+Cov_Seal.jpgTOWN OF COVENTRY EMAemalogo.jpg

AFTER ACTION REPORT

TROPICAL STORM IRENE

AUGUST 28, 2011

 

 

Prepared by:

Chief Bryan Volpe

EMA Director

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

CONTENTS

 

Contents………………………………………………………………….. 1

 

Executive Summary……………………………………………………… 2

 

Section 1: Response Planning……………………………………………. 5

 

Section 2: Actual Response………………………………………………. 8

 

Section 3: Analysis of Capabilities………………………………………. 13

 

Section 4: Conclusion……………………………………………………. 18

 

Appendix A: Improvement Plan…………………………………………. 21

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents                                        2

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Coventry EMA staff began tracking the path of Hurricane Irene beginning on Sunday, August 21st as the storm approached the Bahama Islands. National Hurricane Center models indicated that Hurricane Irene was moving in a WNW direction with sustained winds in the vicinity of 115 mph. By Wednesday, August 24th one of the projected paths (see below) brought this storm directly up the Eastern coast of the U.S. with a projected impact to Rhode Island some time on late Sunday the 28th into Monday, the 29th of August. The storm, already a Category II hurricane, was expected to maintain at least Category I strength upon reaching Southern New England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executive Summary                          3

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

In response to the storm and to bolster readiness, Rhode Island EMA (RIEMA) began a series of informational conference calls beginning on August 23rd. Members of the Coventry EMA were invited to attend the conference calls at the Town Hall Annex where preliminary action plans would be discussed.

From the information received during these conference calls it was clearly evident that Hurricane Irene would impact Rhode Island with the possibility of damaging hurricane force winds and several inches of rain. While the strength of the storm remained unclear, weather reports and RIEMA intelligence dictated that we prepare for a Category I hurricane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Executive Summary                          4

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

SECTION I: RESPONSE PLANNING

 

A Coventry EMA organizational meeting consisting of members of all affected Town agencies was scheduled for Thursday, August 25th at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Hall Annex. The following agencies were represented.

 

-         Central Coventry Fire Dept.

-         Hopkins Hill Fire Dept.

-         Anthony Fire Dept.

-         Western Coventry Fire Dept.

-         Coventry Police Dept.

-         Department of Public Works

-         Human Services

-         Coventry Housing Authority

-         Coventry School Dept. and Physical Plant

-         MIS

-         Coventry Parks and Recreation Dept.

-         Elected Town Officials to include Town Council President, Gary Cote and Town Manager Thomas Hoover.

 

During the organizational meeting personnel designated to run the Coventry Emergency Operations Center established an action plan containing objectives to address the following areas of concern.

 

-         Medical care for those with special needs, i.e. (dialysis patients and those requiring specific medical needs that would be impacted by the loss of power.

-         Potential of flooding and regulation of pond levels.

-         Residents of local mobile home parks and campgrounds that would be in jeopardy in the event of high sustained winds. Shelter needs.

-         Issues surrounding the response of emergency vehicles during the event including the clearing of storm debris from roadways and safe operation (high wind speed prohibition).

 

 

Section I: Response Planning               5

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

-         Loss of communications and power to vital infrastructure.

-         Dissemination of vital information to Coventry Citizens.

 

In response to the issues identified it was determined that a mandatory evacuation of all mobile home parks and camp grounds would be conducted.

 

This order was disseminated through all media outlets and was followed up by notifications made by Fire and Police personnel. Evacuees were directed to respond to the Coventry High School Shelter location which was directed by Ms. Patricia Shurtleff of the Town of Coventry Dept. of Human Services and manned by members of her staff, Fire and Police personnel and CERT Team volunteers. The order was further backed by a Declaration of Emergency for the Town of Coventry which was signed by Council President Cote on August 26th at 1310hrs. Ms. Shurtleff and her staff coordinated with the Red Cross to open our High School shelter and designate it as a “regional shelter.” It was determined that while our shelter would require no personnel from the Red Cross, we were in need of cots. This appropriation was attempted prior to the opening of the shelter but was unsuccessful.

 

Citizens under evacuation orders were advised that the High School shelter would open at 12:00 noon on Saturday, August 27th. The shelter was approved by the Red Cross but would not accommodate pets. The Coventry Animal Shelter would be made available on a first come first serve basis.

