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15 C h a p t e r 3 Preparedness is a state of readiness that allows individuals or an enterprise to avoid, prevent, respond to, and recover from the effects of natural disasters, criminal acts, terrorism, or techno- logical incidents. Paratransit preparedness is built on a continuous cycle of planning, training, and exercising, with follow-up evaluation and performance monitoring to build personal and organizational capabilities. Personal preparedness focuses on building awareness, knowledge, and skills so people can operate equipment safely, follow procedures, and take other appropriate actions in an emergency. Paratransit organizational preparedness includes improving or upgrading equipment and facilities to better withstand or more readily recover from the effects of a disaster. 3.A Planning 3.A.1 Resource Capabilities Assessment A resource capabilities assessment is a detailed inventory of what resources your organization could utilize to support your own customers during an emergency, as well as to participate in community-wide emergency response efforts. This assessment includes vehicles, facilities, equip- ment, tools, and most importantly, your people and their individual talents and skills. A resource capabilities assessment includes an inventory of transit vehicles and their specific characteristics, transit facilities and their capacity to support emergency response, specialized transit equipment and tools that can assist emergency operations, and transit staff and the skill sets they possess. This assessment is not just the sum total of your assets; it also considers limitations. For example, if you plan to continue delivering essential services to your normal customers during an emergency, what is the spare capacity of vehicles and drivers that you can contribute to community emergency response? How long will it take to mobilize them? What could you provide if you cancel all but life-sustaining medical transportation? Once mobilized, can you maintain a maximum effort for the next 12, 24, or 48 hours? What will it take to return to normal after the emergency is over? These and other related questions are part of a realistic capabilities assessment. This assessment should be updated periodically to ensure it adequately reflects the current state of paratransit resource capabilities. The information gleaned from these assessments needs to be discussed in the context of likely emergency response scenarios. First, consider how you will address the essential needs of your own customers, and then have discussions with local (city or county) emergency management to develop a clear understanding of organizational capabilities, limitations, and expectations. This will help ensure that limited paratransit resources will be used effectively, focused on missions that do the most good for vulnerable members of the community. Preparedness
16 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Considerations âªâª In urban and suburban areas, fixed-route coaches and school buses are normally used for mass evacuation missions. Paratransit vehicles are more often focused on helping people with access and functional needs. âªâª It is important that emergency management understands the capabilities and limitations of paratransit. Emergency management may not consider how paratransit should support emer- gency response. If information is not shared in the planning process, the needs of people with access and functional needs and the resources to serve them may be over- or underestimated. âªâª Asset inventories are most helpful for advance-notice emergencies when plans to strategically pre-position and stage resources can be executed. In no-notice events, knowing the number of vehicles and drivers paratransit can provide on short notice may help emergency responders and incident commanders deploy those resources where and when they are needed most. Effective Practices âªâª Many paratransit systems maintain a current vehicle inventory based on class, type, capacity, and wheelchair accessibility. In some states, these vehicle inventories are reviewed annually as part of the system safety program plan. While an inventory is only part of a resource capabilities assessment, it is a key building block and a good way to get started. Strategy âªâª Conduct an assessment of your critical paratransit resources. Share this assessment with emergency management to aid in defining your potential role in community-wide emergency response plans. Emphasize your commitment to first and foremost serve your customers. âªâª The tool that follows provides a structure for gathering information on critical paratransit assets. Your asset analysis will include the number and special operating characteristics of each type of paratransit revenue vehicle and non-revenue support vehicle. It should also include an assessment of paratransit facilities and ancillary equipment that could be used to support emergency response activities. Another essential component is the number of drivers, mechanics, dispatchers, and supervisory staff available for deployment during emergency operations. Tool: Resource Capabilities Assessment Assess the following paratransit resource capabilities and update the assessment periodically to ensure it adequately reflects the current state of your paratransit resource capabilities. Vehicles Revenue fleet size and availability: â Total number of passenger-carrying revenue service vehicles â Number committed during peak service hours, off-peak hours, nights, and weekends â Average number of spare vehicles available during peak and off-peak hours â Average number of spare vehicles out of service due to scheduled, unscheduled or long-term maintenance issues Revenue fleet passenger capacity by vehicle type: â Total, all seats and securement spaces occupied â Total seated capacity for ambulatory passengers â Maximum number of securement spaces
preparedness 17 Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Critical Asset Analysis Form http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3319 A rating system to determine the levels of criticality and vulnerability of a transit organiza- tionâs critical assets. âªâª Capabilities Assessment Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3104 Checklist to assist transit agencies in conducting a capabilities assessment to determine whether their system has targeted security measures and preparedness planning procedures in place. Revenue fleet year, make, and model by vehicle type: â Engine make and model â Fuel type and estimated range â Length, width, height, turning radius, and turning circle â Floor plan of vehicle Non-revenue and support vehicles: â Any heavy-duty service trucks or tow trucks â Light-duty trucks or vans â Sedans or passenger cars â Any other equipment, such as tractors or backhoes Facilities â Operations and maintenance facilities that could be used for staging and ser- vicing emergency response vehicles, including both your own equipment and equipment from other transportation agencies â Paratransit facilities that have the potential for sheltering and feeding your employees, their families, or other responders from outside the area â Tools or other equipment that could be useful in supporting emergency response, including generators, portable lights, air compressors, chain saws or other power tools Capability and Availability of Personnel Drivers: â Number of drivers available during peak and off-peak operating periods â Roster of extra board, off-duty, or part-time drivers that could be called in â Realistic estimates of the time required to mobilize drivers on short notice Maintenance staff capability: â Number of mechanics and service workers qualified to work on your vehicles and vehicles other than your own â Number of maintenance and service workers that could fill other roles or assignments if called on to do so Dispatchers, supervisors, managers, and other staff: â Number of staff that can serve in supervisory or dispatching roles during emergency operations â Number of staff, other than drivers or mechanics, that are available to fill critical needs based on their experience or expertise
18 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook âªâª Vehicle Inventory Database http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4229 This worksheet is the spec or design of a potential vehicle inventory database. The idea is to collect all the vital info on each vehicle and put it in the database so dispatchers or supervisors can call up a ârecordâ and find out anything they might need to know about a vehicle. For ICS, it provides a complete description of a âresource,â namely, the vehicle. 3.A.2 Emergency Support Function 1 (ESF-1) Coordination The National Response Framework (NRF) includes fifteen emergency support functions (ESFs) covering core areas of responsibility for emergency response and recovery. Under this system, ESF-1 is transportation. Some states utilize slightly different structures that parallel, but are not identical to, the national ESF system. From a practical perspective, an emergency response mission for transportation involves two primary functions: evacuation and reentry. It is generally assumed that most of the population will evacuate in private automobiles. Most emergency evacuation plans anticipate using school and transit buses for the needs of transit-dependent citizens, and some plans include paratransit resources for those with access and functional needs. Some plans anticipate calling in private contractors or assume that buses from neighboring jurisdictions will be mobilized. Unless there is a coordinated plan to marshal these diverse resources, they will not be effectively deployed. Frequently, the transportation representative within the EOC has experience with highways but limited experience with public transit and even less with paratransit. This lack of experience/ expertise can lead to paratransit being underutilized, overextended, or inappropriately deployed during a community emergency. Paratransitâs primary focus during emergencies will be to provide life-sustaining transportation services to its customers. When paratransit managers have an active role in community-wide emergency operations, they can better coordinate resources to support emergency transportation requests, disseminate emergency information to paratransit customers, and provide external stakeholders with perspective on the needs of paratransit clients. Secondary use of paratransit vehicles during community emergencies may include the provision of transportation for emergency responders; the distribution of food, water, or other supplies; and temporary shelter or respite location for responders and/or the public. Considerations âªâª In urban/suburban areas, it is common for the transit system to have a seat in the EOC. Problems can arise if there is insufficient communication and coordination between transit and paratransit. âªâª Many rural/tribal paratransit providers do not have a formal role at their local EOC, a short- coming that tends to negatively impact response capabilities. âªâª In emergencies with advance notice, where the EOC is activated prior to the event, paratransit can play an effective role in identifying and evacuating individuals with access and functional needs. âªâª In no-notice emergencies, the EOC is activated after the disaster has occurred. Lack of prior planning reduces the likelihood of paratransit being included in unified command. Effective Practices âªâª A proven approach to overcoming coordination challenges is to marshal all transportation resources under ESF-1. In such instances, agency representatives from transit, paratransit, and other transportation agencies sit within the ESF-1 group of the Operations or Logistics
preparedness 19 section of the EOC. Using this approach, when the EOC identifies the need for transportation resources, they notify the lead for ESF-1 who then deploys the appropriate resources to sup- port the mission request. Strategy âªâª Work with local emergency management and other transportation providers in your area to create a transportation operations plan for emergency response and define the role of your paratransit agency within that plan. Tool: ESF-1 Coordination â Determine how transportation resources will be managed through the local EOC and who will be assigned as the lead agency. â Make sure the role of paratransit is clearly defined. In smaller communities, paratransit may be asked to take a lead role. â If so requested, designate a representative who could be sent to the EOC to represent your agency during emergencies. â Have a representative from your agency participate in meetings that include all transportation agencies within your service area to discuss roles and responsibilities in emergency response and recovery. â Establish a reliable communication system to connect your paratransit dispatch center or your transportation Departmental Emergency Operations Center (DOC) to the local EOC in emergencies. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Transportation and Emergency Preparedness Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3346 Developed by the National Consortium on Human Services Transportation, this checklist was designed as a tool for the planning process prior to an emergency situation to ensure safe and appropriate transportation for transportation-dependent populations, including the elderly, persons with disabilities, and individuals without access to personal transportation in an emergency situation. âªâª Implications for Public Transportation Agencies http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4132 http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/156130.aspx Excerpt from Section 2 of TCRP Report 86: Public Transportation Security, Volume 7: Public Transportation Emergency Mobilization and Emergency Operations Guide that provides a list of recommended emergency planning activities transit systems might consider utilizing. âªâª An Outline for Developing a Local Transit System Emergency Management Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3750 Excerpt from the Texas Department of Transportationâs âGuidebook for Emergency Management Planning for Texas Transit Agenciesâ that presents outlines for a transit agency emergency plan and for a local emergency plan annex. âªâª Disaster Response: Lessons Learned in Kansas http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3833 An article from the April 2008 Kansas Trans Reporter newsletter that discusses lessons learned regarding what has gone well and what has not for Kansas area transit agencies that have responded to natural disasters.
