Category Archives: Community Resilience

Today’s Focus: MO COAD Guidance Manual

According to EDEN chair Rick Atterberry, “The November 17th [2013] tornadoes demonstrated the need for more and more effective COADs [Community Organizations Active in Disaster] in Illinois. While agencies did a commendable job in response and early recovery, there is no question some time was lost as they figured out their roles on the fly. Robust COADs would have been of great value.”

In his role as past president of Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Steve Cain reiterated the need for establishing COADs, “With back-to-back disasters, emergency managers in Indiana have discovered that communities with COADs are much better at recovery. COADs take work off of emergency managers’ plates, especially in response and recovery.”

One of last year’s Smith-Lever Special Needs Grant Program awards went to the University of Missouri to test the the second edition  (introductory presentation) of Stack of papers with reading glasses and a cup of coffeeMissouri’s Community Organizations Active in Disaster  (COAD) Guidance Manual. EDEN delegate Conne Burnham leads the project.

The first manual was developed in 2002 by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency to assist local communities in the development of COADs. Since then, major changes in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy and direction have occurred. FEMA’s current strategic plan (FY 2011-2014) includes a mission to ensure resilience to disasters. COADs are part of a resilient community.

The revised COAD Guidance Manual reflects that focus. The guide provides direction to local volunteer organizations and their emergency management agency offices in ways to establish local emergency human services for people in communities.  It was tested in three states (MO, IL, and IN) using a tabletop exercise delivered via webinars. Following the webinars, Burnham noted, “Many of the webinar attendees were from COADs and nongovernmental organizations that respond to disaster. Local emergency management did not get engaged unless the COAD did. The ones who attended gave it kudos.”

Burnham also noted that COADs and EMA offices will use the guide but may not completely follow it because there is so much content. Rather, they will probably add sections to their emergency operations plans as they need and can support them.

If you are interested in seeing the COAD Guidance Manual, please contact  Dante Gliniecki at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Human Services section.

Beverly Samuel  is NIFA liaison to EDEN and NIFA contact for the Smith Lever Special Needs Program. Last year’s solicitation opened April 24 and had a closing date of May 31 with an estimated program funding total of $462,000.

Be ready when the 2014 call for proposals is announced!

Lessons from the Storm: Case Studies on Economic Recovery and Resilience

Downtown Cullman, AL following 2011 tornadoToday’s post is written by Megan McConville. She manages the National Association of  Development Organization (NADO) disaster recovery and resilience program. We (Rick Atterberry, Steve Cain, Abby Hostetler and Virginia White)  met Megan during a recent visit to Washington, D.C.  You can contact her at mmcconville@nado.org

In 2008, a series of storms—including Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and several tornadoes—swept across Arkansas.  Seventy-two of the state’s 75 counties were affected one or more times over the course of the year.  Only three Arkansas counties escaped Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations in 2008.[i]  Hurricane Gustav made landfall as only a Category 2 storm, but it hung over the south-central United States for days and inundated the region with tremendous amounts of water.  Hurricane Ike, the third-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S., followed just two weeks later, spawning 13 tornadoes in Arkansas over a three-day period.[ii]

As the storms subsided and the floods receded, communities were left with the daunting tasks of cleaning up and repairing damaged infrastructure.  Bridges and culverts needed replacing, roads needed resurfacing, and drainage ditches needed clearing.  What’s more, this series of natural disasters made it clear to state, regional, and local leaders that businesses are tremendously vulnerable to extreme weather.  They can suffer costly damage, be cut off from supply lines, lose sales, and experience interrupted operations.  In some cases, they may even be forced to close permanently.  When businesses and industries fail or falter, the communities they serve can feel serious impacts, ranging from the lack of access to goods and services to the loss of income and jobs.