 

Planning was set in motion to utilize the Special Needs Registry provided by the Department of Health to identify and provide assistance to those with acute and minor medical needs. Arrangements were made with the Coventry Health Center to house two special needs patients that would eventually be evacuated from local mobile home parks. Fire personnel also facilitated the coordination of transportation and dialysis for those patients in need.

 

 

 

Section I: Response Planning               6

 After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

To maintain movement of emergency vehicles throughout the storm a series of strike teams consisting of Fire, Police and DPW personnel were formed. These teams were tasked with responding to storm related calls for service and clearing the roads of debris. Each team was assigned to various fire stations throughout town. The teams would be supplied with chain saws and a plow truck to facilitate safe travel. Department of Public Works Superintendent, Dennis Smith, directed this action which supervised by Foreman, Charles Smith.

 

Due to the potential of flooding, floodgates were open in advance of the storm at Tiogue Lake and Johnson’s Pond. Water levels were lowered significantly. This action was not ordered by Town officials.

 

** The water levels were monitored up to the beginning of the storm when it was determined that no flooding was imminent. Due to the low water levels existing calls were made to Mr. Joel Westerman and Mr. Jeff Hackanson to close the floodgates. Mr. Hackanson did respond to the request immediately while Mr. Westerman refused to cooperate.**

 

The Coventry EMA Staff determined that the EOC would be opened at a Level II status (partial) beginning on August 26th from 0800 – 2000hrs to monitor the storm’s progress and finalize preparations. Level III (full activation) status would begin at 0800 hrs on August 27th. The Level III activation would follow a 12 hour operational period.

 

A safety plan for the event was formulated by Mark Robitaille of Coventry Department of Public Works which provided direction to those responding during the event as well as the public. The safety plan was placed on the Town of Coventry website. The safety plan and accompanying press release cautioned the public that at the height of the storm, emergency responders may not be able to respond to calls for service.

 

 

 

 

 

Section I: Response Planning               7

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

This directive was well planned and a lively discussion concerning safe operation of emergency vehicles ensued. The end result was the determination that emergency vehicle operation would cease once wind speeds reached a sustained speed of 60 mph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section I: Response Planning               8

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

ACTUAL RESPONSE

 

The evacuation plan was set in motion at 0800 hrs. Saturday, August 27th which included the posting of signs and literature at the various mobile home parks and campgrounds. This was followed up with electronic sign boards at the intersection of Reservoir Rd. and Tiogue Ave which provided further direction to the high school shelter. Coventry  Police were positioned at this intersection to provide additional information.

 

The evacuation process progressed smoothly throughout the day with a limited response of, plus or minus twenty persons the first day. Opposition toward the evacuation was minimal. The persons identified through the Special Needs Registry that were contacted in advance of the storm were accounted for and two individuals were evacuated to the Coventry Health Center without incident.

 

Further points of interest were disseminated to the public by press release on our Town website and via news media:

 

- School would be cancelled on Monday, August 29th

- A parking ban would be in effect at 12:00 noon on Saturday August 27th.

- No garbage would be collected in Town on Monday, August 29th.

 

The residents of Coventry were also advised that the Coventry EMA was currently planning for water and possible food distribution after the storm passed. This distribution would take place at the Coventry High School and follow the POD distribution plan approved by the Dept. of Health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Section II: Actual Response              8

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

A shelter hotline   (822-6215) was activated and manned by EOC personnel. This hotline provided 24hr information concerning shelter operations and vital information throughout the storm.

 

Once the shelter operations commenced continued requests were made to RIEMA via Web EOC to procure cots from the Red Cross. As the day progressed it was learned that the Red Cross had experienced a failure in their transport system and would not be capable of delivering cots to the shelter before nightfall. In response to this problem, members of the EOC contacted the management of Coventry Job Lot to purchase inflatable beds for the evacuees. Job Lot advised that they would remain open after hours to assist which led to the purchase of twenty inflatable beds. At approximately 9:00 p.m. I received a call from RIEMA who advised that they had located the Red Cross cots and would have them en route to our shelter by 11:00 p.m. The cots were delivered to the shelter with ten being diverted to Hopkins Hill Fire for their use.

