Scientifically trained personnel often play vital roles in emergency response and recovery efforts. Under the right circumstances, they can mobilize research to better understand the nature of the event and how best to respond to similar events in the future. But the scientific community also needs to plan carefully for disaster preparedness and mitigation for its own infrastructure and resources.
Even if an academic research institution and its research enterprise carry out prevention, protection, and mitigation activities, the risk remains that a “big one” will overcome the capacity of the institution to manage using only business-as-usual means and methods. This can be particularly true with a no-notice event such as an earthquake or terrorist action. This chapter will address response and recovery through the dimension of time: the response and then the immediate, intermediate, and long-term recovery. This chapter summarizes the combined wisdom gleaned from experience and provides guidance in the form of effective practices to assist the research enterprise that battles an overwhelming natural or manmade event.
The lesson of collected experience over time is that planning will likely not make it possible to quickly restore normal working conditions.
I heard long ago in the Army: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of “emergency” is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning. (Eisenhower, 1957)
But this accepted fact is not offered to impugn preparation. Eisenhower continues in this same address to explain the underlying value of planning:
But if you haven’t been planning, you can’t start to work, intelligently at least. That is the reason it is so important to plan, to keep yourselves steeped in the character of the problem that you may one day be called upon to solve—or to help to solve. (Eisenhower, 1957)
The reason the plan will be suboptimal at best is because the response will be entirely situational. That is why the most resilient academic research institutions and their research enterprises should regularly conduct trainings and exercises and default to activation whenever business as usual might be challenged.
Most disasters share common patterns—both in their challenges and in their opportunities—and the academic research institutions should be aware of these. Once the initial shock of the disaster wears off, people will step up and throw themselves into the response. Individuals under stress—and a disaster will be stressful—will exhibit their unvarnished selves. After a while, the gung-ho attitude of “we are all in this together” will wear off. People will be tired, and they will need physical and emotional support (see Figure 6-1). Chaos can ensue if there has not been effective planning for disasters.
In all likelihood the following situations will occur:
- Communication will be a challenge, both in terms of technology and in terms of the quantity and value of information being communicated.
- People will generally be well intentioned and heroes will emerge from unlikely places. Researchers will not leave their laboratories or will insist on returning before things are determined to be safe
- Research animals will create difficult moral, ethical, and practical problems.
- First responders will probably not be the first to respond. Instead the first people on the scene will be a combination of the staff and the institution’s safety and facilities personnel (Donahue and Tuohy, 2006).
For all the investments in electronic technology that universities make, communication is almost always discussed as something that could have been done better. Many organizations do not do a very good job communicating to their various stakeholders under normal circumstances, so why would the communication be any better in extremis?
Thus if response efforts are to be robust, they will need to use multiple modes of communication—including walkie-talkies and even face-to-face communications. Those involved with the New York University Langone Medical Center (NYU Langone) response mentioned that the town halls held daily by the leadership team were probably the most effective way they communicated vital information to those immediately affected by the disaster (Bloom, 2016; FEMA, 2013). The committee noted that there is an authenticity with this kind of communication that cannot be matched in any other form or forum. Such authenticity is vital to building trust between leadership and those affected by a disaster, and it contributes to sustaining morale.
The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina posed unique challenges, including the implementation of martial law and curfews (Dupepe, 2013). Communication with essential personnel was complicated because cell towers were down, landlines were inoperable, and satellite communication was slowed owing to its extensive use by emergency personnel. E-mail service was not available during and for several weeks after the event. Text messaging proved to be somewhat reliable, though severely delayed. The most effective means of maintaining communication was having employees report to an established offsite command center. Tulane University presently maintains a message alert system, updating employees about institution closings, emer-
gency situations, and other critical information. The system is designed to include as many means of contact as an individual provides. Furthermore, the system can be configured to “ping” an individual via all contacts provided until receipt of the communication is acknowledged.
People are the response effort. Supporting people in and through the response is critical. Disasters have a way of identifying and tapping hidden potential in members of the community. Those individuals often perform transformative work and may themselves be transformed by the work. Academic research institutions are wise to pay attention to these situations and individuals and to take action to harvest this potential.
The dedication of researchers to their research is legendary (see Chapter 2). It should be no surprise that they will generally be loath to leave their laboratories regardless of the maelstrom that surrounds them—their research is their professional life. This will be a serious challenge for response efforts, but also an extraordinary opportunity. Following Hurricane Katrina, researchers did what they could to preserve their research materials. For example, researchers from Tulane and Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) ventured back by boat, truck, and helicopter with armed guards to top off the liquid nitrogen covering storage containers and to retrieve samples (Kaiser, 2005). Tulane gene therapy center director Darwin Prockop organized a convoy from Baton Rouge to salvage the center’s National Institutes of Health (NIH)–funded adult human stem cell bank, with staff members lugging 36-kg Dewars up four flights of stairs to collect racks of vials.
Research animals present difficult moral, ethical, and practical problems. Research animals may be considered expendable assets in a disaster by the broad community of emergency responders. At the same time, research animals are exceedingly valuable and in some cases irreplaceable assets. Animal emergency management is a community effort—a blending of emergency management and animal-handling expertise (FEMA, 2016b). These entities need to collaborate to meet emergency animal needs in their communities. Many states have integrated animal response capabilities, such as county or state animal response teams and veterinary medical reserve corps. For these reasons building resilience into the plan for animal management is an important part of the planning process, and is further discussed in Chapter 7.
Professional first responders will likely not be the first to respond, and if they are, there is the possibility that these first responders will not know what is in the laboratory. From the firsthand accounts of disaster survivors at institutions and of members of this committee who are also disaster survivors, the consensus of opinion was unanimous—the reality of early disaster response has been that the institutional leadership, researchers, and employees of the institution’s campus security, fire fighting, or facilities staff were the actual first responders. In this situation they must rely on their training, their knowledge of the research facilities, and their wits to do the right thing. These groups should be trained in the response skills they may be called on to use, including field first aid, condition assessment of the facilities and supporting infrastructure, securing utilities and infrastructure, hazardous materials management, and the use of any campus or alternate emergency communications systems.
Depending on the nature of the event it could take anywhere from minutes to days for the professional first responders to arrive.
As uniformed emergency responders constitute less than 1 percent of the total U.S. population, it is clear that citizens must be better prepared, trained, and practiced on how best to take care of themselves and assist others in those first, crucial hours during and after a catastrophic incident. (DHS, 2007, p. 21)
The disaster may well have knocked out or impaired the ability of local entities to respond. Any public response capability will be spread across the entire affected area according to a prioritization scheme that may not match with the priorities of the academic research institution. For example, protecting research-related assets may be high on the agenda of the institution but very low on the list of the public response effort.
When an emergency occurs, the first priority is always life safety. The second priority is the stabilization of the incident. There are many actions that can be taken to stabilize an incident and minimize potential damage. First aid and CPR by trained employees can save lives. Use of fire extinguishers by trained employees can extinguish a small fire. Containment of a small chemical spill and supervision of building utilities and systems can minimize damage to a building and help prevent environmental damage. (DHS, 2017)
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Response Framework discusses the capabilities necessary to save lives (i.e.,
both human and research animals), protect research-related assets and the environment, and meet basic needs after an incident has occurred (FEMA, 2016d).
The chief resilience officer for the research enterprise and the research enterprise planning committee, in coordination with the institution-wide planning committee, should consider the following response-specific core capabilities in its emergency operations planning: critical transportation; environmental response—health and safety; fatality management services; logistics and supply chain management; mass care services; mass search and rescue operations; on-scene security, protection, and law enforcement; operational communication and coordination; public health, health care, and emergency medical services; and situational assessment (FEMA, 2016d).
The Emergency Operations Plan
Planning is a crosscutting capability across all five mission areas. The primary planning document for guiding immediate response during an incident is the emergency operations plan (EOP) (FEMA, 2016d). Generally speaking, the EOP contains the details of the operational strategy for the response. The EOP includes risk assessments, establishes authority and sets forth the incident command system, and defines the roles and responsibilities that the various individuals will fulfill to accomplish specific actions during the response (ED, 2013). The Department of Education has created a guidance document for developing and revising institution-wide EOPs. Generally speaking, this guidance document states that those individuals participating in the planning process, such as the research enterprise planning committee, must be supported by leadership, use risk assessments to customize plans, consider all threats and hazards, plan for access and functional needs, consider all settings and times, consider individual preparedness, meet the requirements of all applicable laws, conduct drills and exercises, and follow a collaborative process (refer to Chapter 4 for a broad discussion of planning). Another useful guidance document is the FEMA-developed Building a Disaster-Resistant University (FEMA, 2003).
As a result of regulatory and business factors, most institutions have already developed institution-wide EOPs, but the level of detail at which these EOPs address the research enterprise varies from place to place (Mische and Wilkerson, 2016). Institution-wide EOPs often include appropriate procedures to safeguard human lives and protect property, but they
often fail to adequately consider the unique considerations of the research enterprise (e.g., the lives and safety of research animals as well as the research data) (Vogelweid, 2013). A single set of actions for the overall institution is not sufficient to capture every goal of the researcher and the different research departments.
To address this issue, NYU Langone conducts individual laboratory-resilience assessments (see Figure 6-2). Emergency management and enterprise risk representatives meet with the principal investigator (PI) or designee in a 30-minute meeting, The goal of this meeting is to identify laboratory hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities; increase awareness of the need for emergency preparation; collect safety information for first responders; validate emergency contact lists for each lab; document all key laboratory equipment; generate a laboratory preparedness report that the PI validates; and create actionable plans.
Much time and effort can be saved if the research enterprise planning committee does not have to start drafting its EOP from scratch, but rather can develop and align its EOP with credible plans from the institution and the at-large community. Therefore, in the development of the research enterprise–specific EOPs, the institution-wide EOP template should be followed to ensure continuity among the plans. If researchers are diligent in preparing the laboratory and executing the EOP, it will lessen the amount of damage that occurs in case of a disaster and speed up the recovery of the laboratory. As with the institution-wide EOP, these research enterprise–specific EOPs will still need to have the involvement of representation of all crucial parties, including key local outside agencies that would be integral to a response, such as first responders, emergency managers, and public and mental health officials. It should be accessed from multiple locations—in the laboratory, on a secure institutional web page, and on the personal computers of key staff members.
The research enterprise–specific EOPs should still be all-hazards based (ED, 2013). The chief resilience officer for the research enterprise and the research enterprise planning committee, in coordination with the institution-wide planning committee should follow the planning process described in Chapter 4 to draft research enterprise–specific EOPs, review it, obtain institutional approval for implementation, and ensure that the plan is integrated with emergency management both within the institution and with local, state, and federal agencies. At this stage there may be additional planning considerations for the institution because it is required to maintain compliance with applicable federal laws (ED, 2013). At institutions that use vertebrate animals in research, compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and the Public Health Service Policy is also required. A detailed discussion of the impact of policies and regulations is beyond the scope of this section, but is addressed in Appendix C.
Examples of important information that might be included in a research enterprise–specific EOP are the emergency contact information for essential staff, an outline of the desired chain of command for laboratory staff and rules for delegating authority if an individual is incapacitated or unavailable, a description of the procedures for shutting down or securing critical equipment that includes who is responsible for accomplishing shutdown tasks, lists of critical reagents and equipment that are required to conduct the research (including vendors for the reagents and equipment), and the locations of critical research samples (e.g., tissues in freezers and research animals) (Mische and Wilkerson, 2016).
Essential functions It is important that the research enterprise identify personnel who perform critical and essential functions (NRC, 2011). As researchers are the individuals who are most familiar with the research materials and operations in the laboratory, the early involvement of research personnel in disaster preparedness can help minimize the damage from a disaster (Schub, 2002). Examples of typical essential functions for laboratories are conducting research, ordering supplies, and managing staff (Yale University, 2016).
Researchers have a critical role in the first hours and days. A staff schedule could be instituted to manage and protect the research-related assets during the response period, whether in-place or at a remote location. Recognizing this as a priority, NYU Langone developed a “Scientists on Standby” system to ensure that a cadre of researchers is available to respond to any emergency in the research enterprise 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (Gair, 2016). Most importantly, as staff are a critical resource, plans must be in place to identify support structures (e.g. food, water, housing, transportation, health care, and compensation) (Roble et al., 2010).
At the Rockefeller University Comparative Bioscience Center (RUCBC), a separate management hierarchy for those people who would be responsible for essential functions after a disaster was established for the comprehensive laboratory animal facility pandemic response plan (see Figure 6-3) (Roble et al., 2010). Participation on special response teams was considered voluntary, and RUCBC offered increased wages to incentivize volunteers. Persons volunteering to perform essential functions underwent both physical and psychological evaluation. In addition to identifying essential roles, RUCBC also identified housing, transportation, and health care to keep staff onsite following a disaster. Human resources and payroll issues were addressed for these staff in institution-wide plans and policies. RUCBC provided identification cards, available through partnerships with local governments, to these personnel that indicated their performance of essential functions during disaster periods.
Trainings and exercises Following the common planning process described by the Department of Education, the EOP should be updated frequently using information obtained from lessons learned from trainings and exercises that test the plan. Following completion of the EOP, staff should be trained, and the plan should be exercised as previously discussed in Chapter 4 (ED, 2013) (see Box 6-1). The Independent Study section of the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) website is a valuable resource with self-paced courses designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public (FEMA, 2016a). Table 6-1 lists courses that the committee has found to be relevant sources of information to assist planners at academic research institutions.
Essentially all academic research institutions and their research enterprises have various levels of required training for researchers in areas related to safety, ethics, and compliance (NRC, 2011). Most institutions have a new employee orientation that is tailored to systems and requirements for that institution. For researchers, this will usually include at least some orientation to environmental, health, and safety within a laboratory environment; an introduction to further training needed for specific research needs; and a similar introduction to various levels of compliance needed within the research environment.
|FEMA Course No.||Course Title|
|IS-10.A||Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness|
|IS-42||Social Media in Emergency Management|
|IS-100.HE||Introduction to the Incident Command System for Higher Education|
|IS-120.A||An Introduction to Exercises|
|IS-130||Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning|
|IS-212.B||Introduction to the Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)|
|IS-230.D||Fundamentals of Emergency Management|
|IS-524||Continuity of Operations (COOP) Planners Workshop|
|IS-547.A||Introduction to Continuity of Operations|
|IS-700.A||National Incident Management System (NIMS): An Introduction|
|IS-800.B||National Response Framework: An Introduction|
|IS-2001||Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA)|
SOURCE: FEMA, 2016a.
These initial orientation efforts are often followed by extensive further training modules required for research-related personnel which are taken as the need arises (NRC, 2011). These include potential requirements for ethics training, conflict of interest, radiation and hazardous chemicals, blood-borne pathogens, animal research, and human subjects research, among others. These different trainings can be run as short courses, seminars, or web-based training. Sometimes these training courses are accompanied by testing modules to provide records to the institution that the individual has met the training requirement. Additionally, research sponsors often require that certain training be completed before the funding of a grant.
NIH does not include disaster preparedness training in the training program for early scientists (NIH, 2017). While there are no specific curricular requirements for instruction in the responsible conduct of research, the following topics have been incorporated into most acceptable plans for such instruction:
- Conflict of interest: personal, professional, and financial.
- Policies regarding human subjects, live vertebrate animal subjects in research, and safe laboratory practices.
- Sponsor/fellow responsibilities and relationships.
- Collaborative research, including collaborations with industry.
- Peer review.
- Data acquisition and laboratory tools.
- Data management, sharing, and ownership.
- Research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct.
- Responsible authorship and publication.
- The scientist as a responsible member of society, contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research, and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research.
Researcher training activities may aid in disaster resilience in several ways. For example, the research enterprise could implement specific training modules that are tailored to the institutional needs and even tailored to different stakeholders in the resilience process. These training modules can be used for new researchers or as routine updates to make sure that seasoned researchers have available to them the best procedures. Alternatively, it would be very appropriate for some of the existing training programs to have components added that are relevant to disaster resilience. Preparedness language could be added to syllabi, and faculty could review it during the first day of classes as well as throughout the semester (NCCPS, 2016). Integrating disaster resilience into training modules would be likely to help establish a culture of resilience in the research enterprise.
Transportation (including infrastructure access and accessible transportation services) could include the evacuation of people and research animals and the delivery of vital response personnel, equipment, and services to the affected areas (FEMA, 2016d). As part of the response planning, the academic research institutions and their research enterprises could consider registering personnel who perform essential functions with their municipal governments to facilitate travel and identification during disaster periods (Mische and Wilkerson, 2016).
Environmental Response—Health and Safety
To ensure safe conditions in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, the EOP could identify and describe processes to assess the conditions of building structures, interior and exterior infrastructure systems, the life safety and environmental health conditions; to secure facilities from unauthorized entry; and, only while accompanied by laboratory animal care professionals, to survey laboratory animal facilities. Designated personnel performing these essential functions should be deployed at this stage to coordinate
the response work and, specifically, to coordinate with researchers. A key element is assessing the hazards and potential risks associated with the research material and operations used. Researchers should prepare for damaged or inaccessible workspace (UC Berkeley, 2004). Once the conditions have been deemed safe and the safety of personnel is assured, researchers should assess the condition of their laboratory and research activities. Particularly in the early stages of a response, much of the work for the research enterprise may be manual labor in one form or another—cages to be moved and dry ice to be hauled (Pullium, 2016).
During Hurricane Ike, the institution ride-out staff participated in assessment teams to complete floor-by-floor evaluations of research facilities, documenting the condition of every room (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010). The assessment teams noted any leaks, spills, broken glass, or other damage that might be dangerous to people entering the research facilities. The assessment teams provided the campus with daily updates on building status. Some of the challenges experienced by the assessment teams were evident in the loss of utilities and infrastructure and the need for adaptations in the absence of functioning elevators, lighted stairwells, and flushing toilets.
Fatality Management Services
FEMA’s National Response Framework suggests academic research institutions and their research enterprises should plan for the worst-case scenario in which there is loss of life—either human or research animals. The research enterprise can have plans in place to work closely with local authorities to share information and to provide counseling (FEMA, 2016b).
Logistics and Supply Chain Management
As previously discussed in Chapter 5, academic research institutions and their research enterprises could hold advance discussions with essential suppliers and consider establishing mutual aid agreements (MAAs) or memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to facilitate the delivery of appropriate research-related resources at the time of the request (FEMA, 2016d).
Mass Care Services
Academic research institutions and their research enterprises could have a process in place to provide life-sustaining services to the affected population, which may include hydration, feeding, sheltering, temporary housing, evacuee support, reunification, and the distribution of emergency supplies—especially in the context of researchers and research animals in
Mass Search and Rescue Operations
In the event that individuals or research animals need to be rescued, FEMA’s National Response Framework suggests academic research institutions and their research enterprises should have plans in place to work closely with local authorities to deliver traditional and atypical search-and-rescue capabilities to save the greatest number of endangered lives in the shortest time possible (FEMA, 2016d). Special consideration for the rescue of research animals will be required as emergency responders from the public safety sector will be focused on life safety issues for people affected by the disaster. Plans for animal rescue could be addressed with emergency management officials and other partners in advance of a disaster.
On-Scene Security, Protection, and Law Enforcement
Laboratory security can play a role in reducing the likelihood of some disasters and assisting in the preparation and response for others (NRC, 2011) (see Box 6-2). FEMA’s National Response Framework suggests academic research institutions and their research enterprises should have pro-
cesses in place to secure research facilities following a disaster. Goodwin and Donaho (2010) noted that after Hurricane Ike, laboratory security was a primary concern. Essential personnel should have pre-approved access to the research facilities.
Operational Communication and Coordination
An emergency communications system could be used to notify personnel in the research enterprise of an emergency situation and of the possible response actions, and deliver coordinated, prompt, reliable, and actionable information. The research enterprise should ensure that the institution has plans for interoperable approaches to communicate with internal responders, a more dispersed workforce, and external entities through clear, consistent, accessible, and culturally and linguistically appropriate methods.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS), previously discussed in Chapter 4, requires the use of a standardized, integrated management structure called the incident command system (ICS) during disaster response. The ICS is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards approach to the management of an incident. Its purpose is to enable the delivery of a coordinated, seamless multiagency response. Using the ICS creates a uniform response structure that outlines authority and delegates decision-making responsibilities at all times and during every phase of the incident.
All responders can understand each other because ICS requires the use of common terminology and prohibits the use of jargon. ICS uses a modular organizational structure, which provides the capability for flexibility. The modular structure permits the response to an incident to either expand or contract as the size or complexity of the incident changes. ICS can be applied to manage the response to any type of incident. ICS is, at its core, a command-and-control construct that enables rapid decision making and action taking. ICS also sets forth a common language and role definition that, to the extent those involved are familiar with and use the construct, enables multiple groups to coordinate communication and actions.
The ICS framework consists of an incident commander (IC), a command staff, and four sections charged with carrying out the response: planning, operations, logistics, and finance. Information on ICS is widely available (OSHA, 2017) (see Figure 6-4).
The IC is the designated decision maker for all planning, operational, and logistical decisions during the period of time that the incident command system is activated and operational. An incident response team should include what is needed to manage the incident. It can be as small as one or two people—an IC and a specialist—or number in the hundreds.
When applied at the institution, the ICS structure may represent a departure from what is customary. The departure is particularly evident
when the IC is not the person who customarily sits at the top of the academic research institution. For example, it may or may not be the chief resilience officer for the research enterprise. Activation of the ICS is authorized by the executive leadership and supersedes any and all norms of practice and authority. Given the role expectations of the IC, individuals who are operational leaders with broad understanding of how the institution operates on a day-to-day, tactical level and who can listen, operate in ambiguity, and default to action are generally best suited for the role.
In some versions of ICS, academic research institutions establish an executive policy group or council for leaders who can support the IC. This is particularly important when decisions are made that affect public relations or the institution’s reputation or that have long-term implications (see Figure 6-5). In this model, the chief resilience officer for the research enterprise may lead a branch under the operations chief with the aim of ensuring the response plans of the research enterprise are being executed as written and in coordination with the overall institutional response.
Overall, in the event of a community-wide disaster the primary role of the academic research institution in the response is to initiate and operate its ICS and subsequently, in the recovery, to actively participate in the community-wide ICS, to communicate internally and externally about the situation and the plan forward, and to request via the local and state authorities a disaster declaration.
The described ICS structure also facilitates multiple responding agencies and organizations (internal and external) working together when they form a unified command. A unified command consists of ICs from different organizations and governance structures that work together to form
a single command structure. The unified command facilitates a common operating picture and joint decision making, resulting in unity of effort. The benefits of a multijurisdictional, unified command include a shared understanding of priorities, a single set of incident objectives, collaborative strategies, improved internal and external information flow, less duplication of effort, and better resource utilization. It is organized such that multiple incident commands can fit within a larger structure. This may be applicable to dealing with a large complex institution’s research enterprise. The committee describes two general models for this situation. The first example is a peer model in which an academic institution activates its ICS structure to manage its part of the situation and joins a unified command with the responding fire and police departments. In this scenario, or if the disaster
is community-wide, the institution will be part of a unified command structure with external agencies (see Figure 6-6). This provides a formal way to coordinate the work that the institution is doing with the broader response efforts and to advocate for local priorities and concerns. A strong working relationship with the local and state responder community will ensure that this critical coordination evolves in a productive, coordinated fashion. By understanding the unique features of the critical research-related assets of the research enterprise at the institution as well as the institution’s disaster response priorities, the responding agencies will be better prepared to respond.
External responders will also expect the institutional command team to coordinate access to research facilities and to act as guides through them. Regardless of previous training, MAAs, joint exercises, and so on, the research facilities will be foreign territory to most first responders and to
others who may be on the ground working the response. External agencies will look to the institution and its research enterprise to provide detailed information on and manage any research-related hazards. It is important that local first responders have advance knowledge of the research enterprise planning to understand the unique research environments they may be responding to (e.g., animal facilities, chemicals, and biological agents). If possible, representatives from local and state agencies should tour the research facilities pre-disaster. There may be concerns about information sharing with external parties due to sensitivity about making laboratory details available, in which case the research enterprise should work with its general counsel or legal department to develop guidelines governing the sharing of information with external parties (Durkee, 2013).
A second example of how a complex academic research institution may need to adopt a unified command is when the institution is made up of different centers with different chief executives and governing boards. This might be true at an academic research institution where the university, the research center, and the health center are affiliated, but separately governed. In this case, the incident commanders of each of the affiliated institutions organize a unified command, where joint decisions are made and the incident commanders speak with one voice through a joint information center staffed by each entity’s public information officer. The unified command facilitates the development of a single set of objectives, through a single planning process, yielding a single incident action plan (see Figure 6-7).
The chief resilience officer for the research enterprise can be incorporated into the ICS structure to coordinate the response of the researchers and supporting laboratory personnel in a manner consistent with the EOP and in coordination with the broader ICS structure. The chief resilience officer for the research enterprise, depending on his or her training and experience, may lead a branch under the operations chief with the aim of ensuring the response plans of the research enterprise are being executed as written and in coordination with the overall institutional response. In academic research institutions, the EOP should clarify how the response activities at the research laboratory and department level are to be coordinated vertically and horizontally across the organization during response and recovery.
Public Health, Health Care, and Emergency Medical Services
Academic research institutions and their research enterprises also play important roles in the public health system, providing health services, education, and research capacity, which may be interrupted during and after disasters (IOM, 2015). It is important for the research enterprise to have processes in place to contribute its resources, if possible, to the community-
wide response effort. These efforts can significantly increase community surge capacity.
Planning to conduct a situational assessment is extremely important as it will provide key information for response efforts. In the event of a disaster, the research enterprise will need to consider the communication of public health and safety issues that may arise to the appropriate external agencies. Additionally, the research enterprise could be either providers
of resources— say, extra freezer space, clean feed, animal cages, or bench space—or in need of the same. Generally, resource information at this level of granularity is not held at the institutional level and is rarely fresh in any case. It is important for the research enterprise to be in the best situation to collect and provide this type of information.
The fact that the institution also has the duty to be the point of contact for external funding agencies cannot be overemphasized. Federal assistance is only available if there has been a disaster declaration. As is described further in Chapter 9, there is much opportunity for improvements in the disaster reimbursement processes. In any case, establishing points of contact with agencies and funders, keeping them apprised of the situation, and confirming with them what information will be needed in order to pursue a claim at a time when the information can be collected will be important to the subsequent recovery and rebuilding effort. The institution may be eligible for FEMA reimbursement funding for certain emergency response activities within the first 48 hours after the disaster, and it is important to keep good records since orders may not be tracked via normal processes (Stancel, 2016). The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) received $19.7 million in 3 weeks after Tropical Storm Allison and used a purchasing agent with a laptop onsite.
The importance of preserving the research enterprise by improving an institution’s ability to withstand expected and extreme events is critical, but equally important is the ability of the research enterprise to recover rapidly and with significantly enhanced resilience to withstand future disasters more effectively. While it may seem counterintuitive that the research enterprise devote time and effort to planning to recover from a disaster before it even occurs, this turns out not to be the case. Previous disasters have taught a powerful lesson: actions that are taken pre-disaster that inform recovery will significantly accelerate the recovery process. Regardless of the size of a disruptive incident or disaster, an affected research enterprise will have to recognize its needs and then coordinate and manage its resources to satisfy those needs and recover. In a large-scale disaster, this process is arduous, and without extensive recovery planning, it can become uncoordinated, frustrating, and a source of additional problems.
The FEMA National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) is an approach that is widely used by our government and many nongovernmental organizations to conduct recovery actions that are resilient and sustainable (FEMA, 2016c). The approach can also be applied in recovery planning for the research enterprise. The concepts outlined in the NDRF revolve around the ideal of emerging from the disaster recovery process with an institution
that is more resilient and sustainable. Rather than damaged buildings and infrastructure simply being rebuilt as they were, they can be strengthened and improved. The approach to providing assistance to disaster survivors is holistic—it is geared to providing a continuum of care that addresses both physical and emotional needs.
The major value of the NDRF is its emphasis on preparation and planning before a disaster occurs. The ability of a research enterprise to accelerate its recovery from a disaster begins with its planning efforts in the pre-disaster preparation and mitigation phase, plus its ability to build capacity to undertake recovery activities. Pre-disaster preparation activities that improve coordination among response partners accelerate the disaster recovery process by speeding up the response phase, which saves lives and minimizes property damage. Pre-disaster mitigation actions can significantly reduce risks, making the research enterprise safer for people and minimizing the level of damage that occurs. Having a business continuity plan in place before a disaster enables timely decision making to help preserve critical assets, which reduces the downtime of the research enterprise and the costs that would be incurred if those assets were destroyed and had to be replaced. Building recovery capacity enables the research enterprise to direct the right amount of resources to save its prioritized assets and infrastructure, which speeds up the recovery process and decreases losses (FEMA, 2016c).
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (NIST Planning Guide) (NIST, 2015) observes that communities are often not sufficiently prepared to recover from natural or manmade disasters but that, even if they are, the recovery efforts are too often focused narrowly on restoration of the previous capacities rather than building back better. Recovery efforts should, at a minimum, ensure that institutions become more resilient than they were before the disaster. The University of Oregon’s Emergency Management Program defines recovery in this way:
Recovery operations provide for basic needs and restore the organization. There are two phases in the recovery phase. During the first phase, infrastructure is examined, and repairs are conducted to restore water, power, communication and other utilities. The second phase includes returning to normal functions and addressing future disasters. (University of Oregon, 2012)
The frameworks from NDRF and the NIST Planning Guide may lead to the implementation of national building code revisions that would allow the occupation of facilities that are deemed to be structurally safe even though they have not been restored to their pre-disaster functionality (FEMA, 2016c; NIST, 2015). Although it is clear that the authority having jurisdic-
tion provides certificates of occupancy to building owners when a building achieves an acceptable level of fire and life safety, the process for allowing temporary use of a facility with fire and life safety deficiencies is less well defined. To expedite disaster recovery in the future, there may be need for proactive engagement by academic enterprise leaders in national discussions with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and other building owners and officials to establish a national standard that will identify the conditions under which
a facility can be reoccupied; how long the facility can remain occupied until repairs are implemented; [and] what temporary precautions are needed to manage fire and life safety risks in the interim. (Dungan, 2014, p. 28)
Norman Mortell and Sam Nicholls (2013, p. F23) characterized the challenge of rapid recovery in this way:
The return to normalcy is a long-term endeavor frequently overlooked in the haste to treat the cause of the disaster and only considered when other demands have lessened.
The authors also note that unfortunately it is not possible to thoughtfully consider recovery needs after the fact, because recovery is usually set in motion immediately following disaster response. In response to the significant economic damage inflicted by the 2008 500-year flood that affected Cedar Rapids, Iowa, including the University of Iowa in nearby Iowa City, these communities developed broad recovery and reinvestment plans to not simply recover from a disaster but to improve the quality of public health and education and to provide enhanced economic opportunities to grow more resilient communities (Connerly et al., 2017).
The development of new and continuously improving recovery plans contributes to the successful recovery of the research enterprise in the aftermath of a disaster. Successful recovery will rely on prioritizing protection and support for the people and research animals involved in research activities, the research facilities and associated infrastructure systems, and the research-related assets. Successful disaster recovery requires practical integration of the recovery plan with the institutions “family of plans” including the long-range strategic plan, the annual capital plan, the ongoing facilities master plan, the business continuity plan, the emergency operations plan, and the financial recovery plan. Successful disaster recovery also suggests engagement and empowerment of the research enterprise’s senior leadership as key decision makers in pre- and post-disaster institutional planning activities (Beggan, 2011).
In the context of the phases and intended outcomes of recovery for the research enterprise, the 2014 American Planning Association’s Planning Advisory Service Report 576 Planning the Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation (APA PAS Report 576) succinctly identifies the challenges that accompany the questions of not simply when recovery first begins but, perhaps more important, how recovery may be determined to be complete or successful:
Unfortunately, the collective understanding of the plan implementation phase of post-disaster recovery—what actually gets funded, how it is executed, and what does and does not succeed—is far more limited than the understanding of the planning processes. This, in part, reflects the reality that government programs rarely work in practice as envisioned. It also reflects some of the continued challenges in the collective understanding of the recovery process itself: the observed conflicts between speed and quality as measures of recovery success and the uncertainty about how and when recovery ends and normal community processes resume. (APA, 2014, p. 121)
At the same time, following a disaster some researchers may continue to function in numerous locations virtually if they have connectivity and access to data storage; others may not be able to function, as they may only be able to work with specialized equipment or in controlled environments damaged by the disaster event. For each scientist, resumption of his or her work is disrupted, but in different ways (UC Berkeley, 2004).
Developed specifically for a California seismic disaster, the following illustration, Figure 6-8, provides a summary of the sequence of complex and overlapping recovery tasks over days, weeks, months, and years (Mader and Toylor, 1991). Whether in a city or in an institution, damage assessments, infrastructure and building facilities renewal, social and economic recovery, decisive leadership, and the exceptional management of financial and operational recovery serve as the foundation for successful disaster recovery.
The NDRF is an indicator that disaster recovery is becoming a more prominent priority for the nation. Figure 6-9 depicts how FEMA envisions community-wide recovery activities in the sequential phases of the disaster recovery process it has now termed the “recovery continuum”(FEMA, 2016c).
The general phases of disaster recovery for the research enterprise may include
- Conducting and reviewing preliminary disaster damage and operations impact assessments.
- Formal disaster recovery activation.
- The initial implementation and ongoing evolution of the short-(days and weeks), mid- (months), and long-range (years) recovery plan tasks.
- Initial and ongoing validation of the capacity of institutional financial reserves, reimbursement protocols, and status of all human and capital resource needs and allocations.
- The formal deactivation of the recovery process, including implementing facilities reoccupation protocols (FEMA, 2016c).
