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83 C h a p t e r 6 It could be argued that recovery is something paratransit agencies of all sizes do daily as part of normal operations. Schedulers and dispatchers arrange trips for the coming day, matching up vehicles and drivers. Vehicles come in off the road and are fueled, cleaned, maintained, and prepared to go back on the road again. Recovery depends on the right things happening in the right sequence. Paratransit providers that experience a disaster event must have a plan for post-event recov- ery. The recovery phase starts after the immediate threat to human life has subsided. Recovery efforts involve getting paratransit employees back to work; re-establishing a reliable supply chain; inspecting and servicing vehicles; repairing or replacing essential equipment; and restoring power, communications, and computer systems. A significant effort to document damage to facilities, vehicles, or equipment will be needed to pursue cost recovery through insurance or liability settlements. Costs incurred during emergency response operations may be eligible for reimbursement through FEMA or state or county authorities, but only if care- fully documented and verified. 6.A Reconstitution 6.A.1 Essential Life-Support Services Providing life-sustaining medical trips, such as transportation to dialysis centers, is the top paratransit priority before, during, and after emergencies or disasters. Your paratransit agency may generally know which customers need life-sustaining medical transportation services, but you may not be certain where these customers are located at any given moment. Thus, your agency needs to plan as much as possible to provide essential life-sustaining transportation for pre-identified customers. This planning should include a system to track customer locations even though this may become a challenge during community emergencies when evacuees take up temporary residences and basic communications systems such as phones and the Internet are often disrupted. If local medical facilities are closed due to adverse conditions or damage to their facility, trips may need to be scheduled to medical facilities outside of the area. Conversely, people who have been evacuated out of their areas of residence and into your jurisdiction may add to paratransit demand. In an emergency, paratransit customers may find shelter at the very care centers, medical facilities, and senior centers with which paratransit normally works. Customers may also end up at emergency shelters established by the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches, or other voluntary organizations. Paratransit managers or supervisors may need to coordinate with Recovery
84 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook shelter providers to identify people with critical transportation needs and develop strategies for scheduling non-emergency medical trips more efficiently. Considerations âªâª Lack of information regarding the medical needs of evacuees can result in paratransit provid- ers being deployed to transport evacuees who may require a higher level of medical or psycho- logical care than paratransit is able or qualified to provide. This is more likely in populated urban/suburban areas where the sheer number of people involved may become difficult to manage effectively. âªâª Paratransit providers should carefully document and track passenger information such as facility dropoff location and phone number, passenger personal cell phone number, passenger emergency contact information, and passenger functional equipment needs. âªâª In rural/tribal environments, paratransit is more likely to have an existing relationship with area residents that have access and functional needs. Also, the smaller number of customers makes these individuals easier to track and manage. âªâª In advance-notice events, customers may be able to schedule medical treatments in advance of the disaster and otherwise prepare to âweather the storm.â Effective Practices âªâª Communities with disaster experience often establish a transportation group within the EOC to manage critical transportation needs. Incident managers may also establish a special advi- sor on the topic of access and functional needs. The paratransit agency representative is often tasked with one or both of these roles based on his or her knowledge of and experience work- ing with the disability community. âªâª Some agencies will deploy paratransit staff to shelters to coordinate transportation needs with shelter managers. This type of face-to-face interaction can help establish better strategies for triaging medical trips between ambulance, paratransit, and public transit resources. âªâª Due to vehicle size, available floor space, and the wheelchair lift, paratransit vehicles can pro- vide a practical solution for transporting essential life-supporting goods as well as people. As a result, in early stages of recovery, paratransit is sometimes pressed into service to transport ice, food, water, oxygen, medical supplies, and other essential goods. Strategy âªâª Your paratransit agencyâs commitment to its regular customers, and to the community at large, underscores the importance of sustaining essential life-support transportation services as long as possible during emergencies, as well as reconstituting suspended paratransit service as soon as possible after emergencies or disasters. When resuming service, your agency may also have to consider strategies to provide transportation outside your normal service area due to disaster impacts on local medical treatment facilities. Tool: Essential Life-Support Services â Identify regular paratransit customers that will need ongoing transportation for medical treatment, such as dialysis, during emergencies. â Develop an operational plan for providing life-sustaining medical trips after an emergency occurs, and communicate that plan to affected paratransit customers. â Contact medical service providers to learn of their strategies to continue essential life-support services during emergencies and provide them with your plans for continuing transportation for paratransit customers dependent upon medical care.
recovery 85 Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Prioritizing Trips http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4182 This excerpt from âGuidance for Paratransit Emergency Planningâ presents examples of the trip-priority procedures of several agencies that were interviewed for a study on paratransit emergency planning. 6.A.2 Restoring Service Restoration of service involves returning paratransit service delivery systems to their pre- emergency conditions. Elements critical to restoring service include facilities, vehicles, and information and communication systems. Depending on the severity of the emergency, ser- vice restoration may have to be addressed in stages, most likely concentrating on life-safety transportation issues first, and then ramping up service as mission-critical resources become available. Considerations âªâª Urban/suburban transit systems are more likely to have established disaster recovery plans, although they may not consider issues unique to paratransit operations. âªâª Rural/tribal paratransit providers are less likely to have devoted time and effort to developing disaster recovery plans. As a result, they may find service restoration more challenging. âªâª In rural/tribal service areas, it is more likely that the paratransit providers know their custom- ers and their travel patterns and, therefore, can more easily address restoration concerns. âªâª Advance-notice emergencies provide a window of opportunity to develop recovery plans before disaster strikes. Effective Practices âªâª In community emergencies, many paratransit agencies rely on guidance from the EOC regard- ing when to resume service. In local emergencies, paratransit agencies often make that deci- sion themselves. âªâª A common threshold for resuming regular paratransit service is the resumption of fixed-route transit services and school bus transportation. âªâª Paratransit managers have found that the situational awareness needed to make good deci- sions about service resumption depends a great deal on interagency communication, coordi- nation, and cooperation. âªâª Most paratransit agencies will phase in service resumption, beginning with non-emergency medical trips, then adding additional service based on resource availability. â Participate with community stakeholders in identifying alternative medical facilities where your agency can transport customers for treatment should regular facilities be shut down due to the impact of an emergency event. â Share your emergency operations transportation plan with emergency man- agement and emergency medical services, and discuss the life-sustaining transportation needs of people who are not normal paratransit customers. â Coordinate with emergency management regarding shelter residents who require non-emergency medical transportation.
86 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Strategy âªâª Advance planning for reconstituting paratransit service increases efficiency and resiliency when an emergency occurs or disaster strikes. Develop service restoration plans in coordination with other transportation modes and providers. This may involve entering into MAAs with industry partners. Share your service restoration plans with paratransit customers, partner agencies, and emergency management. âªâª Since normal procedures may be modified or suspended following an emergency, work priori- ties during the recovery phase must be communicated clearly and consistently to employees. Tool: Restoring Service Essential elements of a service restoration plan include: â Establishing thresholds or criteria for service restoration. â Determining when it is safe to resume service. For large-scale events, this decision should be made in consultation with emergency management, public safety agencies, and other government officials. â Assessing operational capabilities, including considering the availability of staff; the disposition of vehicles and fuel; the operability of communica- tion systems; and damage to dispatch, maintenance, and administrative facilities. â Providing support for employees so they can return to work; this may include addressing both physical and psychological needs. â Prioritizing how service will be phased in based on resource availability. â Communicating with customers, stakeholders, and the general public about service restoration. Communication strategies for service restoration include: â Automated alert notification systems that send phone calls, texts, emails, or other electronic messages to subscribers. â Pre-recorded service alert messages and informational updates as a keypad menu option or while waiting on hold. â Phone calls to social service agencies and medical care providers. â Targeted phone calls to let customers know about service resumption plans. â Updates and service alerts on the agency website. â Posts to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and other identified social media networks. â News releases or other notifications to TV, radio, and print media. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Managing Transportation Recovery http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4158 This excerpt from the USDOT âRecovering from Disasters: The National Transportation Recovery Strategyâ resource provides recommendations on preparing for and managing the transportation recovery process. âªâª Frequently Asked Disaster Recovery Questions http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4159 This excerpt from FTAâs âDisaster Response and Recovery Resource for Transit Agen- cies,â published in 2006, provides answers to some pertinent transportation questions about disaster recovery.
