NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Nov. 17, 2015) — The state of Tennessee is set to distribute its “Post Disaster Guide” with emergency managers across the state, officials announced today during the quarterly Silver Jackets meeting at the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center.
“We’re very excited today to be talking about our 2015 team project, which is the Tennessee Post Disaster Guide,” said Chris Cunningham, planning specialist with TEMA and state coordinator for the Silver Jackets team. “We are going to be sending out this guide to all of the county EMA directors this week.”
Cunningham said the guide is unique because it includes information from federal and state agencies, yet allows for local communities to customize it, which is critical when responding to any emergency.
The Tennessee Silver Jackets Program developed the idea of creating a guide for the state of Tennessee on what to do after a disaster occurs. The Tennessee Post Disaster Guide will provide emergency management personnel across the state with a better understanding of available resources to aid in the recovery process, and will also help prepare counties and communities for future disaster events.
In addition, the guide will reduce the need for coordination with the state, and allow entities at all levels of government to work more efficiently and focus their efforts where needed during an emergency. The guide provides information on disaster declarations, permitting requirements, assistance programs offered at the federal and state level, and documenting an event.
Silver Jackets is an innovative program where multiple state, federal, and sometimes tribal and local agencies learn from each other and apply knowledge to reduce risk to natural hazards. Program goals include improved communication, reduce vulnerability and consequences of flooding, leverage available resources, and develop comprehensive regional flood risk management strategies.
Ken Davis, TEMA assistant director for Preparedness, thanked all of the Silver Jackets partners for working on the final draft of the Tennessee Post Disaster Guide.
“The information shared by this guide runs the gamut of service providers so we can speed and strengthen disaster recovery while addressing unique community needs,” Davis said. “This document is going to be a wonderful tool for our communities as we practice our prep efforts for the potentialities that we may face. We are indeed appreciative of what you have done here.”
Agencies that coordinated on the initial version of this guide include TEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tennessee Valley Authority, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, National Flood Insurance Program, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Small Business Administration, Metropolitan Nashville Metro Water Services, Humphries County Emergency Management Agency, and Knox County Emergency Management Agency.
Richard Flood, FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance senior program specialist, said the guide will serve to assist communities, home owners, agencies and others with understanding how FEMA works and who to contact.
“Developing this guide has helped us to establish those relationships that are necessary after an event,” Flood said. “We often hear that after an event is not the time to exchange business cards.”
Flood added that the guide will help to alleviate the frustration of trying to figure out “who do I need to call?” once an event occurs, making it a useful tool for survivors and emergency responders.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District received $50,000 from the Silver Jackets Pilot Program to provide technical assistance for the creation of the guide. Team members from other agencies also provided expertise on various missions, authorities, assistance programs and permitting requirements.
Maj. Christopher Burkhart, Nashville District deputy commander, thanked TEMA and its leadership for its part in coordinating with the many agencies and organizations in Silver Jackets that partnered to make the Tennessee Post Disaster Guide a reality.
“I would like to thank all of those agencies involved in preparing the final draft of Tennessee Post Disaster Guide,” Burkhart said. “It is essential to recognize that the state benefits from the collaboration, communication, building relationships, pooling of resources, and expertise found from everyone in this room today and from all those who participated in the Silver Jackets Program.”
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)