Improving the preparedness of organizations to respond to disasters requires a systematic approach that involves planning, organization, equipment, training and exercises. While many organizations realize the critical importance of formally evaluating their preparedness efforts, traditionally After Action Reports (AARs) have taken place after the immediate response phase to the incident is over. Unfortunately, there is currently no end in sight for the current crisis we are facing with COVID-19. And, as time goes by key lessons learned and best practices that could dramatically improve future COVID-19 and other response efforts may be lost if they are not documented now in an Operational Assessment Report. We have extensive experience with completing After Action Reports and Operational Assessments for both exercises and real-world responses including COVID-19, and frequently receive client feedback such as the following: “one of the most complete, well-written after-action reports I have encountered...Your department contracted to have the company prep, conduct the exercise and the after-action report…money was very well-spent.” We are here to help if you are ready to take the next step in improving your preparedness efforts. Please contact us for more information.
To assist emergency managers in responding to incidents during the 2020 hurricane season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA released the COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season in May to accomplish the following: Describe Challenges and Planning Considerations Highlight How FEMA is Adapting Operations Clarify Expectations Provide Guidance, Checklists and Resources We've posted an article that describes some of the planning considerations that organizations should address in their response and recovery efforts. For example, community shelters will need to operate at a much lower level of capacity than in the past to incorporate social distancing safety guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, communities may need to train new shelter volunteers who are not from vulnerable populations. Addressing these recommendations will help organizations to prepare for a variety disasters.
There are numerous dashboards that have been developed over the past several months in response to the on-going COVID-19 crisis. This compilation of dashboards was posted on twitter by @FrancoB411. One of the dashboards is called "COVID-19 Exit Strategy". It highlights whether states have met the criteria established by the CDC to assess when a state should relax or increase its restrictions. The indicators are based on symptoms, cases, and hospitals.
This is an informative site for disaster info. for the big island: http://kokua.alohaliving.com/ See the interactive map link... There's a big push to try to get the community engaged in identifying unmet needs, as well as meeting those needs. There are weekly calls with all of the volunteer agencies engaged in providing support, and multiple ways that you can help.
The 65th annual International Association of Emergency Manager's (IAEM) Conference is rapidly approaching from November 10th to 15th in Long Beach, California. It's not too late to register. In fact, the early bird registration deadline is Friday, October 6, 2017. This year, ReadyZoneHQ's Jon Shear will be speaking on November 13th from 1100 to 1200 on "How Hawaii Used Collaboration and Technology to Address the Temporary Emergency Power Challenge". Please join him for this session on the important topic of addressing the challenge of planning for temporary emergency power after a disaster. For many other reasons to attend see https://iaemconference.info/2017/why-attend/
The National Voluntary Organization Active in Disasters (VOAD) has information on the best way to help communities after a disaster. National VOAD members are currently responding to these major events: Hurricane Maria Hurricane Irma Hurricane Harvey They strongly discourage sending unsolicited supplies and equipment to disaster areas. In many cases these donations strain the logistics system, and require volunteers to devote additional effort to store and manage these donations. As VOAD notes, "While all donations are appreciated, CASH IS BEST. " Visit their site for more information on the best ways to help communities.
This is a good article on the importance of developing plans and procedures, and incorporating technology into operations before a disaster. As noted in the article, Vice Adm. Sandra Stosz, the Coast Guard’s deputy commandant for mission support, stated “We decided for the next disaster, we can’t be a pick-up game. We have to be looking in advance what we need to develop.” "Recent hurricanes have the Coast Guard rethinking social media's role in rescue and response - FederalNewsRadio.com" https://federalnewsradio.com/management/2017/09/recent-hurricanes-have-the-coast-guard-rethinking-social-medias-role-in-rescue-and-response/
One of the most compelling presentations during the IAEM conference this year was from Larry Zacarese of Stony Brook University on "Super Storm Sandy - Impacts, Response, and Recovery". He noted that 6 days out they were informed that the storm "could" have an impact on the university. That warning started a chain of events where the university proactively took steps to prepare for and respond to the disaster. Their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was operational for 15 days, and issued 15 major alerts, as well as posting 23 major updates to their websites. They only cancelled 5 days of classes despite the massive damage that the storm caused to the surrounding region. One of the key takeaways from his session was the need for redundant communications and continuity of operations procedures. There were 3 ISPs down for 27 hours, and their redundant system was inaccessible, due to incorrect security protocols. Individuals, families, and organizations need to plan for loss of communications, and have multiple methods of reestablishing communications. By planning for the loss of primary communications channels, we can be better prepared for disasters.
One of the advantages of attending emergency management conferences is the ability to see some of the latest technology in the exhibit hall. You get the opportunity to speak with vendors and compare and contrast different products. For example, this year there have been a number of companies selling 72 hour disaster kits. There's a huge advantage to seeing the products in person, and going over the features and benefits of each one. The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) does a great job of bringing together some of the top companies in the world focused on the field of disaster preparedness. I've attended this conference for a number of years, and this year's conference in Reno has been worth the trip.