recovery 87 6.B Reentry Reentry is the returning of people to the residences from which they were evacuated. Estimating the number and types of paratransit vehicles required for reentry service can be challenging. In addition to communication gaps that sometimes occur between shelter managers and paratransit providers, people staying in emergency shelters will often make their own transportation arrange- ments for reentry, skewing the numbers shelter managers are tracking. Paratransit providers returning people home after disasters have encountered a variety of difficulties en route, including access hazards caused by disaster debris and a lack of power or other utilities that make homes habitable and safe. This issue is of particular concern for people with access and functional needs and can be largely prevented through better interagency coordination. Another important consideration when planning for reentry is a method for documenting who has been transported and the location and time of the dropoff, as this information can be essential for emergency managers as well as the families and friends of those utilizing paratransit services. Considerations âªâª Reentry is a challenge in urban/suburban and rural/tribal environments. âªâª In the rural/tribal setting, there may be a greater propensity to initiate reentry before infra- structure is fully restored. This, combined with greater distances of travel, can be a significant concern for people with access and functional needs. âªâª Due to the size and scope of operations, it is more likely that paratransit personnel in rural/ tribal environments understand the support needs of their customers. âªâª Evacuees from advance-notice emergencies are more likely to have identified their own sources of transportation and are less likely to need the support of paratransit during reentry. Effective Practices âªâª Close coordination between emergency management and transportation agencies, includ- ing paratransit, helps alleviate some of the resource management challenges involved with mobilizing for reentry. âªâª Close coordination between paratransit and public utilities, public works, fire and rescue, law enforcement, and human service agencies helps relieve some of the challenges of reentry, particularly for people with access and functional needs. âªâª Assigning two employees to paratransit vehicles can help reentry operations significantly. One staff member is able to maintain passenger manifest information and provide personal assis- tance, while the other concentrates on operational safety. âªâª In cases where local paratransit resources are not fully operational or are overwhelmed by demand, drivers and vehicles from neighboring jurisdictions can be used to augment local paratransit resources. Strategy âªâª Pre-planning and close coordination between paratransit, emergency management, public utilities, public safety, law enforcement, and shelter managers will help alleviate problems often associated with reentry, particularly as it relates to people with access and functional needs. âªâª During reentry, your paratransit agency may find it necessary to track the identity of custom- ers, as well as the location and time of each passenger pickup and dropoff, and then share this information with emergency management at the conclusion of reentry missions.
88 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Tool: Reentry Concerns â Confirm with emergency management and other appropriate entities that all utilities are working properly. â Confirm with emergency management, first responders, and human service agencies that paths of ingress and egress are clear for people with mobility limitations. â Confirm with emergency management, first responders, and other appropri- ate entities to ensure sanitation and the general livability of residences. â Confirm with emergency management and other appropriate entities that food and water is available and spoiled food in the home can be properly disposed of. â Identify with key external stakeholders an appropriate process for returning service animals and pets. â Empower paratransit drivers to make determinations about whether passenger dropoff locations are safe for their riders. â Identify alternative dropoff strategies when paratransit drivers determine that reentry to a residence is unsafe. â Ensure a clear understanding between paratransit and law enforce- ment staffing control points on the need for paratransit vehicles to access neighborhoods. â Ensure a clear understanding between paratransit and law enforcement staffing control points on the need for human service and health services personnel to access neighborhoods. Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Reentry and Return to Readiness http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4168 Chapter 8 of FHWAâs âEvacuating Populations with Special Needsâ discusses the issues that need to be addressed before and during reentry, and also post-event. 6.C Post-Disaster Service Assessment Disasters can radically affect the demand for paratransit services and require your agency to alter hours of service, days of service, and areas served. Long-term recovery can be hampered if your agency is unprepared to adjust to possible new service demands. Increases in the demand for paratransit services may be temporary as disaster victims recu- perate from injuries or identify resident care centers that curtail their travel needs. Changes in demand for services may also be long-term due to migration patterns caused by the disaster. Paratransit agencies must be flexible in their approach to managing increased demand. Considerations âªâª Changes in service demand are partly a function of the magnitude of a disaster. The larger the disaster, the greater the change in riding patterns. âªâª Disasters tend to have a more significant effect on travel patterns in urban/suburban areas, as current residents relocate and new residents move in. âªâª Rural/tribal areas tend to experience fewer changes in demographics and demand than urban/ suburban environments, but with fewer resources, rural paratransit agencies can find it more difficult to adapt to such changes.
