Emergency Management’s view of 211’s role in disasters and how to establish or improve your relationship with them
Who the Emergency Mangers (EMs) are How EMs plan and prepare for disasters Their view of you and how you fit in the big picture Disaster Services you can provide How to promote those services Conclusion: Do you really want to do this? Topics Covered
15 years with FEMA in the Response and Recovery Division with majority of time on the Recovery side of disasters Responded to over 30 Presidentially Declared Disasters throughout the U.S. and Pacific Territories From quick response to long term recovery My background and it’s relevance to this workshop
Coordinated disaster efforts with: Nonprofits, faith based organizations Public agencies, city/county/state/federal emergency management agencies Congressional offices, Foreign governments My background and it’s relevance to this workshop
5 years with 211 Los Angeles as Emergency Services Coordinator Coordinate with city, county, state EMs, and 211s Participating in exercises, trainings etc. as 211 representative. Writing MOUs, EOPs, Business Plans Design and conduct emergency drills, exercises, staff trainings My background and it’s relevance to this workshop
Response versus Recovery A 211’s role in Response A 211’s role in Recovery Response or Recovery
Response involves the immediate actions to rescue those injured, suppress fires, secure and police the disaster area and to begin the process of restoring order. Recovery goes beyond the provision of immediate relief to assist disaster victims to rebuild their homes, lives and services. Response or Recovery
Number one thing to remember is Fire, Police, Military Majority of EM come from those disciplines If not the Director, the head decision makers and gatekeepers for funding and information distribution are from these. Rural and less populated EM department may be completely run by Fire or Police Who are the Emergency Mangers?
Fire, Police, Military Their job is to put out fires, save lives, protect the citizens, provide medical care. This what they do and they are good at it Once that’s done, its time to move to the next emergency Who are the Emergency Mangers?
First responders respond, they don’t want to stay around Response is the time of heroes Recovery and dealing with personal issues and struggles are not what they signed up for This is where 211s and nonprofits step in to assist Who are the Emergency Mangers?
Your EMs may not have direct experience with large scale disasters But they are the ones writing emergency plans and choosing partners Even fewer have a broad base of experience in dealing with organizations outside their specific field (Nonprofits, 211s etc.) Who are the Emergency Mangers?
Urban and higher populations may have EMs from public sector not from first responders Each 211 may experience completely different EM departments and cultures based on who provides leadership, recent disaster events, and nonprofit experiences. Who are the Emergency Mangers?
It’s all about the Response. Advances made towards Recovery, but on small scale Recovery is complicated and can be managed by the non profits. Let Red Cross handle it Response is simple. One person = One rescue Recovery is complicated. One person = 11 Issues How EMs plan and prepare for disasters
EM past experience with nonprofits may have been negative Nonprofits can be perceived as disorganized and poorly managed Nonprofits are constantly asking for things (supplies, personnel help, promotion, and of course money). EMs can’t control what the nonprofits do or say, they are outside the EM loop. Their view of you and how you fit in the big picture
All it takes is one bad experience with a nonprofit during a disaster to taint their view of all. EMs do not routinely work with nonprofits There are some disorganized and unproductive nonprofits involved in a disaster that cause more of a headache than help. Their view of you and how you fit in the big picture
211s are an option. A tool they can choose not to use. They must use fire, police etc. Relationship will always be tenuous and fragile. Culture based on confidential information and “not to be distributed to public” facts. If you break that trust once, they will have a hard time trusting you again One bad phone call can end it all Their view of you and how you fit in the big picture
FEMA Emergency Management Institute IS-288 The Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management Last updated in 1999 (14 years). Written before 9/11, before Hurricane Katrina, before 211s became widely established... Their view of you and how you fit in the big picture
