district, complete an online application 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.

Community Outreach Activities

When it wasn’t raining, beautiful summer weather welcomed the many residents and visitors enjoying community events throughout New Hampshire. Ready the Prepared Puppy made many new friends while our summer interns assisted our Community Outreach Office and other HSEM staff in providing information on how to be prepared for emergency events in their hometowns. If you would like Ready the Prepared Puppy to visit your event, please visit the information provided at our website.

National Night-Out, Thornton, NH, on August 1.

Greenville Old Home Days on August 26.

Concord Multicultural Festival on September 24.

Meredith Full-Scale Exercise

On Thursday, September 14, a full-scale exercise was conducted in Meredith in conjunction with New Hampshire Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Meredith police and fire as well as other surrounding towns’ fire and Emergency Management Services (EMS) teams. This exercise was conducted at the Golden View Health Care Center where the target of the exercise was to ensure the facility had the proper procedures in place to make sure they were able to respond to a threat to their patients as well as to evaluate response time and capabilities of local and supporting agencies to contain the threat. With many working parts, this helps ensure continuity and understanding of an emergency to help prepare the facility for actual situations that may occur in the future.

The scenario was based on a possible chemical threat. An individual became upset with the facility and the care it was giving and created a chemical threat within the facility. Police from Meredith detained the suspect and local fire and Emergency Management Services on the scene began evacuating the building. After that, the state’s Radiological team was called in to dispose of the threat and contain the area. The exercise was evaluated and the facility as well as first responders got adequate training as well as knowledge as to what went well and where improvements could be implemented. Supporting partners for the event were The New Hampshire Veterans Home, Taylor Community, Laconia Center-Genesis, St. Francis Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Belknap County Nursing Home, Granite VA, and Concord Hospital-Laconia. These supporters of the exercise provided actors for the scenario as well as an area to bring actors for medical emergencies.

Charlestown-Whelen Tabletop Exercise

On September 1, the manufacturing company Whelen held an active shooter response tabletop exercise in conjunction with the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. This exercise was designed to help the company and public safety officials work together to mitigate an active threat as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition to officials from Charlestown police and fire departments, representatives from the New Hampshire State Police, Walpole Police, New Hampshire 911, and Springfield Vermont police and fire departments attended. The scenario was a disgruntled employee that made some vague threats on social media. Not too long after, this hypothetical individual entered one of the manufacturing buildings and began shooting.

The group was split between public safety officials and Whelen employees during the initial phases of the response. The facility is a large manufacturing campus consisting of multiple interconnecting buildings with hundreds of employees. The manufacturing areas are wide open with few rooms making response difficult.

When the Whelen employees initiated the emergency call, they dialed extension 3-911 which rang to an internal phone that they set up in the town’s dispatch center. However, this created a lot of stress and confusion for the Charlestown dispatcher and flooded the phone lines. This was originally set up to avoid issues connecting to NH 911 on cellular phones. The company believed this method would be quicker to get in touch with local public safety but that was not the case in this instance. According to the dispatcher, this internal phone can only handle one call at a time and there is only one dispatcher on duty at a time in Charlestown, which delays getting mutual aid started. The local police department has only two officers and one dispatcher on duty at a time and the fire department is all volunteer, so mutual aid from multiple agencies is essential and regular 911 dispatchers are able to start mutual aid while the initial call is being made.

Officers and fire/EMS personnel then assigned mutual aid to different tasks. The Charlestown police chief assembled a small containment team to enter and attempt to neutralize the threat. The law enforcement and fire/EMS staging areas were established and state police assumed law enforcement incident command while the Charlestown fire chief handled the EMS staging/triage area along with Golden Cross Ambulance. After initial confusion on where to set up staging areas, all agencies began to come together to formulate a better plan.

Prior to the exercise, Whelen did not have much of an active shooter response plan in place for their facility. After reconvening at the end of the exercise, Whelen and their public safety partners have a better understanding of how to effectively respond to an active threat.

Seabrook Station Exercise Cycle

On July 26, HSEM staff members along with representatives from other states, FEMA and two nuclear power plants attended a Radiological Emergency Preparedness (REP) Summit Workshop.

The incremental process leading to a Seabrook Nuclear Power Station graded exercise in 2024 has begun.

The summit planning workshop was held on July 26th, followed by an all-partners’ table-top exercise in Hampton on September 20. Next on the schedule will be Controller Training on October 3 and 4, followed by Combined Functional Exercises (CFE1) on October 18 and (CFE2) on February 7, 2024. The full Graded Exercise is scheduled for April 3, 2024.

HSEM staff members along with local, state and federal partners as well as staff members from Seabrook Station participate in a tabletop exercise on September 20.

