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Preparation and Planning: Local Government

Preparation & Planning: Local Government

Local government jurisdictions include cities, towns, counties, special districts, parishes, and other sub-State political subdivisions such as a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). If your community is part of a MPO, it is especially important to involve this organization in all phases of transportation emergency management because it is the primary entity responsible for all transportation planning in the region.

Most response and recovery actions begin and are managed at the local level, so your involvement in the recovery process is critical. Since it is your community at stake, remember that you are in charge from start to finish. As a leading government official, it will be crucial to coordinate, organize, and integrate the capabilities and resources of your own community with that of other jurisdictions, the private sector, and possibly higher levels of government. Be aware that when a disaster is too devastating for your community to handle alone, your State has a variety of resources that may be used to help you with local transportation recovery efforts. The State can also provide strategic guidance on recovery issues if requested. To access these resources, your local emergency manager would need to make requests for assistance through the SCO regarding transportation recovery issues. The State can also involve the Federal government as necessary.

Create Extensive Contacts List

Develop an extensive list of contacts. Know how to contact:

• Local and State EOCs;

• Local, regional, or State Transportation Management Centers (TMCs); and

• Regional Councils of Government (COGs) or Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs).

• Regional Emergency Transportation Coordinating Officials (RETCO) and Regional Emergency Transportation Representative (RETREP).

Build Relationships

It is important that you continue developing and expanding collaboration and information-sharing efforts with other local, tribal, State, and Federal government officials, as well as transportation industry stakeholders, to promote situational awareness, manage recovery actions, and build resiliency into the transportation network. You may consider developing these relationships in a variety of ways, including creating and participating in advisory committees and task forces for transportation recovery. Additionally, you will want to include recovery segments in an established training and exercise program.

Get to Know Lead Decision Makers

Learn who controls and has decision-making authority for all transportation systems and infrastructure within the boundaries of interest. Given the complexity of any transportation network and the large percentage of assets owned privately, cataloguing the people/companies/ agencies that have decision-making authority in a given area can be difficult. As a list of decision-making authorities develops, be sure to determine points-of-contact for emergency outreach following an incident.

Understand Damage Assessment Responsibilities

Learn who is responsible for damage assessments of the transportation infrastructure. One of the earliest challenges to recovery is understanding the extent of damage and what is required for repair. Multiple organizations—from State and local DOTs to Federal regulatory agencies—are likely to be involved in this damage assessment, and each may have their own methodology and time-frame requirements. Familiarizing yourself with this process will give you a head start on the recovery process.

Plan for Long-term Debris Removal

Develop a plan for long-term debris removal. Though typically considered an emergency response activity, long-term debris removal may take many months and inhibit accurate damage assessments. Subsequently, not being able to quickly remove large amounts of debris can significantly hinder the recovery process. Therefore, as with damage assessments, planning for debris removal will give you a head start on the recovery process.

Know Your Vulnerabilities

Evaluate and map the current vulnerabilities of your transportation network to help predict aspects that will need recovery if and when an incident occurs:

• Work with your Protective Security Advisor (PSA) to determine if parts of your transportation network are considered a Tier 1 or Tier 2 asset per the National CIKR Prioritization Program. This program identifies those assets and systems that are nationally significant and initiates steps to ensure their protection. Your PSA is your locally assigned DHS critical infrastructure security specialist who serves as a communication link between DHS and your local officials and private-sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure.

Updated: Monday, March 5, 2012