“Ike and Gustav had huge effects on our infrastructure, our businesses, and the health of our state and regional economies,” says Renee Dycus, the executive director of the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District (SWAPDD).  “After the storms, we were getting calls from some local elected officials, but in the chaos of the recovery process, they had so little time to figure out what assistance was available and ask for it.  We would have liked to have had good baseline information to help us identify needs—especially the needs of the small businesses that play such an important role in the economy of rural Arkansas communities—and reach out proactively to local government and business partners.”[iii]

In response to this need, SWAPDD—one of Arkansas’ eight regional planning and development districts—used disaster recovery funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a comprehensive database of information on the employers and infrastructure in the region.  The database will help southwest Arkansas recover from future disasters much faster and more effectively, as it establishes a baseline for the region’s economy which can be overlaid with geographic information about a disaster’s impacts—such as floods and tornado tracks—to immediately estimate the number of affected businesses and employees, identify damage, and mobilize repair and assistance efforts.  SWAPDD is also using it to identify potential federal and state funding opportunities for local partners, submit applications, request letters of support for projects, and fill out environmental review and other forms with the touch of a button.

Want to know how SWAPDD created such a great tool?  Check out the new case study series from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, titled Lessons from the Storm: Case Studies on Economic Recovery and Resilience.  The series highlights how regional development organizations have used 2008 disaster recovery funds from EDA to address the impacts of natural disasters, become more resilient to future events, and increase long-term economic competitiveness and quality of life in their regions.  SWAPDD’s story is posted there, and more case studies are coming soon.

NADO is a national membership association that provides advocacy, capacity-building, and research services for the network of over 500 regional planning and development organizations across the U.S.  Regional planning and development organizations—known locally as regional planning commissions, councils of governments, area development districts, or similar terms—play a key role in community and economic development, transportation planning, business development finance, technology and telecommunications, workforce development, GIS analysis, and other issues important to their local government partners.

Disaster recovery and resilience is a key area of work for the NADO Research Foundation and for our members.  Along with Lessons from the Storm, we are collaborating with the International Economic Development Council to provide training, technical assistance, and best practice research on economic resilience for communities and regions in the northeast and southeast that were affected by disasters during fiscal year 2011.  We have hosted several peer-to-peer workshops on disaster preparedness and recovery and have produced reports and policy briefs on topics such as integrating hazard mitigation planning, sustainable community development approaches, and economic development strategies; transportation system recovery; and frameworks for regional development organizations to use in preparing and responding to economic shocks.  Additionally, we are helping our members incorporate disaster resilience into their EDA-required Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies and other regional plans.

Severe weather and climate change have become costly and unpredictable parts of our lives.  However, local leaders can learn a lot from each other about planning for disasters during so-called “blue-sky” periods, building partnerships, pursuing non-traditional funding sources, encouraging community engagement, and seizing the abundant opportunities to build back better following an event.  By sharing stories and strategies neighbor-to-neighbor, across networks like EDEN, and through case studies and other online resources, we can be better prepared the next time the storm clouds gather.

 


[i]EDA Disaster Response and Preparedness Plan. University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute for Economic Advancement. 2010. http://iea.ualr.edu/pubs/2010/10-04%20EDA_DRPP.pdf.

[ii] Hurricane Ike Impact Report. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2008. http://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/hurricane/2008/ike/impact_report.pdf.

[iii] Dycus, Renee. Personal interview. June 17, 2013.

Recommended Viewing: From the County Up: Toward a 2030 Vision of Disaster Resilience

Post by Julie Smith, UVM Extension Dairy Specialist and Chair, EDEN Agrosecurity Program Area Work Group (PAWG)

I attended a webinar on disaster resilience conducted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) on March 27, 2013. The speakers presented an overview of the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Local resilience and community engagement are priorities of NACo in the year ahead.

Cameron, LA 5-20-06 FEMA asbestos Inspectors, George Legere, Walter Coleman Jr, and Rocky Craigen check this house for asbestos the Hurricane Rita Damaged. FEMA is checking every house to be demolished for asbestos which may be in roof shingles and insulation, before demolition. Marvin Nauman/FEMA photo

Marvin Nauman/FEMA photo

 What is this vision of resiliency? “In 2030, the nation, from individuals to the highest levels of government, has embraced a “culture of resilience.” Information on risks and vulnerability to individuals and communities is transparent and easily accessible to all. Proactive investments and policy decisions including those for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery have reduced the loss of lives, costs, and socioeconomic impacts of disasters. Community coalitions are widely organized, recognized, and supported to provide essential services before and after disasters occur. Recovery after disasters is rapid and includes funding from private capital. The per capita federal cost of responding to disasters has been declining for a decade.” (p. 14)

In the NAS report, resilience is defined as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events (p. 16).  In a world with seemingly increasing numbers of adverse events, it is important to understand disaster risk. Disaster risk comprises four elements: hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and consequence. Ask yourself how you can help your local emergency managers assess hazards and reduce vulnerability in your community.

