Readying for Recovery: Strategies to Support Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning

IN THIS ISSUE As we close on another recordsetting, billion-dollar disaster year,1 it is important to take time and reflect on lessons learned so that we can collectively enhance future preparedness efforts. In looking back on pivotal after-action reports of 2017 and 2018, common reoccurring themes from the past emerge: communications, coordination, resource needs and availability. However, new themes are ever-present as well — and they focus on the need to pre-plan for whole-community recovery efforts. In concert with the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF), and state and local guidelines for pre-disaster recovery planning, communities nationwide should be taking time to plan for recovery. In this issue of Disaster Recovery Today, Christina Crue, Tidal Basin’s Senior Director of Preparedness and Mitigation, focuses on strategies to support wholecommunity pre-disaster recovery planning, as well as obstacles and best practices to plan for such recovery. Nationwide, the U.S. has seen an increase in weather and climate disaster events with losses that have exceeded $1 billion each over the past three years.2 2018 was the most active year of billion-dollar disaster events since NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) began tracking these occurrences in 1980. These billion-dollar events are not only those disasters headlining the news, such as wildfires in California or hurricanes in Florida, but include hail storms, tornadoes, drought and inland flooding. In addition, the U.S. has seen a steady increase of major disaster declarations — rising from an average of 25 per year in the 1980s to nearly 90 per year since 2010.3 Disasters over the past decade have shown us that all states can be susceptible and that all governments must be prepared to respond to and recover from these events for the well-being of the communities they serve. Readying for Recovery: Strategies to Support Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning By Christina Crue, MS, CEM, MEP Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Consulting Lumppini/

2 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM damaged infrastructure. Therefore, leadership is necessary at the local level to ensure that progress remains steady and does not stall. This requires foresight, a collaborative approach, and a thoughtful understanding of the diverse vulnerabilities of a community and the unique resources that can be brought to bear. So, why plan? Communities of all sizes and geographical locations are at risk from experiencing a disaster and therefore should plan their potential recovery, starting immediately. The most effective way to support recovery is through discussions prior to a disaster. It is important to identify lead agencies or departments and preemptively identify those public, private and volunteer organizations with skills and resources to support the recovery effort. While resources are limited, the alarming fact is that the rate of disasters is increasing. The time to plan is now! Lessons Learned The NDRF was established in 2011 because disasters showcased a need for a focused recovery leadership at every level of government; a strategic approach to addressing a wide range of recovery needs; and an effective structure for coordinating and supporting federal resources to support disaster-impacted communities. Following the historic disasters of 2017 and 2018, the need for the further adoption of these principles remains. Multiple after-action reports from the major disasters highlighted the need for The Time is Now Though many recovery programs are available at the federal level, it is up to the impacted community to implement those programs. The need for additional pre-disaster recovery planning has been highlighted in FEMA’s Strategic Plan 2018-2022. It emphasizes that resources at the state, local and federal level for pre-disaster recovery planning, hazard mitigation and preparedness activities are often constrained. In addition, the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) remains a relatively new concept that community partners have limited exposure to and understanding of how it supports recovery efforts.4 The overarching challenge is that comprehensive community recovery after a disaster is unique and complex. It expands beyond simply building back FEMA/Walter Jennings

T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 3 more comprehensive, community-based planning for recovery. Regardless of the hazard, communities from coast to coast have highlighted challenges with recovery operations that could have been alleviated with pre-disaster recovery planning. Hurricane Harvey Hurricane Harvey’s widespread devastation stretched the limits of the local, state and federal response mechanisms. This hurricane also highlighted the complex nature of recovery and the need for formal plans to support comprehensive recovery operations. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management’s Hurricane Harvey After-Action Report identified multiple challenges in the transition from response to recovery, as well as the coordination required for comprehensive recovery efforts. The report observed that the transition from response to recovery was challenging and that the County lacked a formal way to transition into short- and longterm recovery. Highlighting the need for future improvement, the report asserted that recovery plans need to be more formalized and communicated, and that additional positions within the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) are needed to support recovery efforts.5 “… communities from coast to coast have highlighted challenges with recovery operations that could have been alleviated with pre-disaster recovery planning.” In Eye of The Storm: Report of the Governor’s Commission to Rebuild Texas, another common challenge to recovery was highlighted: the fragmented way in which federal funding is distributed, including the multitude of agencies and departments with recovery missions. Like others before it, the report highlights challenges and inefficiencies in the recovery process. According to the report, this challenge was amplified in the implementation of disaster case management. Delays in grant award and two separate entities applying for case management grants to support statewide case management slowed the process. It took over nine months for the disaster case management program in Texas to begin operations. The report highlights the need for further pre-disaster coordination on these efforts. Another common challenge — contracting —was highlighted as well. The report states that the lack of preevent contracting significantly delayed temporary housing missions for Texans. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) published Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk, a report to collect lessons learned from the GLO’s response to Hurricane Harvey, with a special focus on their primary mission of housing. That report highlighted