recovery 89 Effective Practices âªâª APTA, CTAA, and some state DOTs have established registries that allow transit systems to volunteer to assist other transit agencies during or after emergencies. Many paratransit pro- viders have relied on these programs to temporarily augment capacity, utilizing drivers and vehicles from other transit agencies across the region. âªâª Some paratransit agencies have instituted an expedited paratransit eligibility certification pro- cess or temporarily waived eligibility certification requirements in order to meet the increased demand for paratransit services during recovery. Strategy âªâª The possibility of an increased demand for paratransit services following a disaster under- scores the need for a post-disaster service assessment. This demand may necessitate expanded days and hours of service, alteration of normal routes, and, if your agency is not a provider of general public demand-response service, a temporary waiver or expediting of paratransit eligibility certification. Tool: Post-Disaster Service Assessment â Conduct a post-disaster transportation needs assessment. â Share the results of this assessment with emergency management and other partner agencies to gather input and support. â Meet with essential staff to assess how an increase in paratransit service demand would affect operations and discuss how changes in service delivery models could be accommodated. â If you are not a general public demand-response provider, develop an expe- dited paratransit eligibility certification process or temporarily use presumptive eligibility to better meet post-disaster transportation needs. â Initiate post-disaster paratransit operations based on need, available resources, and the temporarily re-engineered service delivery model. â If necessary, explore ways to augment the existing fleet and staff, utilizing resources offered through your state DOT, CTAA, and/or APTA. Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Post-Disaster Service AssessmentâDel Norte EF-1 After-Action Report http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4122 This report from the CalACT website details the disaster response activities of Del Norte County transportation during the tsunami of March 2011 and documents strengths and areas for improvement in the Del Norte County transportation emergency management system. 6.D Restitution 6.D.1 Post-Crisis Counseling A significant post-crisis consideration is whether employees are ready and able to return to work. Emotional stress, physical injury, loss of loved ones, loss of property, and disruption of normal routines may limit the availability and energy of essential paratransit personnel. Res- titution plans need to include the availability of therapy or counseling services for employees traumatized by an emergency.
90 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Considerations âªâª Urban/suburban paratransit systems are more likely to have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) to support crisis-counseling needs. On the other hand, it can be more difficult for larger agencies to foster the informal peer support that can also help alleviate post-traumatic stress. âªâª Rural/tribal systems tend to rely on informal peer support more than formal EAPs, although many have identified local counseling resources for employee referrals. There is no substitute for professional counseling or other supportive interventions for employees suffering from post-traumatic stress. âªâª Post-traumatic stress tends to be more prevalent after no-notice emergencies and disasters than after advance-notice emergencies where individuals can prepare themselves and their loved ones for the challenges they may face. Effective Practices âªâª Agencies that make employee support part of their emergency planning efforts have found that a high percentage of their staff reports for work both during and after an emergency. âªâª Agencies that provide employee support as part of their emergency planning effort report higher employee retention rates following serious accidents, emergencies, and disasters. Strategy âªâª When developing plans for restoring paratransit assets to their pre-emergency conditions, it is vital that paratransit managers consider the needs of their most essential asset: paratransit human resources. Ensure that all paratransit employees have access to some type of therapy or counseling to help them deal with any psychological trauma brought about by an emergency or disaster. Tool: Post-Crisis Counseling To mitigate the psychological effect of an emergency on paratransit staff: â After an initial crisis period during which overwork may be necessary, develop procedures to ensure that employees take sufficient time off. â Set limits on work hours and train managers to monitor their staff for irritabil- ity, erratic behavior, inattentiveness, and other signs of exhaustion. â Provide adequate staffing for additional disaster relief and recovery responsibilities. â Ensure that no one employee is wholly responsible for essential tasks and therefore unable to take time off to rest and recuperate. â Since leaders are especially prone to overwork, monitor one another and set a positive example for staff. Post-crisis counseling considerations: â Provide informal opportunities in the workplace for paratransit staff to share their experiences. To recover from severe stress, people need to talk about what they have gone through and compare their reactions with those of others. â Provide an opportunity for a group meeting of paratransit staff facilitated by an EAP counselor or other mental health professional. â Provide employees with procedures for scheduling post-crisis counseling appointments, as some employees may need more personal assistance in resolving problems arising from a disaster.