 

At daybreak on August 28th the storm had intensified but weather reports from multiple sources indicated that the storm would be traveling to our west. Due to this westward shift, Rhode Island (Coventry) would experience tropical force winds with speeds gusting near 60 to 70 mph but little rain. By 7:00 a.m. reports were received by all agencies of downed trees and power lines. The Strike Teams deployed to clear roadways of debris but were soon overwhelmed by the amount of debris mixed with downed power lines. Crews were advised to keep clear of the downed lines until they could be determined to be safe. Our EOC was advised to prepare a list of all impassible State roads and forward the list to RIEMA via Web EOC. As the morning progressed we were contacted by RIDOT via Web EOC who requested assistance in maintaining travel on State roads from our Public Works Division. The Teams were able to keep clear all major arteries in Town including Rt 3., Rt. 116, Rt. 117, Rt. 118 and Rt. 102. Many of the secondary roads were closed due to debris with the most extensive damage existing in the northern section of town.

 

 

Section II: Actual Response                9

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

With the downed power lines came extensive power outages which, by nightfall on August 28th, included 87% of town. Additional Police patrols were dispatched to patrol the commercial areas of town and evacuated areas to discourage house breaks and looting.

 

By mid-afternoon the storm’s intensity had decreased and the decision was made to move the High School Shelter, which was operating on generator power, to the Dept. of Human Services building located at 50 Wood St. The

Human Services building did not lose power and is an approved Red Cross Shelter. This decision was made after most of the twenty evacuees either left the High School shelter or planned to leave shortly. The move was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and details were forwarded to the media. Shelter operations continued throughout the night into August 29th due to calls from persons seeking shelter. The hot line remained active but no further evacuees responded. At midnight the shelter closed but remained on call if needed.

 

While initially the EOC did not lose power or communications, during the morning hours of August 28th RISCON began experiencing problems which slowed the 800 mhz transmissions throughout the state. This issue entailed a “busy tone” which prohibited transmissions. RIEMA was contacted and indicated that they were aware of the issue. RIEMA advised that the RISCON system was overloaded but not compromised. We were provided with directions to alleviate the issue and RIEMA moved our system from the North end of the state system to the South which alleviated much of the problem.

 

At approx. 10:00 p.m. August 28th, the EOC communications and internet systems failed completely forcing operations to move to Coventry Police Headquarters which was experiencing similar system failures.

To maintain base communications, Disp. Kareemo was moved to Coventry Fire Alarm Headquarters to maintain dispatch capabilities. With assistance from Central Fire, phone communications were transferred to cell service and internet capabilities were restored. Cox Communications was contacted to restore service.

 

Section II: Actual Response                9

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

By 8:00 a.m. Monday August 29th, the storm had passed leaving much of the secondary Town roads impassible. Response from National Grid was minimal with no concrete plan filtering to the municipalities concerning the restoration of power. Prior to and during the storm plans were discussed to deal with the large amount of vegetative debris we would encounter. Reports from RIEMA as well as National Grid requested each municipality create prioritized lists of sites or areas of concern that line crews and tree crews from National Grid should respond to first. These lists were to be forwarded to the National Grid “Municipal Room” which was set up to communicate with each municipality. While the Municipal Room call center was helpful, results concerning deployment of crews was very slow.

 

During a National Grid conference call at 11:00 a.m. these concerns were voiced. Marisa Albanese from National Grid responded by providing her office and cell number to accelerate the process. With our prioritized lists complete, a call was placed to Marisa Albanese immediately. Chief Volpe spoke with Ms. Albanese and explained that our Dept. of Public Works teams were available to work with the National Grid crews to expedite the clearing of downed trees and wires. Ms. Albanese agreed that this plan would work well. Charles Smith from DPW was selected to coordinate the response and coordinated effort with National Grid crews beginning on August 29th.

 

Plans were finalized to deploy five teams throughout town to conduct windshield surveys of the storm damage. Det. Kevin Harris of the Coventry Police Dept. formulated a survey plan which was disseminated with area assignments to the teams at a briefing conducted at 1:30 p.m August 29th. The teams then deployed to their areas of responsibility to photograph and record damage to public infrastructure, private dwellings and associated property and storm related damage, i.e. trees down, wires down and road blockages. Once complete, the data collected from the surveys would be collated and forwarded to Michelle Burnett at RIEMA for documentation.  