The recovery plan sets forth the procedures necessary to restore and rebuild following a disaster. Recovery begins with recovery activation, but it may be preceded by a preliminary assessment of physical damages and
losses as well as operational impacts (FEMA, 2016c). The condition assessments are undertaken first in order to gain an initial understanding of the disaster’s impact on human and animal life safety; the functional operations of the research enterprise, including its infrastructure systems; and the status of research-related assets. At the same time, informed and regular communications within and beyond the institution, validating financial needs balanced by financial resource availability, and the establishment of a disaster recovery team are critical early-phase activities.
A recovery plan needs to clearly identify decision-making authority in activating disaster recovery procedures (FEMA, 2016c). Each phase of the disaster recovery process will require leadership by a recovery management team composed of senior institutional officials who possess effective and demonstrated leadership skills, who will provide transparent and regular communications, and who are empowered with sufficient authority to proactively identify and promptly allocate resources to support the completion of the prioritized recovery actions (identified in the emergency operations,
business continuity, recovery plans, or ad hoc priorities created in the chaos following a disaster). Although not currently required by NIMS, a recovery plan’s adoption of an ICS-based organizational structure may best support an efficient transition from emergency response (usually highly specialized and focused on life safety or technology continuity) to recovery (usually requiring the integration of multiple diverse operational expertise) (APA, 2014) (see Figure 6-10).
It may be important to identify specific potential “trigger scenarios” in the recovery plan as well as decision-making criteria for activation. Decision-making criteria may include a required level of damage, the anticipated human and financial resources needed to implement recovery, or key recovery time lines required to return to pre-disaster operational levels (APA, 2014). Another key criterion may be that activation can occur only after the research enterprise has confirmed with first responders and other trained personnel the life safety of people and research animals as well as the condition of facilities. Regardless of the specific criteria used, when recovery begins the existing emergency management team lines-of-authority structure may shift seamlessly to become the institution’s recovery management team sustaining effective integration and consistent lines-of-authority among prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery planning (University of South Australia, 2011).
Short Term: Days and Weeks
As previously discussed, response and recovery efforts often merge together. The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) Research Recovery Action Plan (UC Berkeley, 2004) advises its research enterprise to prepare for the following worse-case scenario in the immediate aftermath of a disaster:
- Research program space is damaged or inaccessible.
- Critical research equipment is damaged or inaccessible.
- There is no power or water.
- There are no voice communications.
- There is no data connectivity, and critical data are inaccessible.
- Staff are affected by the disaster and unable to come to work.
- Important vendors or other business partners are unable to provide goods or services.
Following the completion of disaster response measures, and depending upon the institutional emergency management structure and protocols, trained facilities, information technology (IT), public safety, and environmental health and safety staff and vendors engaged with or without previously executed MAAs may be dispatched to assess the conditions of building structures, interior and exterior infrastructure systems, the life safety and environmental health conditions; to secure facilities from unauthorized entry; and, only while accompanied by laboratory animal care professionals, to survey research animal facilities. These assessments will be evaluated to determine preliminary recovery tasks consistent with the priorities established in the approved departmental business continuity plans and to secure facilities or to initiate space relocation protocols. Following the protection of people and laboratory animals and the preservation of critical research-related assets, the repair and restoration of communications systems remain one of the highest priorities in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
Additionally, after the disaster has passed and personnel safety has been assured, the next step for an institution’s management is the immediate notification of research sponsors, regulators, and accrediting organizations (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010). It is very important to contact the appropriate scientific program officials and grants management specialists, whether by phone, e-mail, or fax, as soon as possible after a disaster in order to notify them of potential delays, possible research setbacks, or relocations of research.
For the people of the research enterprise, the short-term impacts can be cumulative and hard (refer to Chapter 2). Damage to the work envi-
ronment, the lack of ability to access the work environment virtually or physically, the potential loss of employment and related personal financial impacts, and the additional psychological impact concerning how this event may affect careers and research all together create challenging circumstances for individuals, the cohesion of research laboratory teams, the mission of the research department, the research sponsors, and the financial sustainability of the academic institution home to the research enterprise. The institution must be supportive psychologically and financially in order to allow researchers to restart or continue their critical research. A successful recovery process addresses the full range of psychological needs of the people of the research enterprise as it recovers from the disaster through the provision of support, counseling, screening, and treatment as needed (FEMA, 2016c). For example, after the loss of research animals as a result of Tropical Storm Allison, UTHSC-H recognized that this incident required special attention to the mental and physical well-being of the animal care and use staff (Goodwin and Donaho 2010). Psychological counseling was made available, and about 5 months after the incident, a memorial service was held for the research animals that died. Each year on the anniversary of the storm, UTHSC-H pays tribute to the research animals that died. Additionally, after Hurricane Sandy, one of NYU Langone’s research command center priorities for the first 48 hours was to communicate empathy for the research community (Bloom, 2016). NYU Langone conducted peer outreach to understand the psychological needs of the research community and respond with counseling and other available aid.
The research enterprise can promote a story that will sustain the recovery effort—the story of the losses and damage, in particular, the irreplaceable research data and unique animal models lost. It is essential to tell the story via all internal avenues and media, as appropriate.
Mid Term: Weeks and Months
In the mid-term phase, clean-up, repair, restoration, or demolition of existing research enterprise buildings and infrastructure (roads, sanitary and storm water, potable water, natural gas, fiber optics, electrical power, and other utility services) continues. Intermediate actions, including the relocation of animals and research samples when necessary, may require transportation resources, available personnel, and funding for storage spaces and leased housing areas (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010). Temporary facilities for conducting research for the long term should be determined and negotiated during this intermediate recovery period. The institution should be informed of the urgency during this time of recovery and provide all the needed resources for substantial and critical program continuity.
The assessment of external infrastructure systems serving the research enterprise may continue, while accountability for procuring and managing construction assistance for system repair among private- and public-sector utilities remains beyond the control of the research enterprise. The financial recovery plan should establish dedicated disaster accounts to monitor all institutional expenditures for potential future reimbursement, and long-term capital needs based on the earlier operational and capital damage assessments begin to be integrated into long-range capital plans. Chapter 9 discusses the financial considerations in more detail.
For the individual researcher, the weeks following a disaster require a detailed evaluation as well as an objective analysis of the status and future of ongoing research projects. Critical decisions confront the researcher during this period, any one of which may have long-lasting implications for one’s career and area of scientific investigation. Not only must the researcher reevaluate research data to determine whether continuing or starting over is the best option, but a cascading series of near-term decisions will confront the researcher—for example, am I able to recover my genetically engineered animal models if they were not cryopreserved in an offsite location, or do I need to institute an intense breeding program from foundation stock, and is foundation breeding stock available in the time frame required?