recovery 91 Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Managing After a Disaster http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4143 A disaster creates unusual challenges for management if staff are suffering from its effects. Emotional stress, physical injury, bereavement, loss of property, and disruption of normal routines may limit the availability and energy of employees. The suggestions in this excerpt from Chapter 6 of âHandling Traumatic EventsâA Managerâs Handbookâ are general prin- ciples that can help a business structure disaster response. âªâª Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 22: Helping Airport and Air Carrier Employees Cope with Traumatic Events http://www.trb.org/main/blurbs/162365.aspx This report provides insight and practical guidance to address the difficult emotional and psychological implications in response and exposure to traumatic events. These traumatic events can be the result of human-made accidents, acts of terrorism, or natural disasters that have occurred at, in the vicinity of, or resulting from the operation of an air carrier at an airport. 6.D.2 Documenting Damage It is a standard practice to fill out a report following a paratransit vehicle collision with facts carefully documented, statements noted or recorded from witnesses and those involved, and photos taken of the scene and relevant damage. Along these same lines, damage to buildings, facilities, equipment, or vehicles related to an emergency event or disaster response needs to be accurately documented and reported for risk management, insurance, and cost recovery purposes. Any work-related personal injuries need to be reported and processed through the workerâs compensation system, the agencyâs risk management function, and other internal administrative reporting processes as appropriate. Insurance may cover costs for buildings, facilities, equipment, and vehicles damaged in a natu- ral disaster event. Local government may provide additional blanket liability coverage if losses were incurred under its authority. Though there are typically additional forms and reporting requirements, state and federal government may provide additional coverage for uninsured and underinsured losses suffered during a state or federally declared emergency. Considerations âªâª Paratransit agencies that are part of a government entity in urban/suburban environments are often self-insured. Urban/suburban paratransit agencies that are managed separately or contracted to a service provider will typically carry their own insurance. âªâª Some urban/suburban or rural/tribal systems may be part of a state-wide insurance pool or other group insurance consortium that increases the risk pool and helps defray costs. âªâª Some rural/tribal systems buy insurance policies that have a high deductible, making the policy affordable but devastating to the agency if it is involved in a catastrophic event. âªâª Contracted paratransit service providers may not share the same liability limits as governmen- tal entities and may not be eligible for state and federal disaster aid. Effective Practices âªâª Transit and paratransit agencies with robust risk management and system safety programs have established mechanisms to accurately document accidents, incidents, and damage incurred during emergencies or disasters and the subsequent emergency response.
92 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Strategy âªâª Encourage staff to maintain logs of their actions during an emergency. In the recovery phase, compile an overall summary of actions that details key statistics of services rendered. Commit the chronological timeline of events to writing. âªâª Immediately debrief all personnel involved with emergency operations to capture details about the events, activities, and difficulties encountered. Ensure that staff does not feel intimi- dated to report the truth about events that occurred. Conduct a more systematic debriefing within two weeks of the incident. The resulting assessment of response and recovery actions will provide valuable information for you to modify your EOP. Tool: Documenting Damage â Inspect and inventory facilities, equipment and rolling stock. â Notify insurance providers of paratransit resource losses that occurred during the emergency. â Provide information on the condition of paratransit assets to the state DOT or the FTA and notify them if additional assets are required to resume normal operations. â When appropriate, provide emergency response and recovery cost details to emergency management as soon as possible so that all opportunities for local, state, and federal reimbursement can be pursued. Include the following topics in staff debriefings: â Effective and ineffective elements of leadership and decision making â Tasks that were carried out successfully during the response â Tasks that were not handled correctly in the response and actions that were performed needlessly â Communication challenges and breakdowns â Problems encountered and possible solutions for future events â Innovations and strategies that should be employed in the future Include the following topics in after-action reports: â A brief overview of the incident â A synopsis of your incident goals and objectives â Documentation of vehicle, facility, and equipment use, and activities performed by all departments during response and recovery â Documentation of losses and any necessary repairs or maintenance â An assessment of what went right and what went wrong â Strategies to improve response and speed recovery in the future Resource for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Emergency Recovery DocumentationâAfter-Action Reports, Debriefing, and Assessment http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=3749 This excerpt from the âGuidebook for Emergency Management Planning for Texas Transit Agenciesâ discusses what should be included in AARs and the topics for debrief- ings. It also provides a form to record information on vehicles/equipment used during an emergency.