20 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook âªâª Emergency Support Function 1âTransportation AnnexâFEMA http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4150 The Transportation Annex document from FEMA that outlines the purpose of the ESF-1 function. âªâª A County ESF-1 Transportation Annex Example http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4153 An example of a countyâs ESF-1 Transportation Group Annex from the website of the Fairfax County, Virginia, government website. 3.A.3 Interagency Coordination To effectively serve your customers during emergencies, your agency needs to coordinate emergency transportation services with its human service partners and medical service providers as well as other key stakeholders. It is critical that paratransit agencies discuss with local hospitals and other medical facilities, such as dialysis clinics, the likelihood of life-sustaining health services being unavailable during an emergency. This discussion would include ascertaining whether these facilities have backup power generators to allow them to continue operating when an emergency involves long power outages within a community. A good approach would be for paratransit to identify alternative locations where passengers could be transported for life-sustaining care if the primary location is no longer in operation. This coordination and communication between paratransit agencies and medical care providers should take place from the onset of an emergency until after the emergency has passed and medical care providers are able to resume operating on a normal schedule. This critical concern is best addressed through good up-front planning involving paratransit providers, medical care facilities, and partner human service agencies. Because key community emergency management decisions are made at LEPC meetings involving law enforcement, fire and rescue, public health, and other partner agencies, it is essential for paratransit to be involved. When transit and paratransit managers do not engage or are not invited into the emergency planning process, it can lead to serious gaps in Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs). Proactive paratransit providers work hard to ensure they have a voice at the emer- gency planning table. Sometimes getting a voice at the table takes a âpushâ from state emergency management, the state department of transportation (DOT), local political leadership, or advocates. Considerations âªâª In urban/suburban areas, the local transit system may participate on the LEPC, but frequently the paratransit division is not involved. As a result, emergency management may make assumptions on how to use transportation resources without full consideration of paratransit capabilities and paratransit clients. âªâª In designated high-risk metropolitan areas of the United States, interagency coordination also occurs through the UASI. This program provides funding to address the unique planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas related to terrorist threat. âªâª In rural/tribal settings, paratransit providers are often left out of the LEPC process. Thus, plans to serve individuals with access and functional needs during community emergencies may not be fully developed. Effective Practices âªâª Paratransit assigns a safety or operations manager to work with local emergency management and participate in the LEPC along with law enforcement, fire and rescue, public health, and other partner agencies. This individual frequently will serve as paratransitâs agency representative at the local EOC during an emergency event.
preparedness 21 Strategy âªâª Be proactive in soliciting invitations from emergency management and/or other key stake- holders to participate in local and/or regional emergency planning meetings. LEPC meetings or UASI meetings are often the platforms for most successfully interfacing with partner agen- cies and/or emergency management. Once your agency receives an invitation, be sure a rep- resentative attends all meetings. This will ensure the highest level of interagency coordination within the community emergency planning and preparedness process. Tool: Interagency Coordination â Work with internal paratransit staff and partner agencies to develop plans to serve your customers during emergencies. â Identify the individual or individuals responsible for the emergency management function within your paratransit service area and contact them to set up a meeting(s). If your paratransit operation covers multiple counties, you will need to contact multiple emergency managers. â Appoint a representative from your agency to interface with emergency management. â Discuss with emergency management the best utilization of your paratransit resources in support of a community-wide emergency response. â During emergency planning meetings, reinforce the need to engage in pro- ductive dialogue on the most effective and coordinated use of paratransit resources in support of community emergency response. â Be proactive and aggressive with emergency management. If necessary, solicit guidance from the state Office of Emergency Management and/or the state DOT, and/or find a champion within city or county government to ensure participation in the emergency planning process. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª TRB Special Report 294: The Role of Transit in Emergency Evacuation http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3800 http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/160047.aspx This report explores the roles that transit systems can play in accommodating the evacuation, egress, and ingress of people from and to critical locations in times of emergency. âªâª Response and Recovery for Declared Emergencies and Disasters http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3348 This document addresses response and recovery actions that transit agencies can take, including securing funding and reimbursement for restoring services following a declared emergency or disaster. It is written specifically for transit agencies that are either affected by a declared emergency or disaster or that offer services to an affected community or region. It applies to all modes of transit and to all types of declared emergencies and disasters. âªâª Supporting Community Evacuation http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3762 http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/156130.aspx This excerpt from Chapter 5 of TCRP Report 86: Public Transportation Security, Volume 7: Public Transportation Emergency Mobilization and Emergency Operations Guide describes activities
22 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook that transportation systems may take to improve their capabilities to support community evacuations. âªâª Elements of Interorganizational Agreements http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3746 This excerpt from the âGuidebook for Emergency Management Planning for Texas Transit Agenciesâ explains what the content of interorganizational agreements or MOUs relating to emergency planning and procedures should encompass. âªâª Local Emergency Planning Committees Purpose http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3906 This document was developed by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (www. nema.ne.gov) to provide a description of LEPCs and explain their purpose. âªâª Local Emergency Planning Committee Handbook http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3908 This handbook from the Texas Department of Public Safety was developed to provide LEPCs with the guidance needed to make the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act and related state laws work. âªâª Locate your LEPC http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3907 This website allows agencies to search for LEPCs by state or zip code. âªâª Illustration of Roles Transit Plays in Emergency Evacuation http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4170 This illustration from TRB Special Report 294 lists the primary roles that five transit systems take on during emergency evacuations in their respective cities. âªâª National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Project 20-59(32), âA Trans- portation Guide for All-Hazards Emergency Evacuationâ http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=2607 This project provides an all-hazards emergency evacuation guide for transportation and emergency management agencies that identifies, reviews, and integrates a range of resources necessary for state transportation agencies to plan, train, exercise, and execute all-hazards emergency evacuations. The primary audiences are those at the state and local level who are responsible for planning (and execution or support) of an evacuation within a state, includ- ing but not limited to transportation, public safety, and emergency management. The guide will be of interest to other entities involved in support of evacuations, including transit, para- transit, advisors on access and functional needs, fire and rescue, law enforcement, public works, and health and human services, as appropriate, to be able to mobilize evacuation resources and make well-considered tactical decisions. The guide is designed to be applicable on a state, multi-state, or cross-jurisdictional border basis. 3.A.4 Essential Material Supply Your agency will need to address how it will obtain the essential materials required to provide life-supporting transportation services to its customers during an emergency, as well as to assist emergency management in disaster response, if called upon to do so. A supply chain disruption during or after an emergency may curtail essential services for vulnerable populations, including transportation for dialysis or other life-sustaining medical treatment. Thus, your agency needs priority access to fuel, backup power, and other essential supplies to maintain operations. Mission-critical resources for paratransit include fuel, communications systems, dispatching systems, petty cash, and contingency contracts for goods and services. Fuel is the most critical commodity. There may be competition for fuel supplies and other goods and services based
