Tag Archives: emergency preparedness

Address, Mitigate, Recover: Effective Emergency Preparedness

Emergency plan or Disaster Preparedness on the desk.By Thomas Hartley, CAPP, and Lissette Hernandez, CAPP

Sometimes we are part of unforeseen events that put to the test our ability to react and take control of the situation by testing our skills and knowledge. It’s critical to establish a concise, well-organized emergency operations response plan, to help us personally and professionally, but do you know how?

During our presentation at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, an overview will be exhibited of a successfully established internal process following the university Emergency Management, NIMS (National Incident Management System) Management structure, resource management, and communication as developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Learning key elements to effectively prepare detailed activities and roles before, during, and after an emergency will help you through the unforeseen emergencies. Enhancing your knowledge in identifying an artery versus a vein will help you save a life! This is reviewed in the Stop the Bleeding part of this presentation.

The development of an emergency preparedness plan, whether for a natural, structural, human caused, or operational disaster, can be the key point to have a quick response time mitigating any loss, human or structural. As a user, creating a SWOT analysis of your department helps enhance the areas where you succeed, but most importantly, understand how you can be prepared to breach the gap and identify your improvement opportunities.

In addition, developing your team and finding other roles and processes that can be used in these emergencies reduces your struggle and cost, and should be clearly defined and communicated during training to address, mitigate, and recover should an emergency arise.

Lastly, understanding important elements such as data gathering, assessment, monitoring, and evaluating all essential components before, during, and after an emergency is integral to the operations. This in an essential and meticulous task that can result in reimbursement being approved or denied.

Thomas Hartley, CAPP, is assistant vice president, and Lissette Hernandez, CAPP, is director of sustainability and physical plant at Florida International University. They will present on this topic at the 2021 IPMI Parking & Mobility Conference & Expo, Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, in Tampa, Fla.

What if the Unthinkable Happens–Again?

By David M. Feehan

On July 30, 2016, a 1,000-year flood devastated Ellicott City, Md., wiping out sections of the historic downtown, carrying cars down the flooded street, and closing down businesses for months. No one predicted a flood of this magnitude, which dumped a total of six inches of rain on the town in less than two hours.

Then on May 27, 2018, less than two years later, an even worse flood dumped eight inches of rain on the town, again flooding Main Street. How could this happen? The only explanation local officials could give was “the effects of climate change.”

What does this have to do with parking? Plenty, if you think about it. First, there were many cars parked on Main Street and nearby surface lots that were washed away or damaged so badly they had to be scrapped. Second, Main Street was closed for months while buildings were demolished or restored, meaning parking revenues were affected. And even after Main Street reopened, there were fewer stores and fewer customers, so longer term parking revenues were lost.

A few years ago, I helped develop a strategic plan for the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District, in downtown Washington, D.C. One of the key elements of the plan was an emergency preparedness plan. In the District, every organization needs to be prepared for emergencies, natural and man-made. I was just starting my job at the International Downtown Association when a jet flew into the Pentagon and we were told that another was headed for the White House or the Capitol. We had no emergency plan in our office.

If you manage parking facilities in your town, how good is your emergency preparedness plan? Or do you even have one? What would happen if your town were hit by a tornado or hurricane? What would you do in the event of a 1000-year flood? What would you do if, heaven forbid, someone exploded a truck bomb in your garage? Do you have plans to mitigate human damage? Do employees have clear instructions and training in what to do in an emergency? Do you have necessary supplies—bottled water, blankets, etc.—in the event something unexpected occurs?

Expect the unthinkable and develop an emergency plan now before disaster occurs. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

David M. Feehan is president of Civitas Consultants, LLC.

Preparing for the Storm


Hurricane Florence is bearing down on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., and is likely to slam into North Carolina in the next few days. With warnings out about the strongest storm to hit that part of the country in, perhaps, decades, IPI is keeping our members top of mind. We encourage you to prepare your facilities and your homes as best as you can, and to heed evacuation warnings if possible.

If you’re looking for help getting ready, IPