Avery County
Emergency Management
     

 


USER MANUAL
Avery County Emergency Operations Plan
Reviewed / Updated: August 3, 2010

EPlan

   

Some screens may appear slightly different in your version of EPlan

Introduction 

EPlan was designed by emergency management professionals. We have been in the “trenches” just like you. We have been out there on chemical spills and doing damage assessment after a tornado or hurricane. We have managed the EOC when disaster strikes and we have been there when the budget is cut and you have nothing to work with and no time for training or to write plans. The “keep it simple” philosophy of EPlan was incorporated in the overall design. Documents and information are at your fingertips. It is difficult to be fully prepared for every disaster or catastrophic event, but solid emergency planning coupled with training can help you and your community be ready for most threats. Working with you, EPlan can help you do that.

Most emergency plans have hundreds of references. EPlan has them too. The difference is that EPlan takes you to that reference with the click of a button. Here are some of our features and why we think we are the best product on the market. 

“The Emergency Plan”

  • Easy to navigate, just click
  • Easy to locate reference documents, just click
  • Easy for the untrained to use, just click
  • Roles and responsibilities of your EOC team
  • Local demographics, local laws.
  • This can become your plan and the work is done for you. You supply the information.

“Operating procedures”

  • Dozens of procedures including those used for nuclear and radiological events and exercises.
  • Proven to work
  • Easy to navigate, select the procedure, click and you are there.

“Checklists”

  • Dozens of checklists that cover natural and manmade hazards. Each includes actions for:

    • Planning
    • Response
    • Recovery  

“Data base”

  • Includes the things most emergency managers want:
    • Damage assessment
    • Resources
    • Resource requests and processing
    • Shelters and shelter population
    • Significant incidents
    • Personnel  

“Links to important sites”

  • Need more information, connect to the internet and just click. FEMA, Chemtrec, NOAA and more.
  • There are links throughout EPlan to help guide you through the maze of information available to you.
  • We do the research for you, locate the information and you simply click.  
EPlan is simple, it is designed that way. It is easy to modify with some simple training and you can make changes as your needs change, and you can do the modifications, so your plan is updated when you want it to be. EPlan will teach you all you need to know, in less than an hour, how to update and modify your plan. More importantly we will stand behind you, providing you updates, more checklists, more references, more links. It is all included in the purchase price. No hidden cost. We can simply email you the changes or you can go online and get them from the website. No more waiting on someone to deliver it to you. You can do the updates, no more waiting on a technician. Simple setups that run automatically.

EPlan is written with “off the shelf” software. No more hype from some computer whiz. We will tell you what it is and you can buy it at a local software store, or we can get it for you. Whichever is more cost effective for you.

Need additional Emergency Management work in your community? We can probably help you with that too. Our no obligation estimates will give you a budget figure you can work with. Tell us what you need, and then try us.

If you are not 100% satisfied with any product or service, you pay nothing.
 

Simple Product Warranty 

EPlan LLC warrants its products to be free of defects in workmanship for a period of three (3) years from date of delivery to the original client.

EPlan LLC further warrants that customer satisfaction must be 100% and that customer has the right to return the product for full refund for a period up to and including ninety (90) days from date of delivery by EPlan LLC to the customer. No reason for the return of product shall be required.

EPlan LLC does not warrant defects in workmanship for any third party software or hardware, nor does EPlan LLC warrant product suitability for the customer.
 

System Requirements 

EPlan has been extensively tested with numerous computers, brands of computers, processor speeds, networks, network environments, internet and stand alone. Good performance can be achieved with the minimum specifications listed below.

Difficulty will be encountered with various functions of EPlan should the user decided to use software or computer hardware that falls below these minimums. Below minimums will cause the program to be slow and it some very rare cases, cease operation until the memory cache is cleared. Clearing memory cache or other systems issues must be resolved by contacting your System Administrator.
 

Not Included with
EPlan
  • Intel Pentium III or higher
  • 128Mb RAM (256 preferred)
  • Win98/2000/ME/NT/XP/Vista or Server 2003, 2005
  • 50Mb free hard disk space
  • internet access
  • Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher
  • Office Professional 2000 or higher (Access, Front Page, Excel, etc.).  
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • SQL Server or SQL Express
  • HTML Editor (Front Page, Dreamweaver, Expression Web, etc.)

Using Internet Explorer

EPlan operates just like a web page. If you are familiar at all with the internet and using Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, then navigating EPlan will be very simple for you.

Simply click on the menu item on the left you wish to go to.


If you are not familiar with Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, please take a few moments to become familiar with the features of this powerful internet browser. If you do not already have Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher you may download a free copy directly from the internet by accessing the site:
http://microsoft.com. Please notice there is no www in front of Microsoft. This is intentional. Microsoft changed its website address in 2002. Once you have reached the Microsoft site you can then select Downloads and choose the version of Internet Explorer you wish to download.


