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Posted by Nick on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 4:08pm.

New Orleans Emergency Operations Plan FY12
According to, The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned, Hurricane Katrina prompted an extraordinary national response that included all levels of government—Federal, state, and local—the private sector, faith-based and charitable organizations, foreign countries, and individual citizens. The effects of Hurricane Katrina on the city of New Orleans and the surrounding regions will be felt for years to come. Hurricane Katrina has been described as “one of the most devastating natural disasters” in U.S History. The storm’s wrath was the third deadliest to hit the United States resulting in 1,833 deaths both directly and indirectly. The surrounding populous encountered: a Category 5 storm, multiple tornadoes, wind speeds in excess of 170 mph, rainfall accumulations exceeding 8-10 inches, flooding due to levee breaks, and multiple secondary effects due to the atmospherics of the storm. Evacuees totaled an estimated 1.2 million people from Louisiana to Alabama. Forty-three tornadoes derived from this storm affecting four states including: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. As the task force leader I will be spearheading a disaster recovery plan for New Orleans, LA; taking into consideration lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. I foresee the embedment of this plan throughout all agencies involved, as a foundation to mitigate the effects of disaster in our city. This plan when properly executed will ensure the life/safety of all New Orleans residents throughout the emergency condition, disaster dilatation, and recovery process.
The emergency operations plan will consist of three functional areas: Hazard Mitigation, Disaster Response, and Post Disaster Redevelopment/Long Term Recovery. These functional areas will be supervised by the New Orleans Disaster Recovery Task Force. The task force will be the primary point of contact for all local, state, and federal agencies in disaster assistance for the city of New Orleans. The team will disseminate guidance to the local people and organizations on new policy changes, mandatory meetings, and future training events. Furthermore, the task force is obligated to report to state and federal organizations on the outcome of completed training events and quarterly synchronization meetings. The recovery task force will also assist policy makers, elected/appointed officials, in presenting the most applicable courses of actions to implement for disaster response and recovery. The task force leader will work closely with executive policy makers on a variety of issues including: decision making procedures, community conditions, discuss financial requirements, utilization of state and federal agencies to enhance effectiveness, contingency strategies, and to assess the effectiveness of long-term recovery efforts.
Hazard Mitigation is vital to New Orleans, proper planning, educating, and training will help eradicate complacency and encourage preparedness for all levels of disasters. This segment will be comprised of several important liaisons that will embed themselves to many designated agencies. These personnel will be required to be accredited through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), prior to acting as a correspondent. The liaisons will learn policies and regulations of their host and will report finding back to the Hazard Mitigation Leader. Liaisons will help with the following: building rapport with the agencies, establishing an open line of communication, acting as a service matter expert in that area, and coordinating with the agencies for future meetings and training exercises. A permanent liaison will be located at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to eliminate confusion on our emergency plan and to ensure any issues are resolved in a timely manner. A representative will permanently be affixed to the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA BEOC) to aid in the coordination of critical infrastructure and key resources that will be crucial in the recovery process. Other liaisons will not be attached, but will work closely with senior leaders at the following agencies: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National League of Cities (NLC), Red Cross, American Planning Association (APA), Louisiana’s Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP), the Louisiana Office of State Climatology, and a variety of other state departments.
On a monthly basis all representatives, liaisons, and officials will meet to inform the task force manager of any pertinent information, changes that will hinder the plan, update mandatory training matrixes, and proposed revisions to the emergency operations plan.
Communities will designate a disaster manager within their precinct to assist with hazard mitigation. They will keep their sectors informed and assist with preparation for impending disasters. The local managers will attend town hall meetings within their respective communities to broadcast information that will continually educate the people in that area. Also, these managers will be asking for volunteers with special skills that could assist in the recovery process. Disaster managers will encourage each attendee to visit (this website) to build a family disaster plan that will be unique to their family; at a minimum this will promote constructive thinking within the community. Each week local managers will hold training forums, open to the public, which will concentrate on a different preparation task. This education will help strengthen the population’s confidence in disaster recovery and response teams during a catastrophic event. The local managers will be required to report in with the task force manager every month on the preparedness of his or her community.
Also, warning devices will be tested on a bi-monthly basis to ensure their functionality including: sirens, television warnings, emergency alert systems, reverse 911, radio warnings and evacuation notices. Twice a year a synchronized disaster drill will be conducted to test the effectiveness of the emergency operation plan. Shelter locations both short term and long term will be pre plotted throughout the city to certify their effectiveness. Supply locations will either be collocated with shelters or within close proximity, to enable an easy resupply. These drills will require a great deal of coordination throughout all agencies and will enhance the team’s efficiency during an actual disaster. Thorough coordination is vital when involving multiple organizations including: the police, the fire stations, ambulance responders, radio stations, weather channels, utility suppliers (electric, water, gas, sewer), retirement homes, schools, and hospitals to name a few. During the training exercises, this will allow the team to identify major/minor flaws with the operations plan and help to refine it.