4 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM a common issue in disaster recovery: expectation management. The report says that there is a “serious gap between what [elected officials] and the public believe about federal disaster assistance, and the reality of what the Stafford Act, which governs federal disaster management programs, actually says.”6 Furthermore, it summarizes the consequences of these misconceptions stating, “because many Texans in high-risk areas believe that the federal government will rescue them, they have no insurance, particularly if they live outside of the floodplain.”7 To elevate these public communication concerns, communities could apply whole-community planning approaches to engage the public prior to disasters, educating them on risks and expectations during and after incidents. Whole-community approaches to emergency management are outlined in FEMA’s A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action.8 CaliforniaWildfires and Santa Barbara Debris Flow 2017 saw some of our nation’s most devastating wildfires. The Thomas Fire and the Tubbs Fire uncovered significant recovery issues that could be addressed pre-disaster to expedite recovery. The County of Santa Barbara wrote in the Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow After-Action Report and Improvement Plan that the County needed to increase its capability to recover from a major disaster. Specifically, the County pointed to naming “a Recovery Unit Leader early in the incident; developing pre-disaster recovery plans, including consideration for cost recovery and debris management; and pre-identifying and assessing sites across the County which can be used to support both evacuation shelters and Local Assistance Center/Disaster Recovery Center (LAC/DRC).”9 Similarly, in Sonoma County where the Tubbs Fire became the second most destructive California wildfire of all time, recovery issues were also being uncovered. According to the October 2017 Complex Fires Emergency Operations Center After Action Report & Improvement Plan, published by the County of Sonoma in June 2018, recovery operations planning was a serious concern. It found that there was no Recovery Plan in place, which “forced staff to develop one during the response. The lack of a plan with specific governance model options resulted in County leadership attempting to create

T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 5 an organization. This led to a delay in fully undertaking recovery operations.” As seen with other events in 2017, the transition from response to recovery was not well defined. “There was no clear pivot point for staff to realign priorities and reorganize into a Recovery Operations Center or establish a Recovery Working Group. The lack of a clearly defined transition point created confusion for EOC staff, as some saw a decreased mission while others continued at high rates of activity. As response wound down, staff were not retained to support short-term recovery. Logistics was tasked to support recovery task forces that were not part of the EOC function. This also did not support clear public messaging that recovery is underway or trigger formal demobilization efforts.” Lastly, the County of Sonoma found that their recovery operations lacked direction and leadership. Without a pre-disaster recovery plan, along with partnership challenges at the state, local and federal levels, this “led to delays in developing a recovery management organization.” As a result, the state established regional recovery task forces in coordination with federal agencies and the County was challenged to participate in all due to a lack of staff.10 Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Strategies As discussed and sourced above, events continue to highlight the need for more coordinated pre-disaster recovery planning. The following can all be valuable references in helping communities plan for recovery before a disaster strikes: • Guidelines and templates, such as FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments (2017);11 • FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for State Governments;12 • Guidance from the American Planning Association on Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation.13 In addition, the following planning strategies can support comprehensive pre-disaster recovery planning at the state and local level. Planning as a Process As emergency management planners know, planning is a process — not a product. It is important to remember that in order for pre-disaster recovery plans to be effective, they need to be developed through a collaborative approach, trained and circulated, and routinely exercised. Collaborate and Engage Recovery is a complex problem that involves multiple disciplines and multiple “As emergency management planners know, planning is a process — not a product. It is important to remember that in order for pre-disaster recovery plans to be effective, they need to be developed through a collaborative approach, trained and circulated, and routinely exercised.”

