Winter Storm Work Session tomorrow

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Kathie Tovo
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

Winter Storm Work Session tomorrow

Post by Kathie Tovo »

Dear Colleagues,

Tomorrow we are scheduled for our first of two Council work sessions about the storm. These will not be presentation-based but are instead intended as question/answer/discussion sessions with staff on topics that include (but don’t need to be limited to) the issues identified on Exhibit A of the resolution which created this process.

The back up for tomorrow includes Exhibit A, which was a compilation based on questions Council Members and constituents raised during the storm or in the weeks since. And here's a link: https://www.austintexas.gov/edims/docum ... ?id=357138

We likely won’t have time to fully discuss every issue in depth, but I’m hoping we can use the time to get additional information to help inform our policy work as well as to identify issues we would like to ensure the City Manager addresses in the after-action report.

I am striving to convert all the bullets in Exhibit A to questions, and I'll post if I succeed in getting enough time to knock out that task. I hope you will also bring any additional questions so that we can have a full conversation.

Tomorrow's agenda:

Introduction/overview – 1 p.m. -1:15 p.m.
Emergency Operations - 1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Austin Transportation Department – 2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Public Safety – 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Wrap up – 4:15 p.m. – 4:30+ p.m.

Thanks! I look forward to the conversation.

best,
Kathie Tovo
Council District 9
Kathie Tovo
Posts: 111
Joined: Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:18 am

Re: Winter Storm Work Session tomorrow

Post by Kathie Tovo »

Colleagues,
Here are some of the questions I have related to the topics identified for tomorrow's work session. While I don't expect we'll have time to discuss many (most?) of these, I'm sharing them in this space in case it's useful and in the event that they help prompt additional questions from others.

Best,
Kathie Tovo



May 11, 2021
City Council Winter Storm Work Session Part 1
CM Tovo’s questions

Emergency Operations Center
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.

Pre-storm
1. General disaster-preparedness public education (including Community Emergency Response Team)
What general information does the City distribute in terms of emergency preparedness, and how and when is that information shared? How many city staff have taken emergency response training?

How does the City of Austin support and promote CERT? How does that compare to emergency preparedness efforts of the past? How many individuals in the Austin area have received CERT training in the last 5 years? How does that compare to previous periods? Were Community Emergency Response Teams involved before, during, or after the storm?

2. Communication to public about impending storm
Aside from the Austin Water and Austin Energy communications, did the City of Austin issue any recommendations about additional levels of preparation residents might consider in terms of having food, medicine, or other resources on-hand?

3. Preparation among city departments
How did City departments communicate with one another in advance of the storm, and how far in advance did that begin?

4. Intergovernmental coordination (AISD, UT, Capital Metro, Travis County, other area partners)
How did City departments communicate with other public entities in advance of the storm, and how far in advance did that begin? What efforts did the City coordinate with these entities?

5. Coordination with disaster-response partners, such as Austin Disaster Relief Network, American Red Cross, FEMA, and National Guard
Which entities was the City in communication with prior to the storm, and what was the extent of the communication?

6. Implementation of recommendations from the 2018 “Climate Resilience Action Plan for City Assets and Operations”

Storm response
7. Command structure
Please describe the structure in place before, during, and after the winter storm (if it changed). How did the structure compare to previous emergency responses? How was information shared among city staff to guide where requests were routed and to whom? What information about the process of communicating needs and challenges was shared with the community? With Council offices? Do all departments have designated staff at the EOC? Who were the designated contacts for Mayor and Council during this emergency, and has there been a Single Point of Contact or designated contacts in past emergencies?

8. Communication with public about severity of energy crisis and duration of outages
Describe the process of formulating guidance to public, and the relationship among the different departments communicating with the public (ie. Austin Water, Austin Energy, the City Manager, etc.) Which city staff (including Council Members and their staff) received situation reports during the emergency? How did this differ from past emergencies, and why?

9. 311 inoperability
What caused 311 to go down on 2/15, and how long was the service inoperable?

10. City of Austin website challenges
What caused the City’s website to go down on 2/15, and how long was the website down?

11. Alternative communication methods

12. Coordination with community efforts related to sheltering, food/water distribution, other (Austin Needs Water, Austin Firefighters Association)
Which staff in the EOC were assigned to coordinate volunteer efforts? When were they assigned that responsibility? How does that compare to previous emergencies? If the process was different, please explain why. Were other city departments coordinating volunteer efforts outside of the EOC? What are some examples, and did that work well? How was this process communicated to outside organizations, to Council offices, to the broader community? How does the EOC interface with the Central Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOADs)?

13. Intergovernmental communication (AISD, UT, Capital Metro, Travis County, and other area partners)
How are communications and coordination with outside entities handled? Is there one liaison for all outside entities, or liaisons designated for different areas? At what point did the City coordinate with these entities, and in what ways? Which of these entities have a presence at the EOC? Did the City coordinate with ACC, and if so, in what manner?

14. Communication, briefings, and coordination with Council Members

15. Coordination with disaster-response partners, such as Austin Disaster Relief Network, American Red Cross, FEMA, and National Guard

When were these partners engaged, and how? What roles did they play? How did this process differ from past emergencies?

16. Procurement of supplies (food and water)
What supplies were available on hand, and in what quantities? How were supplies secured, and from where? In the past, has the City has more/less supplies on hand? What new challenges did the City face in securing supplies? What new strategies did the City deploy?

17. Allocation of supplies
What supplies did the EOC provide, to whom, and through which distribution channels? Which staff members made these decisions, and what criteria did they use? How did they receive information about needs, and how was that process communicated to staff, to the community, to Council Members? What efforts were undertaken to assess needs and provide basic resources citywide?

18. Designation of food/water distribution efforts
Who in the EOC organized these efforts? What information did they use to make decisions about locations and partners? How did they coordinate with community partners, Council offices, and other city staff?

Looking ahead
Supply storage
Asset mapping for water and food resources
Mapping senior centers, boarding houses, and apartment communities with highly vulnerable residents
Formalizing systems of notification and outreach for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations
Back-up generators

Austin Transportation Department
2:45 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pre-storm
19. Preparations of city fleet, readying of specialty vehicles

20. Implementation of recommendations from the 2018 “Climate Resilience Action Plan for City Assets and Operations”

Storm
21. Road treatments
Which roads were treated? Who made those decisions, and what criteria were used? Were the decisions or the criteria different from those used in the past? Could additional roads have been treated? Were supplies or staff or safety the limiting factors?

22. Communication about real-time road conditions
How did the City communicate information about road conditions to the public?

23. Vehicle and transportation options
How were buses used throughout the emergency?

Looking ahead
Road treatment options
Vehicle upgrades and alternatives
Mapping vehicular assets across departments/partner organizations
Options for real-time road conditions communications


Public Safety
3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Pre-storm
24. Communications and preparation


Storm
25. Range of incidents and involvements
26. Challenges
27. Staffing levels
28. Estimated costs of overtime
Council District 9
Steve Adler
Posts: 406
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:12 pm

Re: Winter Storm Work Session tomorrow

Post by Steve Adler »

Kathie:

Thanks for your leadership and involving me on the resolution and today’s meeting to give council members the opportunity to possibly get answers to some questions today, but certainly to identify issues or questions we want the Manager to address in his after action report.

The schedule you propose works for me and, if it’s the will of the council, will be how we proceed.

We urge everyone to take a moment to think about and then raise issues that will help us learn from this incident.

Maybe the Manager could address whether it makes sense to have a single webpage where links and information can be found about all the various after action review activities now taking place?

s
Mayor
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