preparedness 23 on local hazard and threat scenarios. The greater the competition for these resources, the more advanced planning is required. Considerations âªâª In urban/suburban areas, paratransit agencies may have on-site fuel storage capacity, as well as partners in local or regional government to provide reliable sources for fuel or other mission- critical resources. Large agencies are also more likely to have alternative facilities for dispatching and staging vehicles. However, advance planning is required to ensure that backup systems and Mutual Aid Agreements (MAAs) are operational. âªâª In rural/tribal settings, paratransit agencies often rely on commercial suppliers for fuel and other commodities and are less likely to have contingency contracts with other vendors or MAAs with local government. âªâª With advance-notice events, there is time to requisition and stock up on critical resources. As such, the publicâs expectations regarding emergency response and recovery will be higher. For no-notice events, agencies will have to get by with supplies on hand; therefore, those with storage capacity (or full tanks) can sustain operations the longest. Effective Practices âªâª Self-reliance and on-site storage capacity is the most desirable strategy for fuel supplies. Paratransit providers have successfully used security and emergency preparedness grants to upgrade operational facilities, increase on-site fuel storage and purchase backup generators and power systems. âªâª In some regions, the agency that leads the ESF-1 function takes the lead in fuel procurement. Emergency management will work with state, county, or municipal entities and private fuel vendors to guarantee that transit and paratransit are a high priority for fuel supplies. âªâª A three-day supply of food and water stored at the paratransit base for employees is very helpful in supporting any extended emergency deployment. Strategy âªâª Local resource availability during an emergency is critical to paratransit emergency response capabilities. The greater the competition for resources to support long-term emergency response, the greater the need for advance planning. These plans should include redundancy for critical resources such as fuel, backup electrical power, and other essential resources such as food and water for staff and hard copy backups of critical documents. Access to essential material supply may require close coordination with emergency management and other key public and/or private stakeholders. Tool: Essential Material Supply The following issues are to be considered as a part of the paratransit planning process. Fuel supply: â Off-site fueling: primary vendor and backup sources â On-site fueling: facilities, storage capacity, underground or above-ground tanks â The length of time you can operate without getting a fuel delivery â Types of fuel required
24 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Resource for Urban/Suburban Areas âªâª Recommended Practice for a Continuity of Operations Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4125 This document is a recommended practice from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for creating and implementing a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). Resources for Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª TCRP Report 86: Public Transportation Security/NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transpor- tation Security, Volume 8: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guidelines for Trans- portation Agencies http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=2987 http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/156474.aspx The purpose of this report is to assist transportation agencies in evaluating and modifying existing operations plans, policies, and procedures, as called for in NIMS. âªâª COOP Planning Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4152 This checklist is from TCRP Report 86/NCHRP Report 525, Volume 8: Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planning Guidelines for Transportation Agencies to assist in developing a COOP from the beginning. 3.A.5 Duplication of Emergency Service Obligations Emergency transportation plans must account for the needs of people with communication, transportation, health, independence, and support-system limitations for local incidents as â Vendor contracts or purchase orders with primary sources of fuel for on- or off-site fuel servicing â Agency position on the vendorâs priority list â Vendor commitments to other entities that could compromise your access to essential material supply â Alternative or backup sources of fuel if the primary source is unavailable â City or county yard â School district â State DOT â The ability of your agency to supply other responders who may need fuel Electrical power: â Battery backup systems for computers and servers â Critical computer data backed up and stored off-site â Access to a backup generator that is regularly maintained and tested â Emergency lighting, flashlights and batteries â Batteries for radios and cell phones Other resources: â Provision for food and water for staff in an emergency â Hard copy backups of critical information including trip manifests, dispatch or incident logs, mission requests and operational orders â Provision for housing of staff in an emergency
preparedness 25 well as community-wide disasters that can overwhelm local resources. Problems can arise when paratransit providers are knowingly or unknowingly written into emergency plans for social service agencies and resident care centers. In such instances, paratransit may feel obligated to hold back staff and vehicles in order to meet these service obligations, especially if contracted to do so. Multiple simultaneous service requests may also overwhelm paratransit resources. To ensure paratransit is able to meet its primary obligation to customers and, if necessary, support community emergency response, it is essential that paratransit not overcommit its resources. There should be clear dialogue on this issue between paratransit providers, paratransit partner agencies, and emergency management during the planning process. Considerations âªâª Duplication of emergency service obligations may not be apparent in response to local incidents but can become a more significant problem for large-scale disasters where resource limitations have more serious and immediate life-safety impacts. âªâª In urban/suburban settings, transit coaches are more often utilized to support evacuation requests, while paratransit resources are used to sustain regular paratransit operations. âªâª In rural/tribal settings, paratransit/demand-response service is more often the only public transit resource. With limited resources available, overcommitment is compounded by lack of involvement with local emergency management in the planning process. âªâª Duplication of emergency response commitments occurs during notice and no-notice events, but during no-notice emergencies there is less time to assess and respond to evacuation needs and less opportunity for effective interagency communication and coordination. Effective Practices âªâª In many states, resident care centers are required to have evacuation plans. Some parts of the country ensure these plans are coordinated to help identify and eliminate dangerous service duplication concerns. âªâª In some states, resident care centers are directed to develop their own evacuation plans using their own resources or private carriers rather than relying on public transit or paratransit resources. âªâª In practice, all service requests for evacuation should be coordinated through the local EOC ensuring that mission assignments are operating in support of the Incident Action Plan. Strategy âªâª Successful paratransit planning includes strategies to prioritize multiple requests for paratransit resources, thus ensuring that emergency response commitments to customers and outside entities are achievable. Participate in planning meetings with emergency management, human service agencies, resident care centers, and other key stakeholders to clearly delineate paratransit priorities in emergency response and recovery. These priorities also need to be reflected in your paratransit emergency operation plans and protocols. Tool: Prioritizing Service Obligations â Before committing resources to emergency management in support of com- munity-wide emergency response or entering into contracts to assist with evacuating resident care centers, consider the potential negative impact on your ability to meet your own customersâ emergency transportation needs.
26 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Checklist for Capabilities Assessment Summary and Transit Resources Available http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3745 A form from the âGuidebook for Emergency Management Planning for Texas Transit Agenciesâ for listing community emergency response services that a transit agency is able to perform and resources that a transit system is able to provide in the event of a community emergency. âªâª Congregate and Residential Care Facilities http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4166 Chapter 6 of FHWAâs âEvacuating Populations with Special Needsâ discusses the transporta- tion needs for evacuating congregate and residential care facilities (CRCF) and the associated adaptive equipment. 3.A.6 Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness Plans Forward-thinking paratransit providers have plans that address safety, security, and emergency preparedness. Guidance in developing these plans is often provided by local, state, and federal entities as well as peer paratransit providers that have experience in responding to disasters. The specific focus of these plans is generally as follows: âªâª A system safety program plan addresses (1) vehicle safety, (2) worker safety, and (3) customer safety. It is intended for wide distribution internally, with partner agencies, and with the public. âªâª A system security plan addresses security threats from criminal or terrorist elements to (1) transit facilities, (2) transit equipment, and (3) transit personnel and customers. Due to the sensitive nature of a System Security Plan, it is distributed internally and shared with partners on a need-to-know basis. âªâª A paratransit agencyâs Emergency Operations Plan addresses internal paratransit issues regard- ing (1) paratransit command and control, (2) paratransit continuity of operations, (3) paratransit incident response operations, and (4) paratransit post-event recovery. Paratransit EOPs are often shared with emergency management and included as an annex to the overall EOP. For many paratransit agency managers, dispatchers, and drivers, emergency response actions are improvised because emergency response plans and protocols have not been formalized. Effective paratransit EOPs should be distilled into checklists providing the level â Urge resident care centers to develop evacuation plans that do not rely on paratransit as a primary resource. â Work with emergency management to establish realistic expectations for paratransitâs role in supporting community emergency response and to prioritize competing service requests. â During major emergencies, coordinate with the local EOC to ensure that paratransit operational assignments are consistent with the overall mission and the previously agreed-upon paratransit emergency response role. â Be prepared to augment reservations and scheduling staff to manage increased demand, to notify customers of trip cancellations, and to handle service-related inquiries and urgent requests from customers and concerned family members.