The next functional area is disaster response, the actions taken by the community, the task force, and applicable agencies during a catastrophic occurrence. Throughout this segment team work and communication throughout all agencies is a priority. During a time of chaos I believe that having leaders pre appointed and prepositioned will help to reestablish a sense of normalcy within the city. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will act as an information hub for everyone affected by the event. The EOC will centralize disaster response leaders, task force members, liaisons, volunteers, and multiple agencies to promote coordination and communication with all entities. The center will continue to gather information about the disaster and relay information to the effected individuals. If additional equipment is needed the EOC will be the first to identify those needs and will ensure that the request are met in a timely manner. It will also act as a location that can accurately forward information to outside agencies. EOCs will manage the use of all resources and distribute them accordingly to applicable areas. The disaster manager will be in charge of his/her own EOC in their community; the equipment will be provided by the task force. FEMA and the Red Cross will erect separate EOCs, due to their large capacity and number of personnel. Despite the number of EOCs that are organized throughout the city, state, and surrounding regions communication must remain fluid, the EOC leaders must make it a point to cross talk to enhance disaster recovery.
The people affected will at a minimum conduct the following first response actions when encountered with each hazard. These are basic actions that each individual should take on a given disaster; they are simple actions that will save lives and limit property damage. Having the knowledge of what to do during a disaster will limit fear and panic, mitigate chaos, and overall enhance your probability of survival.
In the case of a hurricane 1) power-off all equipment 2) seek shelter away from movable objects 3) listen to hurricane advisories 4) evacuate area if flooding is habitual or directed to 5) check gas, water, and electrical lines for damage 6) once the storm has subsided assess damage.
In case of a tornado 1) monitor weather conditions 2) power off equipment 3) shut off utilities (power and gas) 4) assume a protective posture 5) assess damage once storm passes 6) assist any affected personnel.
In case of flooding 1) monitor flood advisories 2) determine flood potential to your residence 3) shut off the main power supply to your residence 4) evacuate if applicable 5) assess damage.
In case of a fire 1) attempt to suppress fire in early stages within your means 2) evacuate as necessary 3) notify the fire department 4) get accountability of all personnel 5) search for missing personnel If applicable 6) assess damage.
Disasters input additional stress to individuals and families, including both mental and physical. If every member of the household is knowledgeable on these lifesaving steps, this will help lessen the added stressors.
The last functional area is Post Disaster Redevelopment/Long Term Recovery. Debris management will be a primary focus, during redevelopment, due to significant monetary assistance it will take to clean up the disaster area. Staff will be employed to support in the documentation of debris management cost and to coordinate with FEMA for submitting reimbursements. FEMA is mandated by the Stafford Act, to pay 100% of the costs of debris removal within the first 72 hours following a hurricane. Debris removal can take anywhere from a couple of days, to months to rid the disaster area of all debris. The public sector liaison will ensure that he or she fully understands the capabilities and limitations of the departments in the public sector, to project additional assistance for debris removal. Additionally, contractors and their equipment will be solicited to assist with debris removal; it is imperative that the private sector liaison continually communicates with these assets to ensure their commitment.
Also, major insurance companies will send representatives to the location of the disaster to expedite insurance claims. We will include insurance agents in our emergency operations plan to help sooth anxiety, panic, and the fear of the unknown amongst those affected by the disaster. This will result in expediting insurance claims and timely reimbursements to those in need.
Redevelopment and Long Term Recovery will address the following concerns: repopulation, flood mitigation, housing, economic development, safety and security, and utilities. Service matter experts in these areas will continually gather information and submit proposals to encourage growth and restoration in these areas. Returning to normalcy is the primary goal of our redevelopment and recovery plan. To reach this attainable goal it will take all agencies working together as an inter-organization working towards the completion of this collective objective.
A recovery shop will be established in the hardest hit communities; these shops will act as a hub for government and non-profit support agencies for each community. These hubs will offer such amenities as: web access, spiritual support council, volunteers, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), registered nurses, and basic carpentry supplies. At these locations recovery tips will be shared, weekly focus groups will be held, and community needs will be addressed. The local recovery shop will remain actively on site until the task force manager directs the closing of the shop. The task force leader will only direct the closing of the shop, if the community disaster manager supports this decision. These locations will help build morale, and give the civilian population a standing reminder that they aren’t left behind.
This emergency operations plan acts as a guideline; we will continue to make revisions as needed based off of lessons learned in other disaster struck areas. Disaster recovery and response isn’t something that any one organization can complete on its own; the team concept is incorporated throughout our planning. The city of New Orleans faces my different disasters on many different levels; the key is to spread disaster awareness throughout all communities to foster preparedness and resiliency.

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