Long-Term Community Recovery Planning Guidance

Preparedness planning is a large part of the foundation of emergency management. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Preparedness Report summarizes the building, sustaining, and delivering of the 31 core capabilities outlined in the National Preparedness Goal across all five mission areas identified in Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8): prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. In this format, FEMA provides a welcome opportunity to reflect on the progress that whole-community partners – including all levels of government, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, communities, and individuals – have made in strengthening U.S. preparedness for all hazards, all risks, all stakeholders, on an interagency, interdisciplinary, and intergovernmental basis.

Interagency Operational Plans & Tools

On 30 July 2014, FEMA released three of five Federal Interagency Operational Plans, which describe how the federal government aligns resources and delivers core capabilities to reach the shared overall National Preparedness Goal, for the mitigation, response, and recovery preparedness mission areas for all federal departments and agencies.

FEMA released the Resource Typing Library Tool and the Incident Resource Inventory System 5.0. Both tools are no cost, user-friendly, and designed to assist communities in inventorying resources, a key part of community planning. As a first step in community recovery planning, it is crucial to discover the greatest risks and hazards. These federal frameworks supplement the updated Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 201 and the Threat and Hazardentification and Risk Assessment tool. The second edition of the Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 201 provides communities additional guidance for conducting a Threat and Hazardentification and Risk Assessment. Bothentify capability targets and resource requirements necessary to address anticipated and unanticipated risks.

The five national planning frameworks outline how the whole community can work together to achieve national preparedness, through prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery preparedness mission areas. In an effort to provide a flexible structure to enable disaster recovery managers to operate in a unified and collaborative manner, the recovery framework focuses on how best to restore, redevelop, and revitalize the health, social, economic, natural, and environmental fabric of the community and build a more resilient nation.

National Framework & Support Functions

Called the National Disaster Recovery Framework, it is consistent with the vision set forth in PPD-8, National Preparedness, directing FEMA to work with interagency partners to publish a recovery framework. For the first time in the United States, the National Disaster Recovery Framework defined:

  • Core recovery principles;

  • Roles and responsibilities of recovery coordinators and other stakeholders;

  • coordinating structure that facilitates communication and collaboration among all stakeholders, guidance for pre- and post-disaster recovery planning; and

  • The overall process by which communities can capitalize on opportunities to rebuild stronger, smarter, and safer.

The National Disaster Recovery Framework introduced six new recovery support functions, modeled along the traditional lines of the emergency support functions do for the response framework, providing a structure to facilitate problem solving, improve access to resources, and foster coordination among state and federal agencies, nongovernmental partners, and other stakeholders. Each recovery support function has coordinating and primary federal agencies and supporting organizations that operate together with local, state, and tribal government officials, nongovernmental organizations, and private sector partners.

The National Disaster Recovery Framework presents three positions that provide focal points for incorporating recovery considerations into the decision-making process and monitoring the need for adjustments in assistance where necessary and feasible throughout the recovery process. These positions are the federal disaster recovery coordinator, state or tribal disaster recovery coordinators, and local disaster recovery managers.

Toolboxes & Social Media

Building on this abundance of overall recovery guidance, the long-term community recovery process has been delineated in an empowering approach. FEMA has provided four key long-term, community recovery planning toolbox elements:

  • Communications Mapping Tool;

  • Decision-Making Tool;

  • Project Development Guide; and

  • Resource Guide.

Many states have successfully used these toolboxes and FEMA Region 7, as an example, has published the resource guides their states – Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri – have developed to build their long-term community planning. All are available on the FEMA website. A local government best practice is Greensburg, Kansas. For a copy of this model long-term community recovery plan, implemented after a devastating tornado practically destroyed its city, go to the City of Greensburg’s website.

Social media can play an important communications tool in the process. Communities also have used Facebook to disseminate their recovery messages. For example, Hudson County’s Long-Term Recovery Committee page includes plans, comments, public input, and ongoing information, but is still working on its county recovery planning for Hurricane Sandy more than two years after the storm.

Kay Goss
Kay C. Goss

Kay Goss has been the president of World Disaster Management since 2012. She is the former senior assistant to two state governors, coordinating fire service, emergency management, emergency medical services, public safety, and law enforcement for 12 years. She then served as the Associate Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director for National Preparedness, Training, Higher Education, Exercises, and International Partnerships (presidential appointee, U.S. Senate confirmed unanimously). She was a private sector government contractor for 12 years at the Texas firm Electronic Data Systems as a senior emergency manager and homeland security advisor and SRA International’s director of emergency management services. She is a senior fellow at the National Academy for Public Administration and serves as a nonprofit leader on the Board of Advisors for DRONERESPONDERS International and for the Institute for Diversity and Inclusion in Emergency Management. She has also been a graduate professor of Emergency Management at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas for 16 years, İstanbul Technical University for 12 years, the MPA Programs Metropolitan College of New York for five years, and George Mason University. She has been a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) for 25 years and a Featured International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) CEM Mentor for five years, and chair of the Training and Education Committee for six years, 2004-2010.



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