EPlan makes extensive use of the “Back” and “Forward” keys located in the Internet Explorer tool bar. Please become familiar with these keys.

EPlan also makes use of the “Minimize (-) Restore and Close (X) keys. Theses keys are located in the upper right hand corner of Internet Explorer. Using these keys allows you to control the size of the browser, or to close it.

One of the most important features in understanding Internet Explorer is the built in Help (F1) feature. If you have questions regarding the use of Internet Explorer features, EPlan recommends using the Help key. Look for the Help key (or button) on the standard “toolbar” of Internet Explorer.

EPlan makes extensive use of something called “hyperlinks”. Hyperlinks can be thought of as nothing more than direct shortcuts to places you want to go. In some cases these links will take you to a place in a document. Others may take you directly to another document entirely; still others may take you to documents on the internet. It is very important to use all of the features and all of the hyperlinks available to you in EPlan you must be connected to the internet.

Editing documents is briefly discussed in this manual. Editing is reserved for Administrators and others that have been given privileges by your agency to do this. Who has or does not have editing privileges is a matter of internal policy of your agency, company, or department and not EPlan.
 

Using the Main Menu

Using the EPlan Menu is as simple as using your mouse, placing the cursor over the “button” on the menu and then clicking on the “button” on the menu (i.e.: example on the left), for the item you wish to see. A single click is all you need, but if you double click, that is OK too. 

Your menu may appear different on your version of EPlan. This was a choice of your system administrator. Other menus may have titles and not “buttons”.  

Each menu and each “main” page was customized to your agency’s requirements or requests.
 

Using the Menu

The Emergency Plan menu of your program is also a matter of choice of your system administrator or program manager that selected the type of menu that would be used. Choices are an "expanding",  “collapsing” and a “non-collapsing” menu.

The "non-collapsing" menu is accessed by clicking on any of the Main Menu buttons. A new page is presented that uses hyperlinks to connect you to the documents. Some users prefer this type of menu. EPlan gives you a choice.

For the purpose of illustration the collapsing menu is used here as an example.

  1. Read the selection choices.  
  2. Using your mouse, place your cursor over the word or words (i.e.: Concept of Operations) and simply click.
  3. The menu will expand and you will be able to proceed to the area of your choice in the plan.
  4. When you expand the menu you will notice numerous hyperlink choices. Simply click on any link for the desired information.
  1. To collapse the menu again, click on the Title selection again and that portion of the menu will collapse.
     

Using the Data Base 

Click on the Data Base “button” on the main page and you will be taken to a sub-menu for the Data Base. Remember, you also have the option of selection of database items from the main menu. While your Data Base menu may look slightly different, the process is the same regardless. See the example below. The Data Base works differently than any other function of EPlan. It assumes you want to do one of several things. At very least, it assumes you want to do one of the following: 
 
  1. Enter data
  2. Search for information
  3. Edit a record

  1. Read the menu choices.
  2. Select the portion of the data base you wish to see or work in.
  3. Using your mouse, position the cursor over the choice.
  4. A sub-menu will then open.
  5. Select the portion of the data base you wish to see or work in.
  6. Click.

Entering data:

Entering data (or information) into the data base is simple and straight forward. Lets look at the example of  “Damage Assessment – Business”.

Choose Enter Data by positioning your cursor on Enter Data, now click and a data entry form will appear that looks like this:
 


click on the image for a larger view
 

You may now type information onto the form. The “rules” about how you enter information such as using upper and lower case letters or all upper case letters is left to your System Administrator or supervisor. EPlan suggests using upper and lower case letters, as if you were typing any other document. It simply looks more professional. 

Notice you can use the “tab” key to advance to the next data area, except when you reach a “pull down” menu. Pull down menus require that you use the mouse to make your selection. 

When you have finished all of the data you wish to enter, look on the lower portion of the screen for a button that looks like this: 

  

Then click on the button to add your data. You have just saved the record.

If you wish to enter additional records, you may do so now without returning to the menu. Simply click on "Add New" and a new entry screen will appear.

This will then display a “blank” data entry form, just like the one you just filled out. You can add records, as just described or “redo” an entry. All from the tool bar on your data entry form.  

When you are finished, simply close the data entry form, using the Home key at the top of the page. 

Notice when a data base screen is open that it appears in front of the “Menu screen”. This is perfectly normal. From this type of menu, EPlan data base forms of all types are designed so the user can access multiple screens at the same time and even move them separately if they have a large screen projector or another monitor attached to their computer. This arrangement can be changed if the System Administrator desires it. 
 

Edit/Search data: 

Each data form in EPlan has been designed for ease of operation.

The information will then be broken down into (in this case) by a name, such as a business name. To search for a business, simply enter the name of the business and then click find. The Search (built in) function of the data base will even search for names that "sound like" or even on partial spelling. Additionally, you can also choose to "show all". Show All is ideal for printing reports.

