A survey question asked if the team could follow up with an interview. Two hundred survey respondents agreed. Individual emails were sent to schedule one-hour interviews. A team of two conducted the interviews, took notes, recorded the interviews and sent a link for photos and documents.
Between May 1 and August 15, 2011 seventy interviews were completed. The responders came from a variety of industries including municipal, utility, and private organizations, and small and large cities.
The interviews provided an opportunity to understand the issues. What topic areas were of most concern? What did the industry want in a document? What were their recommendations for others in the industry? Where should efforts be focused?
Of particular concern was the growing number of municipalities and cities without forestry departments or certified arborists. Many communities do not have up-to-date inventories, contracts or mutual aid agreements in place, and urban forestry is not part of ICS. The most interesting observation was the fate of small communities. As one contractor stated, “They are at the bottom of the barrel in terms of response.”
Broad recommendations from the interviews:
Trees are the common resource among everyone and can impact your life.
See the big picture.
Work, plan and think safety.
Know what to expect when a big storm hits.
Focus on exactly what you need to have in place and from whom.
The more you train and plan for disasters the less you bleed in battle.
Utilize the expertise of the industry, and don’t reinvent the wheel.
Know how to inform the public about the storm in the urban forest.
Understand your trees. Know the scope of what you are dealing with.
Work more effectively and efficiently in changing unpredictable circumstances.
Urban forestry emergency managers need to be at the table when decisions are being made about the management, selection, planting and storm preparedness for trees in their community.
Without the interviews a complete picture of storm readiness would not have been understood. Discussions were essential to the creation of the guide.
Analyzing the comments and recommendations, identifying topics in terms of relative importance and the number of times topics were discussed or recommended provided the basis for the selection of the guide components.
The guide components include:
Our industry experts suggested the guide can be the basis and foundation for an Urban Forestry Storm Response BMP.
The wealth of information and quotes extrapolated from the interviews provided data that is used throughout the guide.