NOAA Disaster Resilience
NOAA has significant and diverse responsibilities before, during, and after disasters. Those responsibilities and capabilities differ among NOAA’s Line Offices (LOs), and there is not a great deal of understanding among LOs of what each can (or must) provide in terms of assets and expertise.
SECART has been working with NOAA’s Disaster Response Center and offices and partners in the Southeast and Caribbean region to improve the level of understanding and coordination across offices to better position NOAA to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. It is important that NOAA offices can assist each other, and our partners, to maintain critical mission readiness.
SECART held workshops in 2017, 2018 and 2019 which allowed NOAA offices to better understand each others’ capabilities and identify opportunities for improvement in internal communication and coordination. These three workshops offered “table top”exercise-based exploration of roles and responsibilities using a scenario of a hurricane moving up the east coast. The results of these workshops are captured in reports linked below.
In 2020, we had planned a workshop for late March in Charleston, SC to use an earthquake scenario developed by the SC Emergency Management Division to explore roles and lines of communication. This workshop, however, was cancelled because of the Coronavirus.
SECART plans to continue efforts to position NOAA to more effectively identify assets available to a wide range of disaster scenarios that could impact the SECART region, increasing NOAA responsiveness to disasters and improving our ability to quickly partner with and support any other Federal or state agencies leading response efforts.
2020 Workshop - cancelled (COVID)
Following successful workshops (and active hurricane seasons) in 2017 and 2018, NOAA’s Southeast and Caribbean Regional Collaboration Team (SECART) and the NOAA Disaster Preparedness Program convened a workshop 14-16 May 2019 in Charleston, SC to identify opportunities to improve NOAA’s disaster resilience in the region.
This year’s workshop focused on the “recovery” of NOAA offices, partners, and constituents following a disaster. During this workshop, we 1) explored NOAA’s roles and responsibilities throughout the recovery phase of a disaster cycle; 2) determined the best ways we can work together to ensure that NOAA offices and partners have the capacity to recover in the wake of a disaster: and 3) refined the “Guide to NOAA Disaster Resilience in the Southeast and Caribbean” with the intent of completing that resource this year.
On 5-6 June 2018, NOAA staff and partners met at the Duvall County Emergency Operations Center, Jacksonville, FL, to conduct an “After Action Review” of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, including:
- Compare 2017 Exercise Notes Against Actions Taken During These Hurricanes.
- Identify NOAA Best Practices During These Major Hurricanes.
- Identify NOAA Lessons Learned During These Major Hurricanes.
- Recommend New NOAA Major Hurricane Response and/or Recovery Tasks Based on Irma/Maria Experiences.
- Incorporate Best Practices and Lessons Learned into the Resource Directory.
Intended to enhance awareness and understanding of roles, responsibilities, and capabilities of NOAA offices in the region that are, or could be, applied to a disaster situation, SECART hosted the NOAA Emergency Response Posture Workshop in Charleston 13-15 June 2017. Twenty-six participants, representing all NOAA Line Offices, took part in the three-day workshop. Led by NOAA’s Disaster Response Center, the workshop included three training sessions (Environmental Response Management Application, Web Emergency Operations Center, and NOAA Response Asset Directory), overviews of office capabilities (related to planning, response and recovery), and discussions related to a tabletop exercise of a simulated hurricane striking the southeast. Participants valued the enhanced awareness and new relationships, agreed to meet again in FY18, and agreed to develop a resource directory for the region.