A Joplin, Missouri neighborhood devastated on May 22, 2011 by the massive EF5 tornado that roared through the city.
Models to Follow
It can be tough to know where to start when crafting a disaster recovery plan or an agreement to aid a nearby town in an emergency. So we are collecting samples from across the country to give leaders an idea of what others are using that works.
This detailed 141-page plan describes the destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey when it hit Aransas County, Texas in 2017 followed by recovery priorities and projects. It outlines objectives as well as responsible parties, needed funding and timing for its goals. The “lessons learned” segment at the end includes insights into the challenges the group faced and how it overcame them.
This 56-page community recovery plan was crafted after Denham Springs, Louisiana in 2016 suffered unprecedented flooding that swamped nearly three quarters of the city’s homes. The evolving document outlines key projects, who will champion them, estimated timelines, where funding will come from, action steps to achieve them and possible opportunities to collaborate.
This 75-page comprehensive plan provides a menu of key projects in four areas for the community to consider funding as it recovers from a deadly EF-5 tornado in 2007 that destroyed 90% of the city. The cost and potential funding sources for each project are listed, and they are ranked according to how much the project will contribute to Greensburg’s recovery.
After the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, Paradise, California created this 145-page plan to outline its future progression. Projects include a walkable downtown, improved broadband services, road evaluation and rehabilitation and much more. Each project listed features comments from public meetings held to discuss the improvements as well as votes each received in an online public survey.
This is an example of a comprehensive plan that any community can craft after a disaster. In it, Sea Bright, New Jersey describes and prioritizes 15 projects planned in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, detailing cost estimates, potential funding sources and timelines. The plan also delineates how the projects will be resilient to future disasters.
"It's a great idea. The lessons learned and experiences gained through a disaster are so helpful to instruct or guide people. It's just so valuable that experience, and so helpful. There's an art to this."
Mayor Joe Riley / Charleston, SC
"I would love to have had someone saying 'for the next 3 weeks here's what you need to focus on'. That would have really helped me. There really wasn't a lot of information passed on to us about what was coming in the weeks and months ahead. We did our best to anticipate a lot of issues."
Mayor Walter Maddox / Tuscaloosa, AL
"A website would be really helpful. The ability to link to somebody, talk to somebody in a city of 10,000 or 300,000. There is just some consolation to hearing affirmation. Truthfully, the emotional support means a lot."
Mayor Ted Ellis / Bluffton, IN / Former Pres., National League of Cities
"There's a lot of people sit back and say, 'Oh my God! What am I going to do?' At times, you just need someone to talk to about what you need to be doing next."
Mayor Gregg Kennedy / Smithville, MS
"You're going to get the first call. So you'd better have some answers. You have five minutes! You need to know what you're going to do."
Mayor Harry Lewis / Rayville, LA
"If we keep educating folks - however it needs to be done - but if we can keep educating and letting them know what we know now and wished we had known back then, I think we'll all be better off."
Mayor Eddie Favre / Bay St. Louis, MS
"I think it's very important. It gives us an opportunity to take lessons learned and mistakes made and pass them forward and help people make the right decisions and keep from making the wrong ones."
Mayor Brent Warr / Gulfport, MS
"Anytime you tap on experience, that's a whole lot better a lot of times than a bunch of books. If you have somebody that lived it say, this is what you need to do. Especially if it worked out."