preparedness 27 of detail needed for effective response by drivers, dispatchers, maintenance staff, supervisors, and managers. An important concept in addressing safety concerns includes collecting safety data related to vehicle accidents and passenger/employee incidents. This data can be analyzed for accident and incident trends that can then be proactively addressed by the paratransit agency. Safety- or security-related ânear-missâ data involves collecting information about when an accident is narrowly averted or an on-vehicle security threat does not come to fruition. This data can be helpful in addressing concerns to lower paratransit vulnerability. For more information on developing safety, security, and emergency operation plans, policies, and procedures, visit the FTA Bus Safety and Security Program website at http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov. Considerations âªâª Paratransit safety considerations are similar for paratransit providers in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal areas, with the exception of traffic volume. âªâª Paratransit security concerns tend to be greater in urban/suburban areas than in rural/tribal areas, as the prevalence of crime and the risk of terrorism tend to be greater in urban centers. âªâª Regardless of agency size, location, and composition, emergency plans should provide paratransit staff with clear response protocols that apply to all types of emergency events, with or without prior warning or preparation. Effective Practices âªâª Where the state DOT takes an active role in safety, security, and emergency management oversight, paratransit will often receive technical assistance. This includes planning templates provided by the state DOT; training on safety, security, and emergency procedures; and support for local and regional exercises and interagency coordination. This eases the burden of plan development and fosters continuity across jurisdictions. âªâª Some paratransit agencies have developed job- and location-specific emergency procedures, protocols, and checklists for managers, supervisors, dispatchers, drivers, and mechanics. Incident-specific checklists based on paratransit emergency planning can be kept on a computer for dispatchers, put in a binder or on a clipboard for supervisors, or printed on laminated cards for drivers. (The resource section includes links to emergency procedures and protocol examples.) âªâª In a number of states, emergency preparedness and response capabilities are considered when evaluating grant applications. This gives paratransit an added incentive for supporting their emergency preparedness program. âªâª It is helpful when FTA Regional Offices are proactive in providing emergency preparedness guidance to transit and paratransit providers. The FTA Bus Safety and Security Program is an excellent source of emergency preparedness technical assistance material. Strategy âªâª Paratransit normal operations and emergency operations are well served by a system safety program plan, system security plan, and a paratransit EOP. The models for preparing these plans are varied. Some transit agencies combine all three into a single document; some have separate safety, security and emergency preparedness plans. The approach taken is far less important than the content of the planning document(s). These plans should include policies, procedures and protocols to enhance the safety of paratransit operations; to improve the security of paratransit personnel, customers, vehicles and facilities; and to meet paratransit customer emergency transportation needs and/or support community-wide emergency response and recovery.
28 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Tool: Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness Plans Topics to consider within an Emergency Operations Plan: â Preparedness â Who has the authority, both internally and externally, to make emergency response decisions and issue directions â Mechanism to assess emergency situations and initiate timely reaction strategies â Emergency assignments for key personnel â Continuity of management/line of succession â Alert notification lists â Intra-agency and interagency communication systems â Designation of an emergency dispatch center and alternate backup â Inventory and maintenance of vehicles and equipment â Training requirements â Protection of vital records â Interagency agreements â Response â Service suspension thresholds â Meeting customer emergency transportation needs â Interface with emergency management and first responders â Public information/communications â Actions of management staff during an emergency â Actions of dispatch and supervisory staff during an emergency â Actions of drivers, maintenance, and other field staff during an emergency â Vehicle mobilization, communication, and operations â Recovery â Crisis counseling for staff â Damage assessment/impact/evaluation â Cleanup and salvage operations â Business restoration/reconstitution â Finance, insurance, and reimbursement â Data recovery Topics to consider within a paratransit system safety program plan: â Authority and policy statement for system safety program plan â Purpose and goals of system safety program plan â Identifiable and attainable safety objectives â System description/organizational structure â Procedures to update plan â Procedures for controlling release of plan â Hazard identification/resolution process â Accident/incident reporting and investigation â Safety data acquisition/analysis â Safety incident record keeping â Safety near-miss reporting â Safety data trend analysis â Inspection process for facilities, equipment, and rolling stock â Maintenance audits/inspections (all systems and facilities) â Rules/procedures review â System modification review/approval process â Training and certification review/audit
preparedness 29 â Interdepartmental/interagency coordination â Risks in your operating environment â Safety of your passenger facilities â Employee safety program â Contractor safety coordination â Drug and alcohol abuse programs â Procurement â Hazardous materials programs â Safety related to alternative fuels such as CNG Topics to consider within a paratransit system security plan: â Threat and vulnerability assessment â Identification of criminal or terrorist threats â Vulnerability of critical paratransit assets â Facility security â Administrative offices â Maintenance facilities â Transfer centers â Vehicle storage areas â Administrative security â Security roles and responsibilities â Computer and electronics security â Hard copy files â Bomb threats â Suspicious mail â Security of fare handling â Fare handling and counting procedures â Fare transfer â Handling security events on paratransit vehicles â On-vehicle security technology â Handling dangerous passengers â Responding to hostage situations â Responding to suspicious items â Requesting law enforcement assistance â Security awareness and response â Identifying suspicious people, behavior, and vehicles â Procedures for reporting suspicions â Security awareness and response training â Security data acquisition and analysis â Security incident record keeping â Security near-miss reporting â Security data trend analysis Resources for Urban/Suburban Areas âªâª Manual for the Development of Bus Transit System Safety Program Plans http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=2951 Prepared by APTA, this document serves as a primer and guideline for both new start and established bus systems in defining the elements recommended for inclusion in a system safety program plan.
30 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook âªâª Recommended Practice for the Development and Implementation of a Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan (SEPP) http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3916 This APTA-recommended practice for the development and implementation of a security and emergency preparedness plan represents a common viewpoint of those parties concerned with its provisions, namely transit operating/planning agencies (transit systems), manufacturers, consultants, engineers and general interest groups. âªâª Protective Measures Implementation Process and Worksheets http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4130 This site features a process and checklist taken from the âTransit Agency Security and Emergency Management Protective Measuresâ document. The objective of this general imple- mentation process is to integrate the Homeland Security Advisory System threat conditions with a transit agencyâs security and emergency management program using an applicable subset of protective measures. âªâª System Hazard and Security Plan (HSP) Template and Instructions http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=2971 http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=2972 A template published by TRB to guide the development of a transit agency plan that deals with security events from routine to severe and identifies specific threats, organizational and personnel roles and responsibilities, and countermeasure and strategy activities. âªâª Checklists for Emergency Response Planning and System Security http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3562 A checklist from APTAâs website that provides guidance for emergency response planning, coordination, and training. Resources for Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Bus Transit System Safety and Security Review Template http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3016 This Florida DOT template for developing or revising system safety and security program plans references Florida state code for easy compliance verification. âªâª Passenger, Vehicle, and System Safety Program Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3018 The Buncombe County Community Transportation Program guide for preventing accidents and injuries to customers, employees, and the general public lists resources for completing all of the necessary reports for accountability to safety. âªâª Managing System Safety for Rural Transit http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3116 This briefing from the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) outlines steps for rural transit agencies to develop and implement a system safety plan. âªâª Skagit Transit System Safety Program Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3055 This plan establishes methods for ensuring that the safety implications of system modi- fications are addressed prior to making changes and provides a mechanism for identifying, eliminating, and/or controlling hazards. âªâª Missouri Model Transit Bus Safety and Security Program http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3379 This document provides a sample safety and security program from the Missouri DOT, Transit Section. âªâª System Security and Emergency Preparedness Plan (SSEPP) Template http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3007 This detailed, yet generic, template from the Ohio DOT may assist agencies in developing an SSEPP by using a âfill-in-the-blankâ approach.