 

 

 

 

Section II: Actual Response                10

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

The power outages remained at approx. 85% throughout Monday August 29th. Water, both potable and non-potable became an issue. Geographically, nearly 2/3rds of Coventry utilizes well water which requires electricity for pumps. The EOC planning section was directed to finalize plans for a Point of Distribution (POD) site at the Coventry High School to deliver bottled water to residents on August 30th  from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

 

Pallets of bottled water were secured from Poland Springs who agreed to deliver 8700 gallons of bottled water to our POD site later in the evening. The water would be distributed based on a formula of one gallon of water per person per day. We would be providing each person with a supply of water for a period of three days. Capt. William Hall of Central Coventry Fire and Lt. John MacDonald of the Coventry Police directed operations with Lt. MacDonald acting as POD Commander. The POD was staffed by Fire, Police, CERT and volunteer personnel. Red Cross also responded to the POD site to provide water and snacks.

 

In addition to bottled water distribution, Town Council President, Gary Cote, secured a large tank trailer to supply the Western end of town with non-potable water. The trailer, provided by Tartaglia Trucking, was filled and parked at Western Coventry Fire. Press releases concerning both actions were forwarded to the public via media and the Town website.

 

The High School POD closed shortly after 7:00 p.m. After meeting with our POD Commander it was decided to open the POD on the same schedule on August 31st.  Additional water was ordered from Poland Spring with additional purchases from BJ’s and Wal-Mart.

 

On August 31st EOC staff were notified that the Red Cross had advertized they were giving away free water at the Coventry POD site at 12:00 p.m. which caused a conflict with our previously scheduled POD. The Coventry POD continued as planned and experienced a large increase in response believed to be from the statewide notification from the Red Cross.

 

 

Section II: Actual Response                11

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

Issues concerning the watering of livestock came to light as it learned that the non-potable water supply could not be used. Superintendent of Public Works, Dennis Smith, provided a portable tank (water buffalo) that could be towed to the farms in need. This action alleviated this issue.

 

The High School POD site was closed at 7:30 p.m. with the remaining pallets of water transported to three locations for distribution if needed.

- Coventry EOC

- Western Coventry Fire

- Dept. of Human Services

 

Debris removal and power restoration increased significantly on August 31st. This improvement was due to the cooperative effort and planning between the Coventry Department of Public Works crews and those from National Grid. These teams met at 8:00 a.m. at St. Vincent DePaul Church where they divided their crews into two teams. One team would engage the Eastern half of town and the other the Western half.

 

National Grid requested all municipalities respond as to whether the municipality would support a “blanket authorization” to turn on power. This would entail National Grid restoring power in areas they were confident would respond favorably but a possibility of fluctuations or minor fires could exist. The Town of Coventry supported the blanket authorization and advised National Grid of same. This cooperative effort reduced the percentage of power outage to 22% by night fall on August 31st with power restored to all nursing homes. Plans were made with National Grid to continue this team approach for the remainder of the week and crews were secured for work on September 1st.

 

By September 1st much of the power was restored to town with only 13% or (2048 customers) remaining. The main focus of the response shifted to debris removal and documentation. The EOC was scaled back to a Level II activation.

 

 

Section II: Actual Response                12

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

ANALYSIS OF CAPABILITIES

 

Objectives:

 

I. In planning for this event, the Coventry Emergency Management Staff   

   followed the basic matrix of protection which involved the preservation of:

   1. Life

   2. Property and;

   3. Environment

 

Objectives formulated throughout the incident followed this matrix and were enforced by a safety plan for responders and the public. These safety plans were discussed and later disseminated to participants and to the public via various media.

 

II. In addition to these initial protections, staff developed plans to maintain   

    transportation and movement of emergency vehicles during and after  

    the event.

 

III. Remain flexible in order to adequately respond to contingencies brought 

      forth from the event.

 

IV. Facilitate the restoration of power as soon as feasible.

 

V.  Properly document the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis of Capabilities                  13

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

Analysis:

 

Objective I: Preserve Life, Property and Environment

 

A. Information was directed toward the public well in advance and during

     the storm outlining the dangers associated with hurricanes and their  

     aftermath. Citizens were advised to prepare in advance and were kept  

     apprised of how to protect themselves and their property.

 

B. In advance of the storm, special needs residents were contacted and plans 

     were made to deal with their needs.

 

C. A mandatory evacuation was ordered and a full service shelter was 

    provided to those in need.

 

D. Drinking water was provided through a well planned POD. Non potable 

     water was also made available. All water was free of charge.

 

Summary:

 

The Town’s response fulfilled these objectives well. No town residents or emergency responders were injured or killed during this event. While damage estimates (public and private) cannot be accurately attributed to advance notice and information, it can be assumed that the information did encourage citizens to prepare more thoroughly.