Notice also that the “math” from the data entry form has been performed for you. This is another feature of EPlan to make the use of the program easier for you. Math or other calculations are made by the database and imported directly into the form so you do not have to have a calculator to perform math or other functions that would take time.
 


click on the image for a larger view
 

Once the database finds the records, a list is presented to you. Simply click on the record (in this case the name of the business) and a detail of the record will be presented. Print the record if you desire by clicking "print" from your browser menu. Here is an example:
 


click on the image for a larger view
 

Functions in Data Entry and Search/Edit

Both data entry and search/edit screens have several functions that are important to you. These functions help you to navigate records, find unique records, find records that are like what you are searching for and more. Here we will explore several options and short cuts.

  1. Home
    Home is perhaps one of the most important keys you will have on the data screens. Simply using the "back" key does not work very well. The reason is simple. Security. There are numerous security features built in to EPlan. This is one of them. It makes your data more secure and "challenges" someone that may wish to tamper with your data from an outside source. When you have finished entering or searching or editing data, simply click on Home to be taken back to the main menu.
     

  2. Search
    Even from a data entry screen you can search for a record. This function is available on all Enter Data screens. This function is there only for your convenience. If you are in the middle of entering information it is not  recommended that you begin a search. Doing this will cause you to loose the information you have already entered.
     

  3. Add
    Add means the same thing as save. To add or save a record simply click Add.
     

  4. Cancel
    To cancel the record (thus not adding or saving it) simply click cancel.
     

  5. Delete
    If you have been given privileges to do so, from any record that has been retrieved from a Search/Edit screen you may delete a single record. Administrators may delete all records in certain tables.
     

  6. Search by: Search by gives you numerous options on how to search for data. In the example below we have used the Search/Edit function for Damage Assessment - Residential.

    Notice the small "pull down menu" on the left, under Search Housing Losses By: In this case you can search by choosing:

  • Name of Occupant like... (the last name of a person)

  • Address like...

  • City like...

  • Show All... (this shows all listings regardless of name, address or city)

  1. Automatic calculations
    EPlan's database does a lot of automatic calculations. When you enter figures in damage assessment (as an example) the totals are calculated for you when you add the record and the new total of all records is displayed. This is done to anticipate that there will be numerous users entering data at the same time through a network or via the internet. When you delete records or edit records these calculations are also automatically performed for you. The new totals will be posted as you edit or delete records.
     

  2. Spell check
    There is not one. This is because of the unique characteristics of emergency services and the tendency to use a lot of "shorthand". What you enter, the way you enter it, is how the computer will store the information.

Another unique function of the database is the use of the % (or percent) sign. Entering the % sign and then clicking Find, is the same as using "Show All". It is just faster.
 

Log In

By now you are familiar with the login screen. This log in requires your user name and password. This is for security reasons. Please do not share your unique user name and password with anyone. The name and password you use have privileges attached to them. Compromising the use of user names and passwords compromises your security.
 

Log Out

There may be times when it is necessary for you to log out of EPlan and not log off your computer entirely. Going off duty is one example. You can log out so a new user can log in and use their user name and password. To log out, simply go to the main menu and click on the Log Out button, usually found at the bottom of your main menu. When you click on log out the link then displays a new login screen.
 

Search Function: 

The Search function of EPlan is a “keyword” search function. What this means is that you can search for keywords such as tornado, county, emergency or any similar keyword. There are over 1,500 keywords. You can even combine keywords such as emergency AND management.

Type the word or words you wish to search for in the blank space, then click the "glasses" or simply press enter from your keyboard. A list of "found documents" that contain the keyword or phrase will be returned. You may click on the "keyword" link to display the document.

Remember:
This search will search for the document only, not a specific place in a document. For better search results, try using keywords such as tornado, hurricane, water, etc.

Once you have found the specific document the word or phrase can be found easily by doing the following: 

  1. On the Internet Explorer toolbar, locate Edit.
  2. Click on Edit
  3. Locate Find (on this page)
  4. Click on Find
  5. Enter the word or phrase you wish to find
  6. Click Find Next
  7. Continue to click Find Next until you have reached that portion of the document you wish to see.
     

Links:

Links operates just like any web page site would. Simply clicking on the link name will take you to the website, assuming you are connected to the internet. If your internet connection is not automatic, EPlan recommends connecting to the internet when you first start the program.
 

Contacting EPlan: 

If you have questions about EPlan or a function of EPlan, please call or email. If your need is urgent call or page EPlan.

EPlan LLC
695 Garden Valley Road
Statesville, North Carolina 28625
USA
704.546.2703 or 704-880-7553
email: eplanllc@aol.com or
eplansupport@aol.com

Visit our website for more information, Administrator manual or updated files.
www.EPlanonline.com

 

Avery County Emergency Management - Newland, North Carolina