During this challenging self-evaluation period for researchers, direct and frequent communications with departmental leadership and previously identified institutional sponsored research, facilities, IT, risk management, and financial affairs liaisons are critical in assisting researchers’ assessments of
- Individual laboratory data, facilities, and equipment damage;
- Accessing all protocols for capturing the appropriate quantitative and qualitative data required to support institutional insurance claims for laboratory facilities and equipment damage;
- The timing and quantity of institutional financial resources needed to stabilize and rebuild the components necessary to sustain the individual research program; and, of equal if not paramount importance,
- Seeking and receiving all institutional facilitation required in contacting research sponsors and seeking clear and timely guidance and support regarding re-establishing a grant-funded research program.
There are many decisions to be made by the researchers, and the decision whether to continue should not be taken lightly, but rather should be made only after a detailed evaluation and analysis of a researcher’s ongoing research projects. Funding can be available from research sponsors and must be maximized. Sources of money may also include insurance claims, FEMA funds, state funds, institutional administrative and financial support,
and no-cost grant extensions and financial supplements provided from NIH or other research sponsors on a case-by-case basis. These claims will take a long time and should be initiated during this intermediate recovery time frame (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010).
Long Term: Months and Years
Academic research institutions may experience long-term building closures as a result of a disaster. The downtime estimate is dependent not only on the availability of materials and workers for repair work, but also the time it takes for engineering reviews and repair plans, and the process of negotiating with insurers and FEMA for repair funds (Comerio, 2000). The design and execution of permanent repairs to facilities is significantly more involved, and securing FEMA’s approval of the proposed scope of work is more time-consuming than for temporary repairs (Hollier and Moerschbaecher, 2016). Past disasters have shown that repair depends on the flow of money, and the flow of money after a disaster depends on politics (Comerio, 2000). Comerio (2000) found that even in an earthquake with moderately severe ground motion, about 20 percent of the laboratory space at UC Berkeley could be closed for repairs for nearly 2 years. In 24 hours after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, Stanford University had to decide if the university could remain open. Two dozen buildings were closed. Stanford University decided on quick repairs to three academic buildings and four dormitories, using unrestricted gifts and general funds, because the buildings were deemed essential for continued operations. The remainder of the closed buildings stayed closed for years. Additionally, as a result of Hurricane Sandy, NYU Langone had to relocate about 90 researchers and 13,000 rodent cages long term (Bloom, 2016). Although each academic institution will have specific recovery challenges, each must acknowledge that their downtime includes the time necessary to plan, finance, and complete repairs on facilities damaged (Comerio, 2006).
Research facilities reoccupation policies and procedures will have already begun or will now begin to be implemented as research teams return to repaired facilities or new replacement facilities. The reimbursement procedures required by federal, state, and commercial insurers will have already begun or will now begin to be implemented. External infrastructure improvements will have already begun or will now begin to be constructed and commissioned. During the reconstruction period, it is important that management teams be willing to consider and approve numerous changes, not compromise on the requirements for state-of–the-art heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) requirements and fail-safe emergency generators, and consider the installation of interstitial spaces between floors
Section 406 of the Stafford Act contemplates that the design of permanent repairs may incorporate approaches and elements that are intended to reduce or eliminate the damages that a facility would incur during a future, similar event (FEMA, 2017). Examining LSUHSC’s recovery following Hurricane Katrina, Hollier and Moerschbaecher (2016) noted that work proposed by the architects related to Section 406 mitigation measures has proven to be the most valuable part of the FEMA-funded recovery effort, and it has also been the most difficult. LSUHSC’s experience suggests that FEMA was more accustomed to relatively simple mitigation proposals, such as elevating a damaged piece of equipment above the floodwater level, and installing storm shutters over broken windows. Hollier and Moerschbaecher (2016) noted that the greatest delays in securing FEMA-approval were in the two largest projects that proposed the most complex and sophisticated mitigation measures—taking approximately 8 years to secure FEMA-approval and funding of these permanent repairs and hazard mitigation measures. Chapter 9 further discusses the post-disaster financial considerations.
Following Hurricane Sandy and the resulting revenue losses and facilities damages at NYU Langone, that institution developed a long-range capital plan which includes capital project budgets for “building back better” and, for new buildings, enhanced disaster-resilient design features to avoid major damage and disruption during potential future disasters (Martin, 2016). UTHSC-H implemented a similar “building back better” strategy following the devastation from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 (Stancel, 2016). If capital funding is limited to the restoration of the built environment only as it existed before the disaster, what has been accomplished in reducing the vulnerabilities that have been clearly demonstrated to exist? By acknowledging the lessons learned and after-action reports following recovery, and by identifying those design solutions and best practices that will mitigate, if not eliminate, repetition of the same damage and destruction to the research enterprise, is it not ensuring—through each dollar reinvested—the creation of a disaster-resilient academic biomedical research community?
Good management and flexibility are key, and team loyalty is paramount for achieving departmental goals and objectives during the years-long recovery period. Patience and persistence are the greatest attributes for ensuring recovery from any disaster (Goodwin and Donaho, 2010). Planned recovery operations should be prioritized according to the time-sensitive research activities and maximum allowable downtime identified in the business continuity plans (BCPs) developed and approved by the research enter-
prise. The re-establishment of time-sensitive functions will require specific direction in the plan regarding when, where, and how these operations will be continued and will also require identifying, housing, providing transportation for, and otherwise sustaining with food and other needed supplies the staff who will continue the required operations (ASIS International, 2003). Discrete BCPs may use very diverse criteria for prioritizing the functions required to return the research enterprise to normal operations.
The highest priorities, after providing financial and operational support for the human resources who are the heart of the research enterprise recovery, may include sharing all damage-assessment information collected (prior to initiating cleanup and emergency repair activities) with insurance and research sponsors, re-establishing effective internal communications to inform researchers on the status of recovery operations, relocating research program activities to alternative locations if available, and rebuilding the IT infrastructure damaged in the disaster. Depending upon the specific circumstances, the preservation of equipment and facilities from further damage, initiating repair and restoration procurement, implementing a short- and long-term institutional financial recovery plan, and engaging directly with local, state, and federal agencies seeking assistance and collaboration are potential next actions in implementing the recovery plan.
The successful allocation of people, space, equipment, and dollars will be measured by how well time-sensitive functions were re-established within their maximum allowable downtown. A recovery management team should be charged with determining the specifics of what, when, and how resources will be deployed.
