Develop and rehearse an emergency response plan for managing catastrophes with minimum panic, disruption and loss.
Experience nationwide with responding to catastrophic events
New York City; New York; United States; Michigan; United States; Ohio; United States; Washington; District of Columbia; United States; Baltimore; Maryland; United States; Northridge; California; United States
- Create an emergency response plan to manage catastrophic events. Emergency planning provides agencies with many advantages during a crisis, for example:
- Predetermined roles
- Clear and understandable chains of command
- Availability and readiness of appropriate supplies
- Advance identification and rectification of weaknesses in the emergency response.
- Rehearse the emergency response plan to manage catastrophe with a minimum of panic, disruption and loss. After the development of plans and procedures, it is crucial for an agency to practice. The benefits of having prepared in advance will dramatically increase the chances that an emergency can be managed with minimum panic, disruption, and loss. Emergency response plans should be drilled and rehearsed. Several agency representatives interviewed emphasized the importance of drilling staff members in the details of emergency response plans and of providing training and encouragement for emergency response planning. On September 11, 2001, due to prior training, NYC Transit was able to begin emergency operations of its subway system within one minute of the attack on the World Trade Center. Emergencies can be used as learning tools, allowing agencies to pinpoint their vulnerabilities and better plan for future situations.
- Use experience from previous catastrophes into design, operations, and management. The need to learn from previous events and to incorporate that learning into an agency's response plans cannot be overemphasized. For example, learning from an earthquake in 1989, Caltrans management began a statewide retrofit program for bridges judged to be at risk to damage from an earthquake; not one of the 122 bridges that had been retrofitted in Los Angeles County as a result of the program sustained severe damage during the Northridge earthquake in 1994.
- Ensure that agency staff members know their responsibilities in an emergency. It is vital that emergency response plans make it possible for agency staff members to know their responsibilities in an emergency and to easily and quickly step into their assigned roles, with minimum confusion and wasted time. City and County of Los Angeles managers were able to activate the regional Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and begin emergency response procedures within minutes of the Northridge earthquake. This EOC was first established in response to the events associated with the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as state and local officials realized that they needed a regional operations center to handle large-scale events that required the coordination among emergency response and other related agencies, such as transportation.
- Continually update the emergency response plans and their corresponding preparations. To be most effective, emergency response plans and their corresponding preparations should be continually updated. Following the 2003 blackout, managers at the Ohio DOT reviewed the performance of its emergency planning efforts, allowing them to evaluate and improve their emergency response plans for the future. Emergency planning should be done for the needs of equipment, as well as for the needs of people. In advance of the 2003 blackout, the Ohio Turnpike had put extensive thought and effort into planning for the needs of its computer equipment in case of emergency. A backup generator capable of powering the main data center of the Turnpike for 10 hours had been installed, including appropriate cooling and ventilation equipment, in order to allow the Turnpike's main network to run without interruption during the period of the blackout.
Author: Allan J. DeBlasio et al
Published By: U.S. Department of Transportation
Source Date: May 2004
EDL Number: 14024URL: http://ntl.bts.gov/lib//jpodocs/repts_te//14024.htm
Average User Rating