The shelter did not enjoy a large turnout but those who responded were cared for in a professional manner. In the event of a larger scale event, the shelter staff would have been taxed more but the EMA staff is confident in their abilities to provide services.

The POD sites were a positive, but expensive exercise. The activation and flow through was smooth and those in need were serviced. Red Cross involvement impeded day two causing confusion. Their lack of coordination was brought to their management’s attention. All told, the feedback from the community was overwhelmingly positive.

 

Analysis of Capabilities                    14

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

Analysis:

 

Objective II: Maintenance of Transportation and Movement of Emergency Vehicles

 

A. The formation of Strike Teams in advance of the storm and their 

     subsequent utilization did have a positive effect on the capabilities of 

     emergency services during and after the storm.

 

B. The existence of plans to facilitate a coordinated response with National 

    Grid proved very timely at the beginning of the restoration process.

 

Summary:

 

The Strike Team concept worked well for a period of time at the onset of the storm, it then became fragmented and disorganized. This condition is understandable due to the differing nature of each individual agency’s response and periodical reorganizations should be expected. On the whole, the system worked well.

The planning and coordination between Coventry DPW and National Grid crews enabled power restoration to our community long before other communities. This type of pre-planning and cooperation has been cited by many agencies as well as National Grid as a model for future response.

 

 

Analysis:

 

Objective III: Flexibility and Adaptability

 

A. Due to the diverse skills of many EMA personnel, the untimely shut 

    down and move from the EOC to Police Headquarters due to 

    communications failure was not a major setback.

 

 

 

 

Analysis of Capabilities                    15

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

B. A series of compounding events or singular events often prove  

    disastrous to an organization or operation. The ability of the EMA staff,  

    Agency heads and Town Government to communicate clearly and  

    effectively placed Coventry in position to deal with unforeseen problems 

    quickly. Stakeholder participation was positive.

 

C. Due to the extensive power outages suffered, many residents went  

     without drinking water for a period of time due to disabled well systems.

     The Coventry EMA put into motion a plan to distribute bottled water to

     those in need. The POD site was active for this distribution August 30

     and 31st for a period of five hours each day. This distribution was further

     augmented after the PODs closed by positioning water at locations  

     throughout Town to further service residents’ needs.

 

Summary:

 

The ability of our personnel to adapt to the ever changing conditions presented by this storm was due to the vast experience of those in key positions within the framework of our EMA Staff. Many EOC personnel were new to the system and “stepped up” when needed.

 

The pre-planning that occurred prior to and during the event proved effective as many issues that arose had been discussed previously and handled appropriately.

 

Objective IV: Facilitate the Restoration of Power

 

A. The Strike Teams and other emergency responders identified areas with  

     downed power lines quickly. This information was forwarded to the EOC

     and on to RIEMA via Web EOC.

 

B. Prioritized lists were created by the EOC planning section identifying

     areas requiring the most work.

 

 

 

Analysis of Capabilities                    16

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

C. EOC staff was able to formulate a workable plan to present to National  

    Grid that would enable line crews to move through Town quickly and

    restore power at a much faster rate than was expected. This plan was

    followed by an agreement with National Grid (blanket authorization) to

    turn power on in lieu of all completed repairs to restore power sooner.

 

Summary: 

 

Department of Public Works personnel realized at the early stages of the storm that the removal of debris would be greatly aided if National Grid Crews were capable of working cooperatively with them. The main issue encountered was the entanglement of power lines with storm debris. DPW Foremen worked with EOC personnel to plan this cooperative effort with National Grid crews. The plan was accepted immediately by National Grid planners who directed crews to Town sooner than was originally expected. Over a two day period teams of DPW/Nat. Grid worked their way through Town clearing almost all the closed roadways which greatly enhanced the ability of the line crews to restore power.

 

 

Objective V: Properly Document the Event

 

A. Tropical Storm Irene, like the Great Flood of 2010, created a large

     financial impact on the Town via labor costs, debris removal etc. Proper 

     documentation of these costs would enable the town to recoup these costs

     through reimbursement from FEMA.

 

B. Lessons learned.

 

Summary:

 

Once the Pre-Landfall Declaration was signed by President Obama enabling Category-B assistance from FEMA our Town was ensured that we would be reimbursed for certain costs associated with the storm. The Pre-Landfall

 

Analysis of Capabilities                    16

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

Declaration, however, would only cover reimbursement, 75/25 split, for a certain period of time prior to and including our initial response to the storm.

