Bus

Central Florida holds emergency preparedness workshop

Posted on February 9, 2010 by METRO Staff

[IMAGE]LYNX-1.jpg[/IMAGE]With the tragic earthquake in Haiti fresh in many minds, Central Florida Emergency Management agencies got together recently to discuss best practices for emergency disasters.

The Connecting Communities Public Transportation Emergency Preparedness Workshop was facilitated by New Jersey's Rutgers University and hosted by the Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX) in conjunction with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which funds the national program.

"There was a sign in the room that said an emergency is a bad time to exchange business cards, and that really is true," said Matt Friedman, manager, media relations, for LYNX.

The two-day workshop uses a combination of presentations, facilitators, interactive group discussions and scenario-based activities so those in the emergency services and emergency management sectors gain a better understanding of what public transit and transportation entities can bring to the table during a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, hurricane or flood.

"We're not going in there to help them fill in all the blanks in two days," said one of the facilitators of the workshop Chris Kozub, associate director, Rutgers University. "We are there to try to help them to understand what the blanks should be, and then how to identify who to work with to get those filled in to move toward having a plan that is workable and functional in a time of crisis."

To gain that better understanding, the Connecting Communities workshops bring together local participants from various agencies including sheriff's offices, police, firefighters, emergency management, public schools, colleges, emergency response organizations and theme parks.

The workshops are held about 10 to 12 times a year around the nation, Kozub said. In three years, Rutgers University facilitators have held close to 30 such workshops in various parts of the U.S., from dense urban centers to smaller rural areas.

The course is based on the framework of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which emphasizes the four phases of the Emergency Management Process: response, recover, mitigation/prevention, and preparedness.

"If you're not prepared, you're going to have horrible response and recovery times, and being prepared helps you prevent incidents or incidents within those incidents," said Friedman. "You can't necessarily plan for a hurricane, but you can know how you are going to react when one hits."

During the Haiti relief efforts, Orlando became an important hub for various entities, including the military and various social services organizations.

"To this point, there have been more than 80 flights that have landed and 7,500-plus people, and we work with these folks to assist people at a time of need," Friedman said. "A key point of the workshop is that you have to be able to help people in a disaster, whether they are in your community or not, as well as be able to carry on your day-to-day operations."

To conduct a workshop in their area, transit systems can either request one through the FTA, which tries to select applicants based on several criteria including size and region, or apply for a grant through the Transportation Security Administration.

"Continually, we have found that anybody who is leaving these sessions has really found it valuable," said Kozub. "Some of that has to do with us not trying to go in there and tell them what to do, but instead teaching the necessary questions to ask when making an emergency plan."

 

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Denver RTD unveils its Flatiron Flyer BRT vehicle

The Flatiron Flyer buses, which were supplied by MCI and can carry 57 passengers each, are specially branded with a unique blue-and-sunrise-orange paint scheme designed by RTD and a U.S. 36 corridor stakeholder group.

Safe Fleet acquires Hadley's bus, motorcoach mirror product lines

The Hadley mirror business will remain in Elkhart, Ind., but will relocate from the Hadley site to its own production facility over the next few months. The management, engineering, customer service, administrative and production personnel of the Hadley mirror business will remain with the business and transition to Safe Fleet.

BusCon returns to Indy

Each year, more and more people look forward to BusCon as a chance to network, learn about new trends and technology, and gain the tools that are necessary to revitalize the way they tackle their own operations.

Project team wins award for N.Y. bus time displays

The countdown clocks were developed in part to address concerns about the overall accessibility of MTA’s Bus Time system, which sends wait-time information to riders via text message, a QR code scan, or over a web site.

Boston could benefit from more BRT, report says

The report argues that the city should be pushing for the “gold standard” of BRT. That would include a control station that monitors buses and ensures they come at well-spaced intervals and enclosed stops that shelter customers.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close