Flagler Releases Hurricane Matthew After-Action Report, Moves To Address Issues

By on June 22, 2017 in WNDB News

Flagler County, FL – Flagler County has released its Hurricane Matthew after-action report and officials are already moving to address issues that have been identified.

The 23-page report, which gives an overview of the response to the storm and its impacts and identifies 25 areas for improvements, is available on the county website, FlaglerCounty.org.

“It required work and collaboration and the prolonged cooperation of numerous entities, including community, city, county, state, federal, law enforcement, as well as private and non-profits,” Emergency Manager Steve Garten said. “Even the most realistic training exercise would not provide us with the same opportunity to both reinforce effective responses and to identify areas for improvement, which is necessary to perform better in the future.”

During Hurricane Matthew, there were 23 different agencies working at the Flagler County Emergency Operations Center, which opened in 2006, with a typical shift worked by 80 to 120 staff members along with 35 non-staff citizen volunteers who provided support in the kitchen and call center.

The 25 issues identified in the report include: secure generators for public water supplies and private utilities, work with nursing homes and assisted living facilities earlier in the process if evacuation is expected, create pre-planned comfort stations for residents where devices can be charged and email checked, ensure generators are available for traffic control devices when power is lost, and open a disaster recovery center sooner. According to the report, the county also needs to develop a more comprehensive sheltering plan that better takes into account a shelter’s physical capabilities and stores of supplies, and additional staffing and more extensive training has been recommended. The most critical issues included staffing and the function of the Emergency Operations Center itself.

“We would be remiss if we did not candidly seek ways to improve our response,” County Administrator Craig Coffey said. “Had the storm not shifted slightly away from Flagler County as it did, the pressure of any missteps could have compounded other issues, and/or hinder our response efforts.”

Flagler County has already started addressing a number of the issues pointed out in the report and projects are underway to pursue recommended solutions. “We are committed to learning lessons from every emergency event,” Coffey said. “We are developing solutions for the issues we’ve identified to better serve the community in the future.”

Photo courtesy Cindy Camperlengo and Shutterstock.com.

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2017.

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