6 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM state agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), volunteer groups and private sector partners. Therefore, pre-disaster recovery planning starts with multidisciplinary engagement and collaboration. As both preparedness and recovery are community-wide responsibilities, the planning process should aim to engage individuals, businesses, community organizations, all levels of government and nonprofit groups. Possible stakeholders include:14 • Emergency management • Community planning • Zoning and building inspection • Finance and administration • Floodplain management • Public works • Education • Community development/ redevelopment agencies • Economic development • Environmental protection • Historic preservation boards or commissions • Health and social services • Americans with Disabilities Act coordinators and disability advocacy organizations • Transportation • Chambers of commerce • Faith-based organizations • Housing non-profits • American Red Cross • Volunteer recruitment groups • Power and utility companies • Trade associations • Realty organizations and homebuilder associations • Insurance boards and commissions Once partners are identified, it is important to determine how these stakeholders will be leveraged in recovery. To best accomplish this, it is helpful to develop a matrix that outlines the Recovery Core Capabilities listed in the National Recovery Framework, to include: Planning; Public Information andWarning; Operational Coordination; Health and Social Services; Economic Recovery; Housing; Infrastructure Systems; and Natural and Cultural Resources. Establish Current Recovery Capabilities There is no need to reinvent the wheel in pre-disaster recovery planning. Predisaster recovery plans are meant to complement comprehensive emergency management plans, hazard mitigation plans, housing and community development planning, and other community-based plans. Therefore, it is important to identify and utilize current FEMA/Laura Guzman Continued on page 8

T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 7 Planning Operational Coordination Public Information andWarning Health and Social Services Economic Recovery Housing Infrastructure Systems Natural and Cultural Resources • How will your community organize, coordinate and communicate major community decisions, actions and investments, during the recovery process? • How will your community ensure community stakeholders’ participation in recovery? • Who will take on the Local Disaster Recovery Manager role? • How will your community link up with regional, state, and federal entities and other appropriate private-sector, nongovernmental and nonprofit partners? • How will your community identify, prioritize and proactively obtain resources to fund and enable recovery actions on behalf of the community — including FEMA recovery grants, other federal grants and donations? • How will your local government ensure adequate public information, communication, inclusiveness and information-sharing in accessible formats throughout the phases of recovery? • How will stakeholders be informed of permitting requirements, opportunities, resources, activities and progress in recovery? • What organizational structures already exist within partner organizations to support individuals and families with health and social services? • How will essential services be maintained or re-established? • Does your community have a disaster recovery or emergency budget? • Does your community have emergency procurement procedures? • What departments will identify and manage the federal disaster recovery grants that can support recovery? Is there a list with pros and cons or when to use? • Are tools in place to track and audit these programs? • Have you identified and worked with major employers in your jurisdiction? • Are you familiar with any local economic and workforce development goals? • What local ordinances, such as zoning, subdivision regulation, building codes and other guidelines are in place that could help or hinder recovery? • How will your jurisdiction support the redevelopment of housing and affordable housing? • Has your community thought through how they would provide housing solutions to the community based on unique hazards? • Does your community have existing relationships with critical infrastructure? • Has your community performed energy assurance planning and therefore considered vulnerabilities to energy infrastructure and cascading impacts to the community? • Have you worked to prioritize restoration based on vulnerabilities? • Are you familiar with local or regional transportation plans or capital improvement projects? • Are their specific regulations or processes at the state or local level to rehabilitate environmentally sensitive areas and/or historic and cultural landmarks? • Does your jurisdiction provide special consideration to historical resources and sites with archaeological significance? GAUGING THE PREPAREDNESS OF A COMMUNITY AND ITS ABILITY TO MANAGE RECOVERY TOPIC SERIES OF QUESTIONS

