Disaster Discourse: The Hagerty Blog

National Preparedness Month – Expanding

New technologies and lessons learned from exercises, real-world events, and guidance from experts in the field are continually opening doors of new methods and strategies to advance preparedness in our communities. Frequently, changing the way things have been done in the past can be a challenge to implement. But failing to incorporate these changes can leave a community with an antiquated approach to preparedness that doesn’t truly meet the needs of people or realize the community’s full potential for preparedness.

Hagerty views each of our clients’ preparedness initiatives as opportunity to “think outside the box” and find a new way to further enhance their preparedness efforts. From harnessing technologies such as GIS and social media to better receive and send information, to developing new strategies for jurisdictions to organize and deploy resources, to navigating the world of resilience, Hagerty is always looking for ways to not only achieve current goals, but to help our clients advance to the next chapter of emergency preparedness.

One way that Hagerty attempts to accomplish this goal is by expanding the audience of preparedness initiatives. Comprehensive planning involves not only traditional stakeholders, but other community partners who may not be immediately involved in emergency management practices. It also involves opening up new ways for traditional stakeholders to help the community during emergencies.

Expanding the Audience of Resilience Planning and Implementation:

Hagerty Consulting designed a four-point strategy for resilience-building that was specifically designed to engage stakeholders from outside the realm of emergency management. As we have learned from the cities participating in 100 Resilient Cities, the success of a comprehensive resilience strategy depends, in part, on buy-in from elected officials and other key leaders. To help our clients generate this buy-in, Hagerty provides strategic consulting services to diverse stakeholders at every level of the community.

Rather than focusing specifically on emergency-management initiatives, such as tactical planning or exercise development, Hagerty’s resilience approach includes services intended to support strategic leadership and implementation. Hagerty has identified which of its services can be used to support stakeholders outside of emergency management in order to truly improve the resilience of our clients’ communities.

To support the Urban Areas Security Initiative region of Atlanta, Georgia and the surrounding areas, Hagerty conducted a discovery change workshop for its leaders. The purpose of the workshop was to assess current capabilities, establish a vision and goals for the future, and determine a path forward for the organization in coming years. The workshop provided strategic context to the Atlanta UASI region’s mission and daily operations within the context of achieving its overarching vision of becoming a more resilient region. Hagerty supports resilience-building by engaging key stakeholders at every level of the community to facilitate buy-in across the jurisdiction.

Expanding the Role of Traditional Transit Agency Partners:

As we have observed or experienced during recent events, communities often lose access to electric power, and homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals can sit in dark for several days. Restoring traditional power distribution services takes time, and the limited availability of alternate power sources (e.g. diesel generators) can delay both community and individual disaster response activities. Even premeditated efforts to mitigate power interruptions frequently prove ineffective when backup generators flood, run out of fuel, or do not operate properly because of inadequate maintenance prior to the emergency. Ultimately, during a disaster, the available electric power supply rarely meets the demand for electricity.

Funded through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) research grant, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) has partnered with The University of Texas Center for Electromechanics (CEM) and Hagerty Consulting to investigate how hybrid electric transit buses may be used as on-demand, mobile, electric power generators during emergency response and recovery. The project team will develop and demonstrate a “Bus Exportable Power Supply” (BEPS) system and is hosting a series of panel meetings to learn how a BEPS system can be designed and used most effectively. Transit agencies already play a vital role in emergency response activities by providing mobility and evacuation services, and now, in addition to these critical services, they may be able to use BEPS to improve the availability of backup power in their community when traditional power sources are unavailable.

The BEPS system will utilize existing hybrid bus architecture (e.g. the onboard diesel engine, battery energy storage, and diesel fuel capacity) and transit agency infrastructure (e.g. fuel reserves) to provide electricity for critical facilities. The system is capable of providing power in various forms, including single-phase and three-phase power up to 480 VAC. Using a current hybrid bus design, BEPS could provide up to 200 kW of power and 2 MWh of energy. These characteristics will allow the bus to power facilities such as fire stations, emergency operation centers (EOCs), gas stations, shelters, communication equipment, and emergency medical service centers. If implemented throughout a transit agency’s fleet, BEPS-equipped buses will have a substantial impact on emergency response and will expand transit agencies’ role in emergency response from primarily evacuation support to that of emergency power supply, too.

If you are interested in learning more about the ways in which Hagerty can help your organization or jurisdiction expand its audience to support preparedness, please visit http://hagertyconsulting.com/preparedness/.