preparedness 31 âªâª Model System Security Program Plan Template http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=2975 This Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development template is to assist transit agencies in developing a comprehensive system security program plan. âªâª Safety and Security Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4022 This document is a sample plan from the Tillamook County Transportation District. âªâª Developing an Emergency Operations Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4133 This excerpt from Section 4 of TCRP Report 86: Public Transportation Security, Volume 7: Public Transportation Emergency Mobilization and Emergency Operations Guide provides guidance to transit agencies in developing a comprehensive EOP. âªâª Sample Emergency Preparedness Plan http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3026 This sample emergency preparedness plan worksheet from the Center for Urban Transporta- tion Research (CUTR) uses an easy-to-follow outline structure to guide users in developing an emergency preparedness plan. âªâª Disaster Information from FEMA http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4134 This link to FEMAâs website can assist with finding information on declared disasters and emergencies and disaster aid programs. âªâª Disaster Response and Evacuation Policy http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3937 This resource outlines disaster response policy and procedures and includes a notification and deployment/evacuation checklist. It was developed by the Southeast Alabama Regional Planning & Development Commission. âªâª Emergency Response Functional Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3942 This checklist from Wiregrass Transit Authority provides a list of tasks for emergency notification, deployment, and evacuation. âªâª Transit Operating Procedures for Safety and Security http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3128 This in-depth guide was written for the New Mexico DOT to aid transit agencies in devel- oping standard operating procedures, emergency operating procedures, and transit security procedures; it comes with numerous standardized forms. âªâª Guidance for Paratransit Emergency Planning http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4180 This document outlines the results of a study conducted in 2008 to improve preparedness of ADA paratransit for emergencies. The following are a few of the topics addressed: responding to requests for transportation assistance during a disaster, including from other agencies; ensuring contractor preparedness and staff availability, including contract provisions about contractor staff obligation; prioritizing trips; and registries of paratransit customers who will need assistance during an emergency. Sample Emergency Protocols âªâª Transit Property Trespass http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4111 âªâª Suspicious Item on Transit Vehicle http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3582 âªâª Emergency Management Requests Transit Assistance http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3583
32 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook âªâª Dangerous Person(s) on Transit Property http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3584 âªâª Dangerous Person on Transit Vehicle http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3585 âªâª Shooter or Hostage Situation on Transit Vehicle http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3586 âªâª Suspicious Item in or near Transit Facility http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3587 âªâª Serious Transit Vehicle Accident/Incident http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3589 âªâª Transit Vehicle Fire http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3590 âªâª Armed Robbery http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3974 âªâª Bomb Threat/Suspicious Device http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4094 âªâª Vehicle Fire http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4095 âªâª Facility Hazmat http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4098 âªâª Facility Fire http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4099 âªâª Natural Disaster http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4100 âªâª Transit Medical Emergency http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4102 âªâª Criminal Acts on Transit Property http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4103 âªâª Injury/Assault http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4104 âªâª Security-Sensitive Information http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4106 âªâª Suspicious Mail http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4107 âªâª Power Outage http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4108 âªâª Transit Property Theft http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4110 3.A.7 Surge Capacity Paratransit agencies that are part of a government entity frequently have personnel policies that designate staff as âemergency response workers.â In cases where emergency service is not mandated, some agencies develop âvolunteer listsâ of personnel who indicate they are willing to work in support of an emergency response. Regardless, experience from recent disasters demonstrates that paratransit drivers, dispatchers, supervisors, and mechanics may be unable to report to work due to disaster effects, as well as concerns for personal or family welfare. This can result in insufficient staff to support operations. In a major community-wide or regional disaster event, emergency response operational periods are typically twelve hours long, which may run counter to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) and applicable state regulations for driving and on-duty hours. Twelve-hour shifts (or twelve on and twelve off) may be feasible for paratransit drivers as long
preparedness 33 as the duty cycle includes non-driving time and total driving time does not exceed ten hours per shift. Since emergency response activities often continue for extended hours and even days, issues of driver fatigue and relief shifts inevitably arise. Managing staff hours and preventing fatigue is an obvious health and safety issue. In general, paratransit providers will want their own trained and qualified personnel to operate their vehicles. However, in a large-scale emergency it may be necessary to bring in additional drivers from neighboring jurisdictions or to utilize public safety, public works, or National Guard personnel to augment local staff. Many states allow law enforcement or emergency responders to commandeer vehicles (for example, to enter a contaminated or dangerous environment). The planning process needs to address concerns related to licensing, vehicle orientation and training, insurance, liability, and cost recovery. Considerations âªâª Paratransit providersâlarge or small, urban or ruralâmay experience a lower percentage of staff reporting to work during emergencies than anticipated. Accurately estimating the number of employees willing and able to report for duty during a community emergency presents a significant challenge. âªâª No-notice emergencies are particularly challenging because there is no lead-time for mobiliza- tion. Mobilizing employees for emergency response is doubly challenging if power, telephone and cell phone service has been disrupted. âªâª In many states, a sworn officer can waive the Passenger Endorsement requirement for otherwise properly licensed drivers to operate vehicles in an emergency situation. Effective Practices âªâª The best mobilization plans are built around a detailed personnel roster that defines roles, responsibilities, and duty stations for each person. The roster works as a call-down list, so each position has a âprimaryâ as well as âbackupsâ identified. âªâª A personal and family preparedness orientation increases the likelihood that staff will be pre- pared to report to work to support emergency response and will help management gain a realistic picture of who will be available should a disaster strike. âªâª Establishing operational periods that provide for sufficient rest and recuperation for essential personnel, as well as providing adequate food and water for all staff involved in the response, helps limit the impact of extended operational hours. Strategy âªâª Develop a formal policy defining the responsibilities and report-to-work requirements for essential personnel. This policy should include a mechanism to determine the number of available frontline staff that will report during emergencies and strategies to sustain paratransit emergency response operations as long as necessary with plans for driver relief. âªâª Since there may be situations when non-paratransit personnel may be assigned to operate your paratransit vehicles during an emergency response, planning should also consider procedures for training external personnel on paratransit vehicle operation. Tool: Addressing Surge Capacity Essential Personnel Approaches to mobilizing paratransit employees during emergencies: â Develop a personnel policy that designates paratransit job positions that must report to work during emergencies. Designated personnel will include
34 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook managers, supervisors, dispatchers, mechanics, and drivers. This policy must be consistent with appropriate governmental or private-sector protocol, union contract language, and paratransit system mission and values. â In lieu of, or in addition to, an essential personnel policy, create a structure enabling employees with significant family obligations to deselect themselves from emergency response activities. This gives management a more accurate assessment of the number of employees that can be expected to report to work to support an emergency response. â Maintain contact information and call-down lists in a database application that serves as the master list. Assign a single staff member to keep the data accurate and up-to-date. Ideally, the information can be accessed and formatted in a variety of ways from a single source of data, e.g., remotely via the Internet, posted on a wall, laminated and kept at home, or placed on a clipboard in a vehicle. â Establish a phone number where employees can call for pre-recorded informa- tion about emergency operations. Vehicle Operations Approaches to maximizing the number of qualified, trained paratransit drivers: â Flexible and part-time staffing: Having more drivers than vehicles reduces the need for supplementing driving staff in an emergency mobilization and increases the flexibility of day-to-day operations. Agencies that employ part- time drivers may be able to meet temporary demands by increasing the hours of part-time staff. â Maintenance personnel: Mechanics and service workers routinely drive para- transit vehicles and, based on vehicle type, may be required to possess a CDL. They can fill in for driving tasks to the extent their on-duty hours are not exceeded. Additional training on passenger securement and passenger sensi- tivity may be required. â Mandated driver qualifications: Make it organizational policy for supervisors, managers, and other staff to maintain their CDLs if the paratransit fleet requires a CDL. Provide refresher training on a regular basis. â Mutual aid: Coordinate with neighboring school districts, transit agencies, or other governmental motor-pool services to add drivers to your paratransit staff in emergencies. â Contract service: Include language in paratransit service contracts to address the option of augmenting driving staff and vehicles from the contractorâs regional/national resources. Applicable DOT and CDL driving and on-duty service rules you should consider: â Drivers are limited to ten hours of driving and fifteen total hours on-duty time (i.e., not more than ten hours driving duty and five hours of non-driving duty) before taking a mandatory minimum eight hours off for rest. â Drivers may not exceed sixty total hours on duty in a rolling seven-day period, or seventy hours on duty in a rolling eight-day period, depending on the method the agency uses for calculating driving hours. â Agencies operating seven days a week usually choose to use the rolling eight-day period, while those operating five or six days a week tend to use
preparedness 35 Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas Essential Personnel âªâª Essential Personnel Policy http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3771 This policy from Coast Transit Authority summarizes procedures to ensure the presence of adequate and appropriate personnel essential to carry out the transit agencyâs responsibilities for hurricane evacuations and other emergency response events. âªâª Employee Emergency Response Participation http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3113 This document is Wiregrass Transit Authorityâs template for employees to acknowledge whether they agree to participate in emergency response efforts. âªâª Mobilization Personal Readiness Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4144 This checklist from the Caltrans Transit Emergency Planning Guidance Technical Appendices provides support to responders in taking care of personal needs before deployment. Vehicle Operation âªâª Resource Inventory Form http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3567 APTAâs Emergency Response Preparedness Program template for transit agencies to use in listing transportation resources that can be spared to assist emergency management in a disaster response. the rolling seven-day period. Either way, hours worked before the onset of an emergency have to be considered when calculating eligible driving hours. â A driver who is out of hours is generally not allowed to drive, with some latitude given under emergency conditions to allow a driver to complete a trip if it could reasonably be performed within legal driving hours in normal circumstances. Vehicle Orientation Approaches for addressing concerns of non-paratransit personnel operating paratransit vehicles: â All paratransit drivers must receive training on basic vehicle operations, use of lift equipment, and properly securing mobility devices. Providing sufficient training to inexperienced personnel after disaster response is underway is unrealistic and time consuming. Thus, emergency responders who already have CDLs that meet or exceed minimal qualifications for the type of paratransit vehicle to be driven are the best candidates for a quick orientation. â Based on insurance concerns or other factors, paratransit systems may have policies that prohibit operation of their equipment by anyone other than bona fide personnel. Address legal, insurance, and liability concerns surrounding this issue during the planning process. â Despite insurance or liability concerns, some states give law enforcement and other first responders the legal right to commandeer vehicles during an emergency. Determine if this action is legal in your state and plan accordingly.