8 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM and past initiatives that could support the pre-disaster recovery planning process. One strategy — to gauge the preparedness of a community and its ability to manage recovery operations — is to utilize stakeholder groups to answer a series of questions like those outlined in the table on page 7. UtilizeWorking Groups to Establish Operational Organization One of the most reoccurring lessons learned from 2017 and 2018 was the need for a clearly defined organizational structure for recovery. Communities can reinforce organizational principles of recovery in the pre-disaster recovery planning process. By designating those agencies and organizations that are either coordinating, primary or supporting agencies and organizations for critical recovery functions, communities can establish working groups to determine vulnerabilities, resources and capabilities associated with each recovery function. This can support continued planning and preparedness after the document has been written. Working groups should be encouraged to identify potential impacts hazards could have and the unique consequences for the communities they serve. Understanding the impacts of the community can help focus the planning efforts. Both direct and indirect impacts should be assessed, such as: • Direct Impacts – Economic impacts to small and large businesses. – Cultural resources. – Environmental and natural resources. – Infrastructure systems. – Social impacts. – Affordable and accessible housing stock. Continued from 6

T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 9 • Indirect Impacts – Business disruptions based on relocation of workforce, customer base, and supply chain. – Access to essential services such as health care, public transportation, child care and grocery stores. – Impacts to government, essential services and tax base. – Compounding impacts to populations with access and functional needs. Establish a Plan Once working groups are actively engaged, it is time to assemble the plan. As noted in after-action findings, establishing clear leadership in recovery and specific strategies to interface at the local, state and federal levels is essential. Therefore, plan development should begin with a clear understanding of leadership roles and a clearly defined organizational structure for recovery —with a Local Disaster Recovery Manager (for local governments) or State Disaster Recovery Manager (for state-based pre-disaster recovery plans). The Disaster Recovery Manager will need the authority to coordinate recovery stakeholders at the same time emergency managers are coordinating the response. Once the Disaster Recovery Manager is selected, agencies and organizations will need to be assigned, coordinating lead and supporting roles. The American Planning Association provides sample organizational structures as does the NDRF to help communities choose the best approach for their unique capabilities and needs. It is important that strategies ensure effective communication and coordination internal to the organizational structure, as well as with state, local and federal partners. This should be established and articulated in the plan. Processes should also be established to conduct key functions of recovery to include: • Transition from response to recovery. • Damage assessments. • Impact analysis. • Public information and communications. • Disaster case management. • Securing, managing and distributing financial resources. As noted in the lessons learned above, the implementation of these key functions has been challenging, in part because there are many federal programs available during disasters. In fact, 17 federal entities have been identified by GAO (Government Accountability Office) that have responsibilities in leading or coordinating disaster assistance and funding support.15 FEMA/Andrea Booher

10 D I SAS T E R R ECOVE RY TODAY.COM Though FEMA disaster recovery grants are the most well-known, other federal agencies through which grants can come include the Department of Housing, the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Transportation — all of which can support rebuilding, future mitigation and resiliency efforts, and overarching financial recovery. At an April 11, 2018 hearing, former FEMA Administrator Brock Long acknowledged the complexity of the process. “We’ve got to streamline a very fragmented recovery process,” he said. “Recovery funding comes from 17 different federal government agencies and it’s too difficult to understand what you’re entitled to and how to put it to work.”16 Therefore, it is important to understand these programs, related cost-share requirements and how they can best be leveraged in a disaster. Doing so and knowing the processes in a predisaster plan prior to an incident will help communities recover more effectively. Developing Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Tools To best adopt the plan, planning tools should be developed. This includes operational and tactical plans, templated disaster recovery ordinances and preevent contracts. These plans may include specific standard operating procedures for disaster case management and disaster recovery centers, and damage assessment tools and templates. Disaster recovery ordinances and ordinance templates can support a community’s ability to quickly and efficiently allow waivers that would expedite recovery. Same ordinances can be found at www. and include: • Allowance for trailers and recreational vehicles on individual property. • Allowance for storage units on individual properties. • Waiver of building permitting fees for repair and reconstruction. • Waiver for temporary license to use city right-of-way. “It is important that strategies ensure effective communication and coordination internal to the organizational structure, as well as with state, local and federal partners.” FEMA/Steve Zumwalt