Additional resources

  • The webinar is available. Enter your email and you will be able to view the recording.
  • The NAS report can be downloaded for free from the National Academies Press site.
  • In July, NACo published a Hot Topics County News Special Edition on resiliency. You will find in this edition many great articles and links to useful information pertinent to building resiliency at the county level.

Centers for Disease Control — Drought and Human Health

The Centers for Disease Control have a link with information on health issues related to the drought.  Information included on this web page is water, air quality, food and nutrition, sanitation and hygiene, recreational risks, infectious disease, chronic disease, and diseases transmitted by animals and insects.

Kim Cassel

EDEN Drought Team

As Seasonal Drought Outlook (below) shows peristence and intensification of the drought over much of the country through the end of the year, I share with you the leadership of  the newly formed Drought NEIL (National EDEN Issue Leader) Team.  The team is charged with the development of  sustainable EDEN and EDEN eXtension drought preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation research based resources.  Working from a Logic Model, we will be building on the excellent resources shared by Extension Specialists and County Extension Educators.

 

University Who Email Phone
South Dakota State University E. Kim Cassel Kim.cassel@sdstate.edu  605-696-7873
University of Tennessee Tim Prather tprather@tennessee.edu  865-974-7266
University of Kentucky Tom Priddy Priddy@uky.edu  859-257-3000 ext 245
Auburn University Virginia Morgan morgamv@auburn.edu  334-844-5699
Purdue University Steve Cain cain@purdue.edu 765-494-8410
Louisiana State University Pat Skinner pskinner@agcenter.lsu.edu 225-578-2910
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Rick Atterberry ratterbe@illinois.edu 217-244-2828
University of Missouri Bev Maltsberger MaltsbergerB@missouri.edu  816-279-1691
University of Minnesota Phyllis Onstad onsta003@umn.edu 507-796-6008
University of Missouri Sherry Nelson NelsonS@missouri.edu 573-769-2177
Oregon State University Lynette Black lynette.black@oregonstate.edu 541-296-5494
University of Arkansas Deborah Tootle dtootle@uaex.edu 501-671-2228
South Dakota State University Alvaro Garcia Alvaro.garcia@sdstate.edu  605-688-5488
University of Nebraska – Lincoln Rick Koelsch rkoelsch1@unl.edu 402-472-2966
NIFA/USDA Bill Hoffman whoffman@NIFA.USDA.GOV 202-401-1112

 

Kim Cassel

 

Whole Community

Last December, and following a national dialogue, FEMA published its new initiative, A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action. You can read the entire document or read the highlights here.

The folks at Homeland Security Watch are thinking about the initiative and how a whole community approach will/should look if the entire community is to really be engaged in its disaster preparedness. See this post for an interesting perspective.

What does it take to engage the whole community?

 

2012 Great Central U.S. Shakeout February 7

Has the earth moved beneath your feet lately? When I checked the USGS site this week, there were 935 earthquakes recorded for the past eight days in the 48 conterminous states, Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Those earthquakes in the conterminous (great word!) states occurred from California to Massachusetts.

The 2012 Great ShakeOuts begin in February with the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut. On February 7, more than one million people will participate in the ShakeOut. Other states, British Columbia, Guam, and New Zealand will hold their ShakeOut events later in the year. Regardless of when the event is held, all have a common message. When you feel that first jolt, immediately Drop, Cover and Hold On.

What can you do to help your communities?

  • If you live in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, or Alabama,  encourage your audiences to participate in the Great Central U.S. ShakeOut– it is free and open to the general public.
  • Teach audiences how they can become resilient and resistant to earthquakes. Youth groups can focus on science (what causes earthquakes) and staying safe during an earthquake. Adults can be shown how to taking steps to protect property and homes from an earthquake can actually be good practice for normal times.
  • Partner with EMA (select your state and drill down to find the local office) or Public Safety department to host an earthquake drill.
  • Model good preparedness practices. Make sure your home, office, family and colleages know the drill and are prepared.