During this period it was critical that documentation of all work and preparations be compiled accurately to avoid confusion after the event. Rhode Island eventually received the Federal Disaster Declaration which triggered the remaining categories(A-G), after the storm had passed. This Declaration enabled the Town to receive FEMA reimbursement for labor, debris removal and other operations after the event.

 

Issues that arose with documentation after the Flood of 2010 were tended to and resolved prior to Tropical Storm Irene. These “Lessons Learned” allowed for a smoother reporting process which has, to date, provided the Town of Coventry with preliminary reimbursement figures that exceeded initial expectations. Note: Final figures have not been compiled from all departments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Analysis of Capabilities                    17

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

CONCLUSION

 

In the days leading up to the landfall of Tropical Storm Irene the Town of Coventry and it’s various departments began planning a response to the problems we expected to encounter from a, then believed, hurricane strike with potential of at least category I winds and several inches of rainfall.

 

Stakeholders from the various Town agencies to include, Fire, Police, Public Works, Human Services, Coventry Housing, Parks and Recreation and our Elected Town officials, identified areas of concern based on a “worst case scenario” event. The ensuing plans were then forwarded to the members of the Coventry EMA for consideration and preparation.

 

While tracking the storm and gauging its intensity as it proceeded up the East coast toward Rhode Island the EOC members mobilized and created plans for a mandatory evacuation of mobile home parks and campgrounds. The evacuation, while not fully adhered to, was successful. The Department of Human Services planned for the care and transportation of special needs residents and later provided evacuees with fully staffed shelter located at the Coventry High School to open on August 27th.

 

Further service was provided to the community in the form of bottled water distribution via a POD site also located at the Coventry High School. The POD plan allowed for distribution using a one gallon per person per day formula with each family receiving a three day supply. This operation was by all accounts, a success, with the remaining water stored for later use.

 

Non-potable water was also made available due to the efforts of Town Council President, Gary Cote, who utilized a tanker/trailer from his employer, Tartaglia Trucking. This trailer was positioned at Western Coventry Fire for citizens in need.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion                                       18

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

Soon after the storm impacted our town it was realized that we would not be receiving the large amount of rainfall previously expected. The main concern then shifted to vegetative debris and its removal. This task fell squarely on the shoulders of our Department of Pubic Works whose personnel worked long hours in conjunction with Police and Fire to maintain safe travel throughout town. This task was hindered by the presence of down power lines entangled with debris. To combat this problem, EOC staff coordinated with DPW Foreman, Charles Smith, to formulate an action plan to present to National Grid. The plan entailed a cooperative effort pairing National Grid line crews and tree crews with DPW staff to clear debris quickly and more efficiently. The plan was adopted and work began on the morning of August 31st. This cooperative effort allowed for power restoration much sooner than was originally predicted.

 

In closing, the Town of Coventry did fulfill the objectives set forth prior to the Tropical Storm Irene. While setbacks did occur, the overall outcome and response was positive. As with any operation, improvements can and should be made to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion                                       19

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

 

 

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Conclusion                                       20

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

 

APPENDIX A:  IMPROVEMENT PLAN

 

Synopsis: An after action meeting that took place on September 8, 2011 identified several conditions requiring attention. The meeting was attended by a majority of the Coventry EMA staff as well as Town Manager Hoover. The items listed in Appendix A have been agreed upon as conditions to be mitigated by the Coventry EMA in a reasonable amount of time with the understanding that changes will provide a stronger response to future events.

 

Item 1:  Availability of personnel to man EOC for extended

              events.

 

Analysis: While in the preplanning stages of this event it was

                  assumed that more personnel were capable/available

                  and willing to man the EOC. Due to the twelve hour

                  operational cycle upsetting the balance of some work

                  shifts it became readily apparent that a skeleton crew

                  would be manning the EOC for the duration of the  

                  event.

 

                  The underlying theme that was echoed throughout the  

                  event was that personnel did not want to be tied down             

                  to the EOC, they would rather respond to events in the

                  field.

 

Solution:  During the September EMA meeting plans were  

                  discussed to begin active recruiting for the EOC

                  sections. Those interested would be provided training

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A                                      21

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

                 and be expected to be available for EOC duty when   

                 necessary. The plan met no opposition as stakeholders            

                 agreed to provide a list of qualified personnel to help the

                 cause. Capt. Hall advised the group that he would take

                 on the task of coordinating training for those who

                 wished to attend.

