Severe Weather Impact on Municipalities
Lack of preparation and response can have grave consequences for local residents, as was shown in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and as recently as 2014 when minimal amounts of snow and ice paralyzed the greater Atlanta area. Municipalities must also have adequate insurance coverage and other financial resources to recover quickly after a natural catastrophe and to protect residents from tax increases to pay for damage and extra expenses.
Severe weather “best practices” for municipalities include**:
- Appoint and Emergency Management Coordinator who is able to provide emergency management leadership in the community.
- Establish a broad-based Local Emergency Planning Committee that meets regularly to review emergency plans and improve response capabilities.
- Conduct a broad evaluation of local vulnerabilities, encompassing hazards in adjacent jurisdictions, flood risks and vulnerabilities of public facilities.
- Update the municipal emergency operations plan once per year, disseminate the contents to key staff and coordinate with neighboring jurisdictions.
- Implement a standardized Incident Command System.
- Establish and equip a functional Emergency Operations Center.
- Conduct at least one drill or exercise per year.
- Ensure that all emergency responders are properly certified.
- Develop the means to issue a town-wide alert in a timely fashion.
- Finance Emergency Management
- Integrate emergency planning with financial planning.
- Coordinate and plan with other municipalities.
- Take advantage of state and national grant-in-aid programs.