The Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee, through a project sponsored by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council, created a template disaster recovery plan. The plan assists communities in deciding, before a disaster happens, what financial, organizational, and human resources will need to be addressed both short-term and long-term as they recover from a disaster.
A disaster recovery plan differs from a continuity of operations plan (COOP). A COOP addresses how a business or government entity will keep operating during a disaster. A disaster recovery plan addresses how the entire community will recover after a disaster. Recovery could take several years, as seen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. A disaster recovery plan asks and answers questions such as:
- What key facilities need to be repaired or restored for short-term functioning of the community (perhaps the sewage treatment plant, for example)?
- What long-term mitigation strategies should be considered (such as whether it would make sense to rebuild in a vulnerable area should anything happen to the structures there)?
- What historically significant structures need to be repaired/restored no matter what the cost?
- How will you provide temporary and long-term housing for displaced residents?
- How will you help local businesses get back up and running so your residents continue to have jobs while they try to put their lives back together and so those businesses will survive the impact of the disaster and remain in business?
- What state and federal assistance is available under different scenarios, both for the community and its residents?
- How will you assist those who fall between the cracks and don’t qualify for any assistance?
- How can you make the community attractive in order to gain investment capital needed to reconstruct buildings and restore business activities and housing?
Please feel free to download and adapt the template for your own community. The template is written in a “mad-libs” format. Words or sections that are likely to differ from community to community have been (underlined and placed in parentheses). For more information, please contact Tracy Rogers at the Franklin Regional Council of Governments at (413) 774-3167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.