T IDALBAS INGROUP.COM 11 • Allowance for volunteer agency trailers. • Allowance for debris clearance and hazard abatement. • Allowance for damage assessment and placarding. • Allowance to establish one-stop service centers for permitting and licensing. The need for pre-event contracts was emphasized after the 2017 hurricane season. In its hurricane season afteraction report, FEMA identified the need to support state, local, tribal and territorial governments in improving capabilities for disaster cost recovery, pre-event contracting and contract enforcement. Pre-event contracts allow for communities to fully comply with Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) prior to a disaster, therefore bringing needed supplies and services to the community more efficiently after a disaster. Conclusion Numerous recent events have underscored the need for pre-disaster recovery planning. This effort is a comprehensive whole-community process which, if done right, takes time and a diverse array of stakeholders. Bringing these stakeholders together prior to a disaster will lead to a more effective and efficient recovery, not only for the jurisdiction, but for its residents as well. There are more than 89,000 communities that make up the nation — each with unique capabilities, vulnerabilities and needs. Community leaders must work together to ensure a plan to support community-based recovery. The most effective way to accomplish this is through pre-disaster recovery planning. “This effort is a comprehensive wholecommunity process which, if done right, takes time and a diverse array of stakeholders.” It is our hope that as communities begin or continue their efforts to plan for recovery, it is done collaboratively — utilizing and expanding upon plans and processes already in place rather than creating new ones — and focusing on the implementation of capabilities and tools to be used in a recovery operation. Through these efforts, communities will be better prepared to respond to — and recover from— disasters that can come their way. FEMA/Steve Zumwalt

CORPORATE OFFICE 126 Business Park Drive Utica, New York 13502 800.382.2468 Outside U.S. (315) 797.3035 FAX: (315) 272.2054 [email protected] Copyright © 2019 Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Tidal Basin and the Tidal Basin logo are registered trademarks of Rising Phoenix Holdings Corporation. Follow Disaster Recovery Today on Facebook & Twitter: DISASTER RECOVERY TODAY® is published as a public service by Tidal Basin. It is provided for general information and is not intended to replace professional insurance, legal or financial advice for specific cases. WEB ADDRESSES PUBLISHER Ronald A. Cuccaro, SPPA EDITOR Sheila E. Salvatore DRT19 4021 Is there a topic you would like to see covered in an upcoming edition of Disaster Recovery Today? You can make topic suggestions, contact the editor, request free subscriptions and browse our back issues all from our website — We look forward to hearing from you. Christina Crue, MS, CEM, MEP Senior Director of Preparedness and Mitigation Tidal Basin THE AUTHOR “It is our hope that as communities begin or continue their efforts to plan for recovery, it is done collaboratively…” ____________________ 1 NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2018). 2 Ibid. NOAA. 3 FEMA Strategic Plan 2018-2022 Helping People. Together. (2018) https://www. bf661/strat_plan.pdf. 4 Ibid. FEMA. 5 Harris County, TX; Hurricane Harvey After-Action Report, Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. https://www. pdf?ver=2018-05-14-144548-187. 6 The Texas General Land Office, Hurricane Harvey: Texas at Risk, http://www.glo. 7 Ibid. The Texas General Land Office. 8 FEMA, A Whole Community Approach to Emergency Management: Principles, Themes, and Pathways for Action December 2011 9 County of Santa Barbara, CA, Thomas Fire and 1/9 Debris Flow After-Action Report and Improvement Plan (2018), 10 County of Sonoma, October 2017 Complex Fires Emergency Operations Center After Action Report & Improvement Plan DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2147560486. 11 Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments (February 2017) assets/documents/129203. 12 Ibid. Federal Emergency Management Agency, 13 American Planning Association Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation (April, 2014) report/9026899/. 14 Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments (February 2017) assets/documents/129203. 15 Government Accountability Office, Federal Disaster Assistance (September 2016), 16 Danny Vinik, “‘People just give up’: Low income hurricane victims slam federal relief programs,” Politico, May 29, 2018, story/2018/05/29/houston-hurricane-harvey-fema-597912.