recovery 93 6.D.3 Reimbursement Following large-scale emergencies or natural disasters, state officials will make a formal disaster declaration and request federal aid if recovery costs exceed the combined resources of local and state governments. If a presidential declaration is made, the way is cleared for federal resources and funding to support recovery efforts. To be eligible for reimbursement, paratransit providers should be NIMS compliant and have accurate records of emergency response mission assignments that were formally directed by the EOC. There should also be an MOU in place with emergency management regarding the provid- erâs disaster roles and responsibilities, particularly if the service provider is a quasi-governmental or non-governmental agency. If the above standards are not met, the paratransit provider may not be eligible for reimbursement it might otherwise have been entitled to for vehicles, fuel, staff, and other resources used during emergency response activities. Reimbursement challenges are often greater when contracted paratransit services are involved in emergency response. The contractor normally will comply with service requests from the con- trolling agency, and such requests are usually billed at prevailing rates. However, if the control- ling agency is not reimbursed for monies it has paid out to a contractor, this can negatively affect its budget and possibly hinder its ability to support normal operations in the future. Considerations âªâª Both urban/suburban and rural/tribal paratransit providers should proactively work with emergency management to develop systems that ensure eligibility for federal, state, and local disaster relief funds for paratransit resources utilized during a community emergency response. Effective Practices âªâª In locales where paratransit and emergency management communicate and plan ahead, para- transit providers have established cost-accounting systems that enable them to provide fully allocated cost/hour and cost/mile expenses for resources used during emergency response and recovery. Providers that have carefully documented all mission assignments and related tasks improve their position in the reimbursement process. âªâª Many state DOTs provide guidance to paratransit systems on federal and state reimbursement requirements. âªâª While local government is the normal conduit for disaster aid, in certain cases, state agencies and national associations have stepped in on behalf of transit and paratransit agencies expe- riencing difficulty receiving state and federal reimbursement. Strategy âªâª Reimbursement for the services your paratransit agency provides in support of community emergency response efforts may come from the local government based on existing agree- ments, state and federal disaster aid programs, and/or insurance. âªâª Be familiar with requirements, processes, and documentation necessary for reimbursement, such as FEMAâs Stafford Act. Capturing the required documentation should be integrated into emergency procedures, as necessary. To ensure you understand all reimbursement documen- tation requirements, you are encouraged to coordinate with the state DOT, state emergency management agency, local FTA region, and other key stakeholders. âªâª To be eligible for disaster cost reimbursement, have a signed agreement with emergency man- agement that details your agencyâs emergency response roles and ensure that services were delivered in accordance with mission assignments coming from the EOC and were performed within the âincident period,â as defined in formal disaster proclamations. Formal agreements should detail deployment protocols as well as reimbursement strategies.
94 paratransit emergency preparedness and Operations handbook Tool: Reimbursement FTA, in its âDisaster Response and Recovery Resource for Transit Agencies,â provides the fol- lowing information on paratransit post-disaster reimbursement. â There is broad flexibility under FTA planning and capital funding programs for states, metropolitan planning agencies, and transit authorities to spend FTA funds for emergency preparedness and response planning and capital security projects, including security training for personnel and conducting emergency response drills under their discretionary planning and research programs and their program management oversight program. FTA is also able to hire con- tractors to provide assistance to transit grantees in disaster areas for some support activities such as transit planning, transit operations support and technical assistance, and engineering and project management support. â The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (the Stafford Act) supports state and local governments and their citizens when disasters over- whelm local resources. This law establishes a process for requesting and obtain- ing a Presidential disaster declaration, defines the types and scope of assistance available under the Stafford Act, and sets the conditions for obtaining that assis- tance. Under the Stafford Act, states can request assistance from FEMA to pro- vide emergency transit services that are necessary to help an area respond to and recover from the damaging effects of a disaster. In addition, FEMA assistance is available to transit authorities to help replace or build transit buses, equipment, and the facilities that have been damaged or destroyed during a disaster. â Most states have an emergency management plan that establishes a framework through which local governments prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the impacts of a wide variety of disasters that could adversely affect the health, safety, and/or general welfare of the residents of their jurisdictions. State emergency plans provide guidance to state and local officials on proce- dures, organization, and their responsibilities in providing an integrated and coordinated response. State emergency plans often provide procedures for the reimbursement of services provided during disaster response and recovery. Resources for Urban/Suburban and Rural/Tribal Areas âªâª Incident Management Overview http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4157 This diagram, excerpted from the USDOT document âRecovering from Disasters: The National Transportation Recovery Strategy,â presents a brief overview of the federal disaster declaration process, incident management, and financial assistance. âªâª FEMA and FTA Disaster Funding Information http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4160 This excerpt from Chapter 3 of FTAâs âDisaster Response and Recovery Resource for Transit Agencies,â published in 2006, provides information on funding that FEMA and FTA can pro- vide toward disaster response activities. âªâª Possible Funding Sources for Paratransit Agencies for Emergency Preparedness http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4223 This resource outlines possible funding sources for transit agencies to enhance their opera- tional capabilities in reference to safety, security, and emergency preparedness concerns. âªâª Disaster Declaration Process http://bussafety.fta.dot.gov/show_resource.php?id=4224 This resource outlines protocols for disaster declaration at the federal, state, and local levels.