Littleton Regional Hospital Full-Scale Exercise

The HSEM Training, Exercise and Development Section held a full-scale exercise at Littleton Regional Healthcare on September 28. Participants included Littleton area first responders, police and fire departments, hospital security and administration staff, along with several HSEM team members lead by Greg Gabrielli. A few volunteers were recruited to play victims and had moulage applied for authentic looking casualties.

There were two scenarios played out at the hospital in a suite of offices that were unoccupied. The first scenario required law enforcement to breach a door to gain access where an active shooter incident was happening. The shooter was neutralized then law enforcement conducted an officer down drill using Tactical Emergency Casualty Care, and warm zone operations with fire/EMS. The second scenario included an officer being shot, the bad actor taking hostages,fire/EMS attending to bystander injuries, and hostage negations. Meanwhile hospital administration staff stood up their emergency operations center on site to make necessary decisions while communicating with staff, patients, public and media requests. Hot washes were conducted immediately after each scenario.

HSEM staff evaluated the exercise and will conduct an after-action report allowing the various groups opportunities to make necessary adjustments for the future. Lessons learned from practicing these real-life events are invaluable. The Training, Exercise and Development Section can assist communities in the design, documentation, and facilitation of an exercise, as well as provide logistics, personnel, resource support, and grant funding. Communities can get more information by emailing exercisetraining@dos.nh.gov.

Upcoming Trainings

G0402: National Incident Management System Overview for Senior Officials 

Newbury NH  

October 25, 2023, 1700-2100


The purpose of this course is to familiarize Senior Officials (executives, elected and appointed officials, city/county managers, agency administrators, etc.) with their role in supporting incident management within the National Incident Management System (NIMS).

MGT-403: Underserved Populations Preparedness Planning for Rural Responders and Volunteers

Concord NH                                                                                           

November 2, 2023, 0800 -1700                                                                                                                     


Prerequisite: IS100c, IS, 200c, IS-700 b, IS-368, and IS-242.

This eight-hour planning and management-level course will assist in preparing communities to meet the assistance and safety needs of older adults, and people with access and functional needs during a crisis event in rural communities using an approach with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Whole Community initiative. Due to the expected diverse student population, general information regarding crisis planning and response (incident command system (ICS), National Incident Management System (NIMS), etc.) will be discussed, flowing into a narrower discussion regarding the needs and care issues of older adults. Included in the discussion are short- and long-term care, pet care, medication, and the need for durable medical equipment and healthcare. The issue of individuals from assisted-living and nursing homes will be emphasized in lessons learned from various disasters.

MGT-312: Senior Officials Workshop for All Hazards Preparedness

Concord NH

November 8, 2023, 0800-1430                                                                                                                      


This 6-hour workshop is for local jurisdiction elected and appointed senior officials. Its purpose is to provide a forum to discuss strategic and executive-level issues related to disaster preparedness, share proven strategies, and best practices, and enhance coordination among officials responsible for emergency response to a disaster. Participants receive an Executive Handbook outlining the emergency management framework (protection, preparedness, response, and recovery phases), as well as other key senior level issues and discussions topics.

MGT-347 Incident Command System (ICS) Forms Review, MGT-904 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents (ICS 300)

Concord NH                                                                                                                               

November 28-30, 2023, 0800-1700                                                                                                                      

For ICS 300 Must register for both (see links below)


https://prd.blogs.nh.gov/dos/hsem/?page_id=561&ee=1423 https://my.teex.org/TeexPortal/Default.aspx?MO=mCourseCatalog&D=FP&C=MGT904&S=716

Prerequisite: IS-100.b, IS-200.b, IS-700.a, and IS-800.b must be completed prior to registration

Building on the prerequisite ICS 100 and ICS 200 courses, this ICS 300 course focuses on the Incident Command System (ICS) for supervisors in expanding incidents. ICS 300 outlines how the NIMS Command and Coordination component supports the management of expanding incidents as well as describes the incident management processes as prescribed by ICS. This course has a threaded activity that will give students the opportunity to practice implementing the incident management process and creating an Incident Action Plan (IAP) for a simulated expanding incident.

AWR 167 Sport and Special Event Risk Management

Hanover, NH                                                                                                                                 

December 5-6, 2023, 0800-1700                                                                                                                        


The Sport and Special Event Risk Management course is designed to build sport and special event risk management capabilities for community-wide collaboration and mitigation. Through activity-based training modules, safety and security teams will increase their knowledge of planning, risk assessment, training, and continuous improvement practices. The expectation is for participants to return to their respective sport venues and coordinate the development or enhancement of a sport event security management system.

L-0146 Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program

Portsmouth, NH                                                                                                                      

December 11-12, 2023, 0800-1700                                                                                                                        


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.