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Thread: Post-disaster continuity of planning operations

  1. #1
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    Post-disaster continuity of planning operations

    Even as a planner this is kind of bizarre to me, to say nothing of making my work seem irrelevant.
    Our emergency management agency is developing a Continuity of Government study/plan for all offices and functions. It starts with a survey asking what are your department's essential functions, key personnel, vital records systems equipment -- in essence what do you need to help pitch in in case of natural or man made disaster. I'm thinking maybe I can help set up tents or haul water. Planning and Zoning can wait.
    These plans must be in preparation all over the country. Anyone care to weigh in on what your office does that might be immediately essential in case the worst happens?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Quote Originally posted by adaptor
    These plans must be in preparation all over the country.
    Q. - Is this a Homeland Security requirement ?
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    ...planning... the tent refugee camps for the people fleeing the disaster area.

    Seriously though, I've often wondered why there are no Planners Without Borders. Surely refugee camps of 100,000 people in 3rd world countries could benefit from some help in layout, design, et al.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    During an operation, planners are key personnel. As others have mentioned, they can help to set up refugee facilities. The city's GIS may be a vital tool in assessing damage and threats. Planners' knowledge of the community can be an asset to emergency responders and repair crews.

    After an emergency planners should expect heavy demands on their time to expedite rebuilding. Plan reviews and building inspections will increase drmatically. From a long-range perspective, planners should have a role in assessing changes to land use, transportation networks, etc. to reduce the potential for damage in future crises.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian MitchBaby's avatar
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    planner's without borders

    Hey,

    I came across this a few days ago - for your information there is a Planner's Without Borders, though it seems to be connected with Architects without Borders. I'm a local member of Architects for Humanity and they encourage planners to come on board. I guess planners are looked at, at least internationally, as being less valuable than architects, but I think it'll change with time.

    Here's the link

    http://www.awb.iohome.net/cgi-bin/Topic.pl?topic=55

    http://www.awb.iohome.net/
    Last edited by MitchBaby; 01 Feb 2005 at 1:12 PM.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
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    A Town Manager at a previous employer had all his senior staff put together binders that listed vital information, including:
    • Mission of the department, including applicable local and state enabling statutes
    • Essential functions and processes of the department, laid out in excrutiating detail.
    • Other random but vital institutional memory history stuff, such as "JW, the director from 1963-72 kept a file on [insert important topic here]. We now keep those files in [insert random location here]."

    He called the resulting shelf full of binders his "Stop a Bus" resource center - as in if someone dies unexpectedly, the institutional history is not entirely lost and the department can hopefully continue to carry out its functions with some normalcy.

    It's actually a really good exercise.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    During an operation, planners are key personnel. As others have mentioned, they can help to set up refugee facilities. The city's GIS may be a vital tool in assessing damage and threats. Planners' knowledge of the community can be an asset to emergency responders and repair crews.

    After an emergency planners should expect heavy demands on their time to expedite rebuilding. Plan reviews and building inspections will increase drmatically. From a long-range perspective, planners should have a role in assessing changes to land use, transportation networks, etc. to reduce the potential for damage in future crises.
    I agree in theory with all this. If I survive the great Atlantic tsunami I'd expect to be involved in land use and rebuilding. We seem to be at greater risk from natural disasters than anything. This particular exercise deals with the first 12 hours to 30 days after a disaster. Our GIS was built as part of a regional 911 system and so has other operators likely to be essential in the short term.

    I've found links on the topic to consulting services and homeland security groups, but no clues how to establish a line of succession for personnell involved in essential functions of the Planning Department. I feel like we should have a war room with a big board, as in Dr Strangelove.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian IlliniPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    During an operation, planners are key personnel.
    That which Cardinal stated says it all. Communities that I have worked for tend to rely solely on the Building or Engineering Departments for answers. Is this a perceived notion that Planners just make drawings, plans and reports, but don't do anything "concrete"?
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  9. #9
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    Continuity of Operations Planning

    Really the key is to think of what your agency needs to do to keep providing the KEY services that you provide to your customers. Here is a site that Florida uses to help both State and Counties develop their COOP plans.

    http://floridadisaster.org/internet_library.htm

    Let me know if there is any specific questions I can help you with!

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