Why Plan for Storm Response
–Andrew Stenbeck, WA DNR, WA
The purpose of planning is to mitigate, respond, and recover from an emergency or natural disaster in a timely manner. Planning establishes protocols.
We know that planning in advance goes a long way toward minimizing the impacts of natural disasters on the urban forest. But that is only part of the process. A plan for the urban forest must be user-friendly and based directly on feedback from the industry.
- The plan should be focused and reflect the capabilities of an organization to implement.
- A strong plan that addresses a specific situation (e.g. storm) is better than a weak plan that attempts to address many situations.
- The plan must be readily accessed, exercised and/or tested periodically.
- A defined chain of command must be clear across agencies with respect to authority, decision-making and emergency resources and funding.
- The plan should be updated regularly.
–James Maloney, National Grid, NY
1. Overview of the planning process:
- Define the compelling reasons for planning.
- Form a planning team, have a core group of people that manage activities. Be sure members of this group are empowered to make decisions.
- Define the outcomes and goals and objectives.
- Determine who should be part of the process.
- Define roles including leadership.
- Identify resources needed to plan.
- Understand legal implications if any.
- Identify gaps and exposures.
- Identify resources, for example, experienced, on-the-ground professionals.
- Understand stakeholder issues.
2. Contracts and Mutual Aid Agreements: (See Chapters on Contracts and Mutual Aid Agreements)
- Ensure that contracts and/or mutual aid agreements with other cities include urban forestry.
- Maintain a current listing of tree services companies with phone numbers and email contact information that could help in a storm event.
3. Contingency Planning:
- Plan for all contingencies from a temporary or short- term disruption to a total communications failure.
- Plan for everyday functions to fail including voice and data.
- Consider the business impact of inoperable communications.
- Prioritize facility communications. Determine order of restoration.
- Talk to communications vendors about emergency response capabilities. Establish procedures for restoring services.
- Determine needs for backup communications for each business function.
4. Create Reporting Templates:
- Tracking/reporting of progress and actions.
- Shift changes.
- Footprint of the storm, how it moved, what worked, and what could have been done better.
- Know what resources are available and your responsibilities.
- Inventory your trees and other assets.
- Develop a process to track the costs to maintain your assets.
- Develop a process to ensure resources are available during an event including: food, housing, laundry, gas for vehicles, power, etc.
The more you understand how things work, the better you are at understanding what your role is and how your department works within the city, and how the city interfaces with other cities and the state.
–Alan Haywood, City Arborist, Issaquah, WA
6. Storms: (see Chapter on Vulnerability Assessment)
- Understand storms that impact your area. Talk with the emergency management department or other departments that can provide additional information about storm events. Make the information relevant to your needs.
- Understand how emergency management departments function and/or could help in a storm event.
- Train to respond quickly to a storm (See chapter on training).
8. Reestablish normalcy
- Establish a process for reestablishing normalcy/ replanting trees lost.
- Look for redundancies.
- Develop format for after-action reports.
Bienemann, D., City of Bowling Green, OH. (2011, June 1). Storm response interview.
Cieslewicz, CN Utility Consulting, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Dockter, D., City of Palo Alto, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Dodge, W., Lewis Tree Service Inc., MA. (2011, July 20). Storm response interview.
Eckert, K., Arbor Global, HI. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (November 2010) Developing and maintaining emergency operations plans. Comprehensive preparedness guide (CPG) 101. Retrieved on July 8, 2012 from http://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/divisions/npd/CPG_101_V2.pdf
Haywood, A., City of Issaquah Parks and Recreation, WA. (2011, July 11). Storm response interview.
Heriford, B., Davey Tree Surgery Company, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Lynn, D., Frankston City, Melbourne, Australia. (2011, June 11). Storm response interview.
Macias, S., USDA Forest Service, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Maloney, J., National Grid, NY. (2011, May 5). Storm response interview.
Mann, G., Mann Made Resources, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Mead, M., City of Seattle, WA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
McCabe, J., Davey Resource Group, CA. (2012, May 3) Expert meeting.
Munn, T., City of Hudson, OH. (2011, June 9). Storm response interview.
Orlando, C., Oregon Division of Forestry, OR. (2011, June 9, and 2012, August 2). Storm response interview.
Orr, J., Asplundh, PA. (2011, June 23). Storm response interview.
Stenbeck, A., Washington DNR, WA. (2011, June 8). Storm response interview.