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An Expert Guide to Demobilization and Post-Incident Recovery

Posted on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Pre planning for demobilization and post-incident recovery allows for a collaborative understanding of necessary recovery elements and critical business unit restoration processes. Recovery objectives should include the meticulous restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of the site, surrounding infrastructures, and operations.

Disaster response operations should prioritize timely and accurate communication to facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, vendors and contractors, and, if applicable, the public in order to accelerate recovery without duplicating efforts. Once the response is concluded, specific demobilization guidelines provide “agreed-to procedures” to help facilitate a more organized and expedited return to normal operating conditions.  

The process of standing down response resources in an efficient and timely manner provides considerable cost benefits.

Issues to consider for demobilization include:

  • The On-Scene Incident Commander should approve the release or demobilize of response resources prior to initializing the process
  • Assign personnel to identify surplus resources and probable resource release times
  • Establish demobilization priorities based on the specific incident
  • Verify established decontamination procedures and necessary resources are available
  • If necessary, develop/communicate a Disposal Plan for the disposal of hazardous materials or wastes, as necessary.
  • Identify personnel travel needs and coordinate travel arrangements, as necessary.
  • Plan for equipment repair, decontamination, maintenance services, and inspections, as necessary
  • Initialize impact assessments and post-incident reviews

Even as the site response is being demobilized, responders must maintain heightened safety awareness. Any incident that extends beyond normal operating procedures may require a recovery plan component. The ability to institute a successful recovery plan requires stakeholders to maintain a clear understanding of post-disaster roles, responsibilities, and objectives. These components may include, but are not limited to:

RECOVERY PLANNING

  • Coordinate development, training, and exercise of the disaster recovery plan.
  • Establish and maintain contacts/networks for recovery resources and support systems.
  • Promulgate principles and practices that perpetuate resiliency and sustainability

RECOVERY OPERATIONS

  • Assess damage
  • Verify facility accessibility and safety
  • Identify internal and external recovery team contacts and contractors
  • Identify the scope of work for repair
  • Development of site specific plans and schedules for executing repairs
  • Restoration of operations
  • Institute mitigation measures
  • Identify “lessons learned” through post-incident reviews

Once the recovery period begins and/or appears that it will extend beyond the recovery capabilities of the facility, the Incident Commander should be responsible for the following:

  • Lead the creation and coordinate the activities of local recovery-dedicated organizations and initiatives.
  • Work with the federal, state, and local agency coordinators to develop a unified and accessible communication strategy.
  • Participate in damage and impact assessments with other recovery partners.
  • Organize recovery-planning processes to fully engage stakeholders and identify recovery objectives, priorities, resources, capabilities, and recovery capacity.
  • Ensure inclusiveness of the community in the recovery process through media and public relations efforts
  • Continually communicate recovery priorities to government liaisons, recovery stakeholders, employees, and the community.
  • Incorporate critical mitigation, resilience, sustainability and accessibility building measures into the recovery plans and efforts.
  • Lead the development of the facility’s recovery plan(s) and ensure that they are actionable and feasible based on available funding and capacity.
  • Collaborate with State, Federal and other stakeholders to identify external financial support for recovery, leverage the resources where possible and resolve potential duplication of assistance.
  • Work closely with the recovery leadership at all levels to ensure a well-coordinated, timely, and well-executed recovery.
  • Develop and implement recovery progress measures and communicate adjustments and improvements to applicable stakeholders and authorities.

The primary purpose of post-incident reviews is to identify deficiencies in the response plan and determine necessary actions to correct the deficiencies. The post-incident reviews can often reveal which response procedures, equipment, and techniques were effective, and which were not and the reason(s) why. These reviews can lead to “lessons learned” and should be reflected in the response plan, training efforts, and exercise objectives.

At a minimum, post-incident review checklists should include:

  • Name and typical duties of personnel being debriefed
  • Date, time and whereabouts of employee during incident
  • Actions taken during incident
  • Positive aspects of how the response occurred
  • Aspects identified for improvement

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Tags: Incident Action Plan, Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Incident Management, Event Preparedness