211 Strengths in a Disaster 211s caller data can be used to assist in making resource and logistical decisions. Where to concentrate our limited resources? 211s have the flexibility to change the questions requested by the county on a daily basis o Should we start a blue tarp program? (Ask callers if they have leaking roofs). Mosquito outbreak? Black mold and should DPH issue warnings? Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Services Enhance Situational Awareness Gather information for Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDA) Rumor Control Work with Department of Health during a health crisis. Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Enhance situational awareness by providing a picture of which areas need assistance. They’ll say: “We have everything under control. We’ll have our boots on the ground and know what’s happening.” They don’t realize you can tell them what areas need water, areas where homes are unlivable, have sewage leaks, etc. Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Gathering damage information for PDA PDAs are used to help determine if disaster receives a Presidential Declaration Residents can call 211 and provide damage information Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Gathering damage information for PDA They’ll say: “They can’t trust your input, it’s unverified, and they will be gathering the info from the field anyway.” No County/State has enough fire or police to gather damage info and report it too. Most EM haven’t been under the gun to meet the Declaration threshold Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Rumor control You can track down source so EM can stop it EM may not understand how important it is due to lack of experience Benefits: o Report it before it gets wide attention or becomes political o EMs don’t need to divert resources to track it down or to deal with public’s reaction Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Health Emergency Provide Department of Health information about the disease 211 can ask questions for the Department of Health to help in their decision making (how many sick in household, any children under 2 or over 60, elderly, are you going to go to an Emergency Room) Services you can provide beyond Disaster Information
Have an agreement or request to provide disaster information to the public in place before or immediately following event Placement on EM’s incident report distribution/ EOC alerts/Duty Officer reports Do not rely on Press Releases Establish your disaster database ahead of time Necessities for Providing Disaster Information
You have to know what they’ll need before they know. Compile your list of services you could provide and have the logistics/protocols already planned out so you are ready to go when you offer and they accept. How to promote those services
Be persistent. Find the person who understands what you can offer and can slowly bring you into the fold How to promote those services
Attend every disaster conference, training, exercise, workshop, or planning meeting. It may seem like a lot of staff time devoted to this, but it actually won’t be You should always have the same person attend How to promote those services
Sit for hours or all day and wait for your one moment Listen for communication gaps or how to reach the underserved groups Jump in and explain your services They can click that item off the list The attendees will listen and may hear for the first time how you can help How to promote those services
If your VOAD works with EM, use that as your inroad. Show them what you can do through the VOAD. Make sure your VOAD is viewed positively by EM How to promote those services
Work with police and fire so they can offer 211 service to fire victims etc. Police and Fire appreciate you filling that gap and will speak highly of you in meetings or provide positive input during funding talks. How to promote those services
Funding Types Reimbursement (FEMA Declaration) Equipment/Materials for future disasters (Grants) Training (Grants) Funding
Once you work with them, strike when the irons hot and ask for everything you need. They will now understand: o They didn’t have to staff up a call center o Your PDA info helped get the Declaration o You are professional o You can be trusted with confidential information Funding
Attend planning or emergency management drills, exercises for experience Take the online classes from Emergency Management Institute (EMI) Independent Study Program o IS-100.b, Introduction to Incident Command System o IS-700.a, National Incident Management System (NIMS) o IS-800.b, National Response Framework How to prepare for your meeting with Emergency Managers
Always have a wish list of the emergency items you need now or in the future (Laptops, T-1s, Internet capacity, workstations, collocation set up) You never know when the EM may have additional funds available or you fit within a category that has additional funding How to prepare for your meeting with Emergency Managers
Always approach with what you can do to help them. How you save them money. No phone staff, PDA assessment for declarations, Rumor control) Ask for very little in return (Direct information, reimbursement funding) Do not ask for money at the start. Possible reimbursement if they receive reimbursement. No money out of their pocket. How to approach Emergency Managers
Negatives: Commitment of resources, staff, time and funding. Operating under the assumption you’ll be reimbursed, but you may not be. Conclusion: Do you really want to do this?
Positives: Reimbursement with a declaration Future funding once they see the results Other departments realize the benefits of working with you and offer funding (Public Health, etc.) Provides experience and familiarity with volunteers and volunteer agencies you may use for other non-disaster activities Conclusion: Do you really want to do this?
Doug Quisenberry 211 Los Angeles County 626-710-3725 Dquisenberry@211la.org Contact