The National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) focuses on ensuring that the nation will be able to achieve recovery following any incident regardless of size or scale and considers the full spectrum of threats and hazards, including natural, technological/accidental and adversarial/human-caused. It encourages an inclusive recovery process, engaging traditional and nontraditional whole community partners, and provides a strategic and national approach to lead, manage and coordinate recovery efforts while increasing the resilience of our communities.
In the wake of Hurricane Irma’s widespread heavy rainfalls, high winds, inundating storm surges and coastal and inland flooding, staff from multiple federal agencies came to Florida to assist with the state and local communities. The Interagency Recovery Coordination group (IRC) was established by the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator to meet challenges presented by Hurricane Irma and ensure interagency coordination for disaster recovery. Under the guidance of the National Disaster Recovery Framework, there are six Recovery Support Functions (RSF), each led by a designated federal agency.
The Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator deployed all six RSF’s: Economic, Housing, Health and Social Services, Natural and Cultural Resources, Community Planning and Capacity Building and Infrastructure Systems to support the State of Florida as it recovers from Hurricane Irma. The IRC developed a Mission Scoping Assessment that is a summary of findings and issues identified by the six federal Recovery Support Functions supporting the NDRF mission in Florida. The Recovery Support Strategy (RSS) builds on the findings in the MSA and takes a holistic approach to developing comprehensive strategies for each recovery issue, regardless of which RSF identified them.
The RSFs facilitate the identification, coordination and delivery of recovery assistance. Teams of experts from across federal agencies collaborate with local and state leaders to provide resources that help impacted communities recover and rebuild in ways that increase the community’s ability to withstand future hurricanes. Once the state and local communities set their recovery goals, the RSFs offer technical guidance and training opportunities and identify additional types of financial assistance. This collaborative approach makes sure that local priorities are addressed and it also maximizes federal resources available to help communities and the state of Florida.
Florida is also delivering support by utilizing Coordinated Place Based Recovery Support (CPBRS) teams. CPBRS teams help communities get disaster recovery projects to the implementation stage with the goal of improving community disaster resilience.
Additionally, CPBRS teams help identify critical steps and resources for project implementation, including technical assistance and funding sources, grant timelines, data collection and analysis, cost projections, timelines, milestones, training and project management requirements.
To take full advantage of recovery resources, four IRC Advisers have been assigned to work with the RSFs. Each adviser is an experienced disaster recovery professional and a subject matter expert. The Unified Federal Review adviser, Philanthropy adviser, Disability Integration adviser and Mitigation adviser work with one another and across the RSFs to cut red tape, expedite assistance, promote an inclusive recovery and ensure that opportunities to increase resilience are considered whenever possible. The advisers assist the RSFs and state and local governments as they work together to restore, redevelop and revitalize communities impacted by Hurricane Irma.
Disaster recovery can be challenging and complex. To facilitate effective and efficient local recovery, the NDRF strongly recommends that local government leaders appoint a Local Disaster Recovery Manager (LDRM) to serve as the central manager for recovery coordination in the impacted communities.
The LDRM should be skilled in management, leadership, public administration, community planning and community development. Additionally, the LDRM should be able to represent and speak on behalf of their respective chief executive (e.g., mayor, tribal chief).
The federal government’s role in long-term recovery is especially important during the early weeks after a major disaster or catastrophic incident when many local, state, tribal, territorial and insular-area governments are overwhelmed with the response and short-term recovery efforts. Federal agencies participate in and support recovery planning, capacity building and mitigation efforts by providing training, technical guidance or other assistance as requested and needed.
Various options for a recovery coordination structure exist—what works in one place may not work in another. Different models exist for developing coordination structures and mechanisms, but they are not mutually exclusive; concepts can be integrated and used in a variety of ways, depending on what works best for the local, regional/metropolitan, and state, tribal, territorial or insular-area government. Determining the type of recovery coordination structure that best fits the impacted area is a critical milestone in managing an effective, efficient and equitable recovery process.