Neither the most current NDRF, nor the NFPA 1600 Standard or the ISO 22301 Standard specifically addresses best implementation practices or provides specific guidance in implementing a research enterprise recovery plan (FEMA, 2016c; ISO, 2012; NFPA, 2014, 2016). Nevertheless, each acknowledges that successful recovery implementation is time-line (immediate, short, medium, and long term) and human and capital resource dependent. Establishing recovery time lines and performance goals remains critically important to successful disaster recovery, but in practice the phases of disaster recovery are subject to competing demands, disruptive relocations, variable staffing and funding, and an uneven pace of technical assistance support and physical recovery of the research environment, and the challenges of sustaining informed communications among multiple institutional
and other stakeholders can create the need for a continual reassessment of and nimble changes to the disaster recovery plan which was thoughtfully developed in the calm pre-disaster environment. Given the recent experiences of many academic research institutions with a long and hard disaster recovery, the ability to measure recovery progress and outcomes may be invaluable as a communications tool during disaster recovery. The efficacy of this approach depends upon the pre-disaster development of a quantitative and qualitative baseline in the research enterprise business continuity plan including, for example, individual laboratory or core laboratory definitions of ISO Standard 22301 RTO (recovery time objective) and RPO (recovery point objective) or establishing a much more specific definition than the general guidance provided in the NFPA 1600 Standard’s 188.8.131.52: “Recovery of critical and time-sensitive processes, technology, systems, applications, and information” (refer to Chapter 5).
Additionally, the NDRF suggests that the definition of disaster recovery success will be unique for each community (FEMA, 2016c). While no comprehensive definition of success is included in the NDRF, the document identifies conditions that, if adopted, will provide a high probability of success:
- Comprehensive scope, which refers to the need to plan and operate recovery programs and organizations with the understanding that efforts serve people, their culture, and their place. Recovery efforts must address a continuum that includes individual survivor needs as well as the needs of the community and surrounding environment.
- Effective decision making and coordination, which includes characteristics such as defining stakeholder roles and responsibilities; coordinating response activities with corresponding recovery functions; examining recovery alternatives, addressing conflicts, and making informed and timely decisions; and establishing ways to measure and track progress, ensure accountability, make adjustments, and reinforce realistic expectations.
- Integration of community recovery planning processes, which includes characteristics such as linking recovery planning to other planning efforts in the community and developing processes and criteria to identify and prioritize key recovery actions and projects. Recovery of community-wide services, such as housing, schooling, and health care, are critical to the recovery of the academic research institution and its research enterprise.
- Well-managed recovery, which includes characteristics such as developing pre-disaster partnerships at all levels of government, with the private sector, and with nongovernmental organizations;
effectively leveraging resources; seeking out and successfully using outside resources; establishing guidance for the transition from response to recovery; and planning for surging personnel demands post-disaster.
- Proactive community engagement, public participation, and public awareness, which include characteristics such as stakeholders working together to maximize the use of available resources; creating post-disaster recovery plans that can be implemented quickly; and making sure that public information is actionable, effective, and accessible so as to keep everyone informed throughout the recovery process.
- Effective financial and program management, which includes characteristics such as understanding which funding sources could finance recovery; knowing how to administer external funding programs; having a system of internal financial and procurement controls and external audits; and maximizing the use of local businesses to aid recovery of the local economy.
- Organizational flexibility, which includes characteristics such as having recovery structures at all government levels that evolve and adapt to address changing recovery needs; facilitating compliance with laws, regulations, and policies; and ensuring flexible staffing and management structures.
- Resilient rebuilding, which includes characteristics such as taking into account ecological, environmental, and local capacity; adopting sustainable and inclusive building techniques, building codes, and land-use ordinances; and incorporating risk reduction strategies into local governance and decision making.
Measuring recovery progress in the research enterprise may require clear identification not only of the priorities for recovery to normal operations but also of a series of objectives that will inform the outcome of the recovery plan for an individual research laboratory. It may be important for an institution to identify a method for documenting and evaluating interim progress and proposing revisions to the recovery plan. The method used for measuring disaster recovery progress relative to established objectives (baseline) following the 1995 Kobe, Japan earthquake was acknowledged in the APA PAS Report 576, Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation:
After the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, the governor of Hyogo Prefecture identified specific recovery targets: to rebuild all damaged housing units in 3 years, remove all temporary housing within 5 years, and achieve complete physical recovery in 10 years. Each month, the City of Kobe and
the prefecture published information on the Web and provided it to the media, charting its recovery progress towards these and other recovery goals. Both the city and prefecture also convened panels of international and domestic experts and community members to assess the progress made on these targets and other recovery issues and to recommend any needed changes to existing policies. These goals were critical in helping inform the national government’s recovery-funding decisions and in coordinating the wide range of participants involved in the recovery. (APA, 2014, p. 157)
Response and recovery planning for the research enterprise does not come without its challenges. There is an extensive amount of published information in the lay and academic press recounting the disaster response and recovery experience of organizations and individuals. It may be fair to say it is not a lack of information, but rather an overwhelming amount of primary and secondary source information that challenges those working in the field of resilience.
Conclusion: For regulatory and business reasons, institutional response and recovery planning has more than likely been taking place at academic research institutions, but the detail with which these plans address the unique considerations of the research enterprise is variable. In the committee’s judgment, having plans in place to respond and recover at the research enterprise level have helped to mitigate the negative impacts of disasters. Continuing and enhancing this research enterprise–level planning is needed to protect the nation’s biomedical research investment.
In order for academic research institutions to adequately implement and execute plans for their research enterprises, they need their researchers to remain up to date on accreditations, current trends, and trainings. Essentially all academic research institutions have various levels of required training for researchers in areas related to safety, ethics, and compliance as well as new employee orientations tailored to systems and requirements for the specific institution. These initial orientation efforts are often followed by extensive further training modules required for research-related personnel which are taken as the need arises. These types of researcher training activities may aid institutions in disaster resilience; for example, some of the existing training programs and modules have components that are relevant to disaster resilience.
Encouraging researchers to attend trainings and workshops focused on disaster preparedness and response will systematically increase the aca-
demic research institution’s awareness of the necessary tools and strategies used in preparation for a disaster. Researchers should also know the importance of maintaining a culture of compliance and strive to practice safe work practices in their day-to-day duties in order to minimize the cascading effects that typically follow a disaster. It is important for researchers to have a sense of empowerment and undertake personal preparedness actions both at home and in the laboratory. Individual preparation is important because of the “ripple effect” it has in minimizing the negative impacts of a disaster at the academic research institution.
Implement Mandatory Disaster Resilience Education and Training Programs
RECOMMENDATION 5: Academic research institutions should implement mandatory disaster resilience education and training programs and integrate these programs within the broader safety, ethics, and compliance training programs for students, staff, and faculty of the research enterprise. Those individuals in the research enterprise who are responsible for responding during a disaster should understand their roles; therefore, education and training programs for researchers should be modeled after education and training programs for first responders.
Possible actions could include, but are not limited to
- Educating and training new researchers in disaster response and resilience upon hiring or enrollment. Training should emphasize that personal preparation is the key to participation in any disaster response, and new researchers should have plans for family independence and communication in place before a disaster strikes.
- Involving research students in the education and training process, both because they can bring a fresh enthusiastic perspective to the planning efforts, and because they provide an opportunity to educate the next generation of researchers about disaster resilience-related activities.
- Training of the key responders at the institution in the incident command system (e.g., ICS Courses 100.HE and 700) to greatly improve their ability to communicate with the first responders outside of the academic research institution.
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