36 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Vehicle Orientation âªâª New Bus Operator Vehicle Orientation Documentation Form http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3170 This form is New Mexico DOTâs checklist that is used to certify and document that a driver has received instruction on and understands the operation and purpose of the listed features and functions of a specific vehicle prototype. âªâª Vehicle and Equipment Orientation Documentation Form http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3984 This Cleveland Area Rapid Transit form is used to document driver orientation on vehicles and equipment. 3.A.8 Contracted Paratransit Services When paratransit is under direct control of a transit agency or government entity, there is a clear mandate to continue to serve paratransit customers, as well as to support emergency response missions, to the extent possible. Issues of billing and cost recovery are usually not part of the equationâat least in the initial phases of an emergency. This is less true when it comes to contracted service where provider contracts may not specify emergency responsibilities of contracted paratransit staff, and the contracting transit agency or authority may lack the ability to direct the activities of contractor staff during an emergency. In practice, paratransit contractors are usually responsive to agency service requests but, by nature, contracted service is a more arms-length transaction than in-house operations. Private contractors may not have the same protections or obligations as the contracting entity, and if there is no guarantee that emergency service requests are billable at prevailing rates, contractors may refuse to participate. This issue can be particularly complex when the contracting agency provides the vehicles and the contractor provides the drivers and support staff to put those vehicles on the road. Contract service providers need to be participants in the emergency response planning process to ensure all impacting issues are appropriately addressed and actual emergency response activities will not be negatively impacted. Contracted service provider staff should be active in emergency response planning; developing emergency response procedures and protocols; and participating in training, drills, and exercises. Considerations âªâª Many urban/suburban transit systems enter into contracts with paratransit service providers. The transit system or governing entity needs to ensure that contract language includes the requirements and expectations for contractor participation in community emergency response, including reimbursement rates for such services. âªâª While most rural/tribal paratransit services are operated in-house, those rural systems that contract for paratransit service should include contract language covering requirements and expectations during community emergency response. Effective Practices âªâª Some government entities and transit systems have paratransit service provider contracts that address requirements and expectations during emergency response operations. Where such contract language does not exist, some agencies develop an MOU or similar agree- ment to address this issue in the interim until the paratransit service contract is next put out to bid. âªâª Involving both internal and contracted paratransit staff in emergency planning, training, and exercises further reinforces understanding about emergency roles and responsibilities.
preparedness 37 âªâª It has proven helpful to have an in-house paratransit employee dedicated to staying in com- munication with contracted paratransit services during an emergency to keep the connection between supervisors open and available. Strategy âªâª If your agency contracts out any or all of its paratransit services, ensure contracts contain formal language regarding your contractorâs roles and responsibilities during emergencies, either in service to your customers or in support of community-wide emergency response and recovery. Additionally, reinforce these expectations through planning, training, and exercises. Tool: Contracted Paratransit Services â Review existing contracts to determine whether contract language addresses the responsibility of the contracted service provider to deliver transportation services during emergency response and recovery. Record-keeping requirements, the types of services considered reimbursable, and reimbursement rates should be specified in such agreements. â If an existing paratransit contract does not contain formal language that addresses contractor roles and responsibilities during emergencies, consider developing an MOU, contract amendment, or similar agreement to address this issue. â To reinforce understanding regarding emergency roles and responsibilities, offer to assist contractors in developing emergency response procedures and protocols and provide training and exercises on those protocols. â Develop systems to document services performed in support of an emer- gency response. Securing reimbursement for such services will depend on documenta tion that shows the cost of paratransit staff hours, vehicle operating hours, and miles over and above the baseline costs of maintaining normal service. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Transit Service Contracting http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3130 This excerpt from Chapter 8 of the Iowa DOT, Office of Public Transit, âTransit Managerâs Handbookâ discusses topics to be considered when contracting with outside parties. âªâª Contract Elements and Performance Standards http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4171 http://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/153664.aspx Chapters 5 and 6 of TCRP Synthesis of Transit Practice 31: Paratransit Contracting and Service Delivery Methods contain excerpts about paratransit contracting elements such as methods of compensation, contractor continuity, performance incentives and penalties, performance monitoring of contractors, and customer complaint procedures. âªâª Ensuring Contractor Preparedness and Staff Availability http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4181 This excerpt from âGuidance for Paratransit Emergency Preparednessâ lists contract provisions from several agencies that were interviewed for a study on paratransit emergency planning.
38 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook 3.B Training 3.B.1 National Incident Management System/ Incident Command System The ICS, NIMS, and NRF are federally mandated training certification programs for any agency that may be asked to support emergency response and recovery activities. FEMA and other orga- nizations may consider NIMS certification in establishing eligibility for disaster reimbursement. NIMS certification is designed to help any agency, including paratransit, integrate quickly and effectively into the command and field levels of an emergency response, regardless of jurisdiction or incident size. This training includes the courses ICS-100, ICS-200, ICS-300, ICS-400, IS-700 NIMS, and IS-800 NIMS. Free online courses are available at http://training.fema.gov. Considerations âªâª Frequently, the upper echelon of operational leadership within urban/suburban transit sys- tems may be NIMS certified, but paratransit managers, supervisors, and dispatchers may not be. This can create significant problems when paratransit resources are deployed in a large- scale community emergency response. âªâª Rural/tribal paratransit organizations may be unaware of NIMS certification requirements or not deem it a high priority. When paratransit management is unfamiliar with NIMS, coordina- tion and cooperation in a community-wide emergency response can be negatively impacted. Effective Practices âªâª Some state DOTs encourage or mandate NIMS certification as part of safety, security, and emergency management oversight. âªâª Transit and paratransit agencies may direct employees to take the online NIMS and ICS courses, attend courses conducted by local police or fire and rescue personnel, or retain con- sultants to teach the NIMS and ICS courses in the context of paratransit operations. âªâª Paratransit systems sometimes make basic NIMS and ICS training part of their new-hire cur- riculum, ensuring that new employees receive the certification. âªâª At many agencies, NIMS compliance is a result of internal advocacy. Strategy âªâª Your paratransit agency has options regarding the way it can meet the NIMS compliance requirement. You may direct employees to take online courses, attend training conducted by local police or fire and rescue personnel, or bring in outside expertise to teach FEMA courses in the context of paratransit operations. Whatever approach you take, addressing the require- ment for NIMS training and certification is a priority. Tool: Addressing NIMS Compliance Requirements â Identify the level of NIMS training and compliance that is mandated for para- transit operations, maintenance, dispatch, and supervisory/management job functions. â The following recommendations are provided in accordance with Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5). Some lesser variation on this train- ing may serve short-term paratransit training requirements. C ICS-100 and IS-700 certification for all paratransit employees C Additionally, ICS-200, IS-800, and IS-546 for all dispatchers and supervisors C Additionally, ICS-300, ICS-400, IS-702, and IS-800 for management
preparedness 39 Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª NIMS Training Program http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4137 This link is to FEMAâs NIMS online training courses. 3.B.2 Emergency Preparedness Training Safe vehicle operations, driver safety, passenger safety, and overall organizational performance depend on effective and relevant training in safety, security, and emergency response at all lev- els of an organization. There are no universal training standards in the paratransit industry, though most agencies provide some training on vehicle fires and evacuation, accident handling, potentially violent passengers, and other dangerous situations that may occur. Some agencies provide specific guidance and training on roles and responsibilities during community-wide emergencies. Considerations âªâª Due to organizational size and complexity of paratransit systems in urban areas, it is more likely that emergency response training has been provided to leadership and management staff; however, it has not always been provided to supervisory or frontline personnel. âªâª In rural and tribal paratransit systems, emergency response training tends to be uneven due to limited resources and because it is not always regarded as a high priority. âªâª Advance-notice emergencies and planned special events may provide a window of opportu- nity to conduct timely emergency response briefings and training to staff. Response to no- notice incidents depends on existing plans, procedures, experience, and training. Effective Practices âªâª Paratransit providers that create internal emergency response plans and protocols and provide training for their staff on roles and responsibilities that are critical to success during internal or community-wide emergency response have been proven to be more effective during an emergency. The importance of this planning and training has been clearly underscored by the successful transit response to flooding events in North Dakota and wildfire events in Califor- nia, Arizona, and New Mexico. âªâª Paratransit providers should consider providing first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and/or automated external defibrillator (AED) training to frontline employees and drivers since emergency situations may require paratransit drivers to respond to passengersâ medical needs. â Determine the best route for receiving NIMS training. â If you determine the most desirable avenue is through training workshops, contact your local public safety or emergency management agency, or con- tract through an emergency management consulting firm. â If you determine that self-paced online training is the appropriate avenue for NIMS certification, explore the options available on the FEMA website. â Consider making NIMS training part of your agencyâs new-hire orientation program. â As your paratransit staff becomes NIMS compliant, inform local emergency management of this fact.
40 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Strategy âªâª Train all frontline and supervisory paratransit staff on procedures and protocols for respond- ing to internal paratransit-specific emergencies as well as community disasters. The skills developed during this training are critical to successful employee performance, be it for para- transit emergency response or community emergency response. Ideally, this training will be a combination of classroom-setting orientations on emergency procedures and protocols and on-vehicle, hands-on demonstrations of emergency response skills. Tool: Training for Emergency Response Topics to address, at a minimum, when training on the topic of internal paratransit emergencies: â Vehicle breakdowns â Passenger incidents â Vehicle accidents â Vehicle fire and evacuation â Biohazard spills â Potentially dangerous passengers â On-vehicle hostage situations â Suspicious items and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) â Chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) releases â High-probability acts of nature that would impact the life-safety of paratransit staff and/or customers Topics to address, at a minimum, when training on external emergency response: â Individual roles and responsibilities â Report-to-work requirements and strategies â Preparing, pre-positioning, and staging vehicles â Emergency dispatching â Communication systems during emergencies â Vehicle operation during emergencies â Meeting customer emergency transportation needs â Emergency protocols for transport of passengers and pets â Emergency dropoff locations and strategies â Care for customers who are in system or temporarily the ward of paratransit â Surge capacity and sustaining emergency operations â Interacting with emergency management and first responders â Service shutdown and startup â Record-keeping and documentation requirements â After-action reports (AARs) Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Vehicle Evacuation Procedures http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3268 This website features New Mexico DOTâs vehicle evacuation procedures for drivers. âªâª Immediate Actions (IAs) for Transit Agencies for Potential and Actual Life-Threatening Incidents http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3009 This FTA guidance is intended to help transit agencies reinforce and improve how well their frontline employees react and respond to potential and actual life-threatening incidents.
preparedness 41 3.B.3 Personal and Family Preparedness Effective emergency planning recognizes the benefit of public outreach and education on personal and family preparedness. Paratransit employees who do not have personal and family emergency plans are less likely to report to work following a disaster. This can result in insuf- ficient staff to support life-sustaining trips and other emergency response mission requests. Pro- viding training in personal and family preparedness can help mitigate this concern. Considerations âªâª To date, many urban/suburban and rural/tribal paratransit providers have not emphasized personal emergency preparedness for staff. âªâª In advance-notice incidents, paratransit staff may have time to assemble supplies and prepare to âweather the storm.â Impacts from no-notice events are substantially greater on staff that does not have preparedness plans. âªâª In emergency events where advance notice is possible, paratransit staff may have a small window to assemble personal supplies and develop appropriate family response strategies. Paratransit emergency response activities can be hampered by paratransit staff not properly preparing their families for emergencies, thus delaying their response time or precluding them from responding at all. Effective Practices âªâª Paratransit agencies should conduct a personal preparedness and emergency operations brief- ing annually for employees and include this training as part of their new-hire program. Such programs are frequently offered in conjunction with regional and national preparedness pro- grams, such as the Great Shakeout or National Preparedness Month. Information and materi- als are available at no or low cost from the American Red Cross, FEMA, the National Transit Institute (NTI) and local emergency management. âªâª At some agencies, employees are required to have a personal survival plan on file with the agencyâs health and safety or human resources office that includes preparedness arrangements and up-to-date emergency contact information. Strategy âªâª Provide employees with informational materials about personal and family emergency prepared- ness so your staff is better prepared and more likely to report to work and perform successfully during emergencies. These materials can be distributed on an annual basis, perhaps in advance of each major storm season. Conduct training on personal preparedness using in-house trainers, the Red Cross, local emergency management, or other subject matter experts. Consider address- ing personal and family preparedness issues as a part of the new-hire orientation program. Tool: Personal and Family Preparedness Important elements of personal preparedness: â How to get instructions related to work or school â Shelter-in-place and evacuation plans for the home and workplace â Preparation for the needs of family members and pets â Three or more daysâ supply of emergency food and water â Shutting off of gas, electricity, water and other utilities â Sanitation management and supplies â Necessary prescription drugs and life-sustaining medical equipment â Cash on hand â Items to include in a well-stocked disaster supply kit including your emergency contacts list and evacuation plan
42 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Personal Workplace Disaster Supplies Kit Checklist http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4128 This one-page document from the American Red Cross lists the recommended supplies to keep at the workplace in case employees are confined for many hours, or perhaps overnight, during a disaster or emergency. âªâª Emergency Preparedness Guide for Transit Employees on the Job and at Home http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3948 This guide from NTI and FTA helps transit employees prepare themselves and their families to cope with man-made or natural emergencies while still allowing them to effectively fulfill their transit duties. âªâª Immediately after a Disaster http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4135 This FEMA web link provides emergency response steps and other information to assist individuals and families immediately after a disaster. 3.C Exercises 3.C.1 Discussion-Based Exercises A key strategy to assess emergency response plans is discussion-based exercises, commonly called tabletop exercises. Using an emergency scenario, tabletop exercises provide a forum for a paratransit agency, or for multiple participating agencies, to review EOPs, policies, procedures, command structure, and communication protocols. Paratransit managers and supervisors are encouraged to participate in tabletop exercises coor- dinated by their city or county and engage with partner agencies in realistic disaster scenarios. This is where planning assumptions are tested and working relationships with emergency man- agement, first responders, and other emergency support agencies are established. If not invited to the table, paratransit should be proactive and advocate to get involved or identify advocates in local government or the community to encourage participation. State DOTs and state emergency management agencies can also act as catalysts at the state level to encourage participation. Considerations âªâª In urban/suburban areas, paratransit systems sometimes conduct internal discussion-based exercises to orient staff to their roles and responsibilities related to serving their customers during an emergency. Additionally, at times, paratransit staff should participate in external tabletop exercises involving key community emergency response stakeholders. âªâª In rural/tribal areas, paratransit staff does not usually conduct internal discussion-based exer- cises and often are not invited to participate in external community-wide tabletop exercises. Effective Practices âªâª Participation in basic and advanced tabletop exercises, both internally and externally, helps validate transportation planning assumptions, fosters greater coordination, and tends to lay the groundwork for a more successful disaster response. Strategy âªâª Hold discussion-based and tabletop exercises internally to build staff skills, validate your emer- gency response plans, and enhance your staff âs understanding of their roles and responsibilities for meeting customer transportation needs during an emergency response. Pro actively solicit emergency management for an invitation to participate in community exercises in order to
preparedness 43 foster relationships with first responders and partner agencies and ensure that your emergency plans do not conflict with broader community emergency response procedures. State DOTs and state emergency management agencies may be able to act as catalysts at the state level to encour- age paratransit involvement in community emergency response simulations and exercises. Tool: Discussion-Based Exercises Exercises can address strategies for: â Mobilization of paratransit staff â Internal and external protocols and procedures â Communication with paratransit customers in emergencies â Interagency communication and coordination â Identification of individuals who may need emergency transportation assistance â Preparation, pre-positioning, and staging of paratransit vehicles â Review and test of paratransit EOPs, procedures, and checklists â Provision of paratransit services to meet individual life-supporting medical needs â Sustaining of long-term paratransit emergency response support â Service suspension and reconstitution procedures Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Tabletop Exercises http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3345 This document, excerpted from the Caltrans Transit Emergency Preparedness Technical Appendices, lists eleven crisis/emergency scenarios for transit agencies to use to conduct table- top exercises. 3.C.2 Operational Exercises Operational exercises include functional and full-scale exercises. Functional exercises test and evaluate the operational capability of specific emergency response functions such as mobilization, communications, or activation of a transportation- specific operations center. A full-scale exercise, by comparison, tests and evaluates the capability of multiple functions operating together. Full-scale exercises occur in real time, in the field, involving the actual move- ment of equipment and personnel in the manner they would be called upon in an actual event. Participating in functional and full-scale exercises allows paratransit staff, emergency man- agement, and first responders to practice mobilizing an effective and coordinated community emergency response. Functional and full-scale exercises generally conclude with a debriefing session where par- ticipants analyze their successes and failures. Outcomes from this analysis are documented in an AAR that includes an improvement plan detailing strategies for participants to enhance and update their organizationâs emergency plans and protocols. Considerations âªâª Urban/suburban transit systems are frequently integrated into community emergency drills and exercises. However, exercises tend to rely on fixed-route buses rather than paratransit
44 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook vehicles. Thus, paratransit providers, whether internal or contracted, have little opportunity to exercise their capability to respond to actual emergency events. âªâª Similarly, in rural/tribal areas, school buses are often the main transportation resource emer- gency managers anticipate using for emergency response, and paratransit is often an after- thought when constructing community emergency response drills and exercises. âªâª Paratransit agencies that have participated in emergency drills and exercises respond more effectively to advance-notice and no-notice emergencies. âªâª Under the 2001 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Recovery from and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States, Public Law 107-38, FTA awarded funding to sup- port conducting emergency preparedness drills. Paratransit providers were encouraged to coordinate with regional FTA representatives to determine their grant qualifications. More information can be found at http://www.fta.dot.gov/13442_1595.html. Effective Practices âªâª Paratransit providers that actively pursue opportunities to conduct internal emergency drills and participate in external emergency exercises are typically better prepared to respond to emergencies. Practicing internal emergency drills can enhance and benefit the working rela- tionships of paratransit staff, while participating in external exercises can help develop or strengthen relationships between paratransit, first responders, and emergency management. Strategy âªâª Participate in functional and full-scale exercises that enhance response and recovery capabili- ties and ensure that paratransit emergency response plans and protocols do not conflict with those of other agencies or local response strategies. You may need to identify advocates in local government or within the community that can help encourage emergency management to include paratransit in exercises. State DOTs and state emergency management agencies also may be able to act as catalysts at the state level to support your involvement in local and regional exercises. Tool: Operational Exercises Functional exercises can help your agency to assess or test: â Activation of your internal emergency dispatch operation or DOC â Backup power generators, including emergency lighting and fuel pumps â Battery backup for computer systems and re-boot of the system from a backup â Backup communications equipment such as radios and cell phones â Emergency dispatching capabilities â Emergency call-down protocols for mobilizing staff â Vehicle pre-positioning and staging protocols â Customer communication procedures Participation in full-scale exercises can help your agency to assess: â Mobilization of paratransit resources in support of a community emergency response â Communication and coordination between paratransit and the EOC â Paratransit functionality within the Incident Command (IC) structure â Identification of individuals requiring paratransit evacuation assistance â Pre-positioning and staging of paratransit vehicles â Dispatch of paratransit vehicles based on mission assignments
preparedness 45 Resource for Urban/Suburban Areas âªâª Guidelines for Transportation Emergency Training Exercises http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4131 The ninth volume of both NCHRP Report 525: Surface Transportation Security and TCRP Report 86: Public Transportation Security assists transportation agencies in developing drills and exercises in alignment with NIMS. Resource for Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program Volume IV: Sample Exercise Docu- ments and Formats http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3099 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provides sample exercise documents and formats intended for the exercise planner to use and/or modify when designing and develop- ing exercises. 3.C.3 Inclusion of People with Access and Functional Needs Emergency response drills and exercises should include individuals who experience limita- tions with walking, hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, understanding, learning, remembering, responding quickly, or fatigue. Not including these individuals in planning, drills, and exercises can easily lead to faulty emergency planning assumptions. Considerations âªâª Based on current definitions, people with access and functional needs comprise a significant percentage of the population of our country. As a result of legal decisions and social changes, many people that fall within this definition live independently throughout the community. Paratransit is an essential resource for these individuals in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. âªâª Advice from individuals with access and functional needs can be extremely helpful in planning for and exercising an emergency response. These individuals can assist by providing input on priorities for service in an emergency, appropriate staging area locations, effective protocols for serving passengers on a paratransit vehicle during an emergency, and evacuating custom- ers with or without assistive devices. âªâª A common planning assumption for advance-notice emergencies is that people who may need extra time evacuating, such as older adults and people with disabilities, will be encour- aged to evacuate early. This can have significant impacts on paratransit operations and should be examined during interagency exercises. âªâª Following no-notice emergencies, most paratransit agencies plan to return customers to their homes. Some percentage of paratransit customers will be unable to return home â Paratransit pickup and dropoff of evacuees â Medical issues related to evacuating resident care centers and other sensitive locations â Use of paratransit vehicles for non-evacuation purposes â Communication protocols to notify paratransit customers of service continuity and broader emergency response concerns â Resource tracking and management â Sustaining of paratransit services over an extended period of time
46 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook because of disaster effects or lack of support resources at their homes following the disaster. Planning for how to best serve these customers caught âin systemâ on paratransit vehicles or at dropoff locations should be examined during both internal and interagency exercises. Effective Practices âªâª By advocating for the inclusion of people with access and functional needs in discussion- based and operational exercises, paratransit can help prepare itself and the community for the diversity of emergency response challenges faced in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities. Strategy âªâª When people with communication limitations, medical needs, independence concerns, super- vision requirements, and transportation limitations as well as representatives from disability and aging organizations are included in emergency planning and disaster exercises, emergency response plans are more likely to address the diverse and specific necessities of people with access and functional needs. âªâª Although your paratransit agency cannot unilaterally ensure such inclusion takes place, it can play a strong role as a catalyst. Through your interactions with emergency management, you can help provide a voice for people with access and functional needs in the emergency plan- ning process. Tool: Inclusion of People with Access and Functional Needs Action steps to encourage inclusion of people with access and functional needs in emergency planning and exercises include: â Communicating to emergency management the positive outcomes realized when people with access and functional needs are included in the emergency preparedness planning process. â Communicating to emergency management the contributions to the emer- gency preparedness planning process that human service agencies and disabil- ity advocacy groups can make. â Communicating to emergency management the importance of individuals with access and functional needs participating in disaster drills, simulations, and exercises. â Assisting emergency management in identifying individuals with access and functional needs, as well as agencies or advocacy organizations, that may be willing to participate in the emergency planning process. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Preparedness for All: Why Including People with Disabilities in Drills Is a Learning Tool http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4139 This excerpt is from IAEM Bulletin, Volume 22, No. 4, April 2005. Co-authors of this article are Michael Byrne, Director of Justice & Public Safety, Microsoft, and former First Deputy Director, New York City Office of Emergency Management/Capt. FDNY, and Elizabeth A. Davis, JD, EdM, Director, EAD & Associates Emergency Management & Spe- cial Needs Consultants, and former Special Needs Advisor, New York City Office of Emer- gency Management.
preparedness 47 âªâª Emergency Planning for Special Needs Populations http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4138 This article addresses the process Josephine County, Oregon, has undertaken to bring resi- dents with special needs into its emergency planning process. It is an excerpt from IAEM Bulletin, Volume 22, No. 4, April 2005, authored by Mark Sorensen, Regional Healthcare Pre- paredness Coordinator of Josephine County. âªâª Serving and Protecting All by Applying Lessons LearnedâIncluding People with Disabili- ties and Seniors in Disaster Services http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4172 Recommendations in this document are intended to help states benefit from lessons learned so that strong and resilient infrastructures can be built that will include the diverse popula- tions of people with disabilities and seniors in all emergency services.