 

Item 2:    Communication and logistical failure of Red Cross.

 

Analysis: During the planning stages prior to the event,  

                 communications with Red Cross were confusing and

                 fragmented. The overall message they were trying to

                 send was poor and the organization appeared to lack

                 leadership. This situation was exacerbated during a free

                 for all type of conference call hosted by Red Cross and

                 their lack of follow through with equipment for our

                 shelter. Furthermore, the lack of communication

                 exhibited by Red Cross during day two of our POD

                 created a chaotic scene that many believe, misled

                 citizens.

 

Solution: In speaking with Liz McDonald of the Red Cross during

                 the many after action reviews held by RIEMA et al., she

                 agreed that her organization performed poorly during

                 the event. The Red Cross suffered much criticism and

                 vowed to review their operations for a stronger all

                 around response in the future.

 

Item 3:    Communication within the Coventry EMA system.

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A                                      22

 

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

Analysis:  During the after action briefing many members voiced

                  concern over the lack of information that need to be  

                  filtered down from the EOC to other town agencies.

                  Members expressed that they were not informed of

                  major issues facing the town that they should have                                           

                  been made aware of either during regularly   

                  scheduled meetings during the event or at least by  

                  phone. 

 

                  EOC operations ran relatively smoothly during the  

                  event for those inside the EOC. Those who were  

                  required to report to the EOC advised that there was no  

                  clear identification of each persons’ responsibility or  

                  which led to minor confusion.

 

Solution:  It was agreed that increased formal communications         

                  must be conducted during events. Members agreed that

                  the increase and diversity of staff present at the

                  EOC will assist with accomplishing this goal. The idea

                  of a liaison officer was discussed and appears to be

                  viable option for the EOC staff. This position will be

                  discussed further prior to its implementation.

 

                  A simple solution to the EOC staffing and positioning

                  issue was to identify each staff member with each

                  section on the grease board within the EOC. This was     

                  done during past events and will be reinstituted. The     

                  EOC staff, during the event, conducted morning               

                  briefings that served as daily operational meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A                                      23

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

                  These meetings were intended to identify any issues            

                  they we may face during the operational period as well

                  as to confirm the days work progress. No full scale

                  operational meetings were conducted with the full  

                  EMA staff. In future events, regularly scheduled staff

                  meetings will be conducted during the event. Staff  

                  members will be expected to attend and contribute.  

                  These meetings will, most likely, be in conjunction with

                  a scheduled conference call.

 

Item 4:     Windshield Surveys.

 

Analysis:  Accurate and timely surveys of public and private  

                  damage in the wake of a storm of this type are required   

                  for our town to receive federal reimbursement. Det

                  Kevin Harris of the Coventry Police Dept. formulated a

                  straightforward reporting system to document this                  

                  damage efficiently. This system was relayed to a series

                  of teams during a briefing prior to the survey operation.

                  Upon viewing the data retrieved it was clear that certain

                  members of the survey teams either did not take the

                  survey seriously or simply did not know what they were  

                  doing. This condition resulted in much unnecessary   

                  work required by EOC planners who were tasked with

                  cleaning up our data. They did a wonderful job but this

                  extra work must be avoided in the future.

 

Solution:   During future events members of the Coventry Police           

                   Detective Division will be tasked with conducting 

                   these surveys.

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A                                      23

After Action Report

(AAR)                                                        Tropical Storm Irene 8/2011

 

                 These personnel are familiar with the reporting system     

                 as well as the necessary tools and computer programs                 

                 required to complete the task accurately.

 

Item 5:     Shelter issues

 

Analysis:  Once the shelter at the Coventry High School lost       

                  power shelter workers realized that the generator did 

                  not supply power to areas as expected. Power was    

                  found only in the library, cafeterias and the

                  refrigerators. The rest of the school was in darkness and

                  certain required functions of the shelter were

                  compromised.

 

Solution:  Mr. Steverman of the High School/Physical Plant explained to the

                  EMA staff that he was fully aware of the shortfalls of the

                  generator system and related them to shelter staff. He also added

                  that generator power can be moved throughout the building by

                  manipulating certain electrical breaker switches. The ability to

                  relocate power throughout portions of the building is an

                  advantage that the shelter staff will utilize in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A                                      24