116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - The city has contracted with Tennessee-based Atchison Consulting Service for an estimated $25,000 to draft a report assessing its response to the Aug. 10 derecho, almost seven months after the storm's hurricane-force winds downed trees and power lines across Cedar Rapids.
This after-action report, expected to be available midsummer, is intended to help the city understand disaster response strengths and opportunities for improvement through data collection, analysis and engagement efforts, according to a news release. City officials will use this data to develop a road map to 'improve core capabilities citywide.”
'An after action review is an important exercise to identify opportunities for continuous improvement,” Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Greg Smith said in the release. 'The city will be able to maximize learning from the Derecho response on August 10, 2020, and the continuing response in the days, weeks, and months of recovery that followed. As an accredited agency, the Cedar Rapids Fire Department is an advocate for after action reviews to ensure life safety and property preservation objectives continue to be accomplished, and the city and community are adequately prepared for future disasters.”
Fallen power lines and disruptions to the cell network made communication challenging in the immediate aftermath of the unprecedented disaster. The Gazette reported in February that county, city and non-government organizations in Linn County had not yet conducted an after-action review to determine how emergency communications would reach the public should another such storm devastate the area again.
Atchison Consulting will learn more about the overall disaster response through research and conversations with city staff, officials, partner organizations and other community stakeholders, the release said.
'I am honored that the city selected our team to support this effort,” Cathleen Atchison, owner of Atchison Consulting Service, said in the release. 'Born and raised in Iowa, calling Cedar Rapids home for many years, we are highly committed to providing the city of Cedar Rapids with a process and service that will highlight strengths, identify barriers and challenges, and create a road map of solution alternatives that will increase capabilities across city agencies and partnering stakeholders. By understanding these components based on a no-notice event; preparedness, response, and recovery efforts will be enhanced to support the needs of the community and citizens for future all-hazard disasters.”
The city's $25,000 contract with the firm extends until June 30 unless otherwise amended. The review is expected to take 70 days.
The report will focus on four central questions:
' What was done well
' What the city was not prepared for
' What the city learned and still is learning from the event
' What are new opportunities for growth
Atchison Consulting will look to identify core capabilities to focus on in these discussions, such as:
' Command: Communication and Coordination
' Supply Chain Management: Resources, Security and Logistics
' Information sharing
' Multi-Agency Coordination: Resource requests, tracking and mutual aid agreements
' Public information
' Local Emergency Operation Center activations
' Situational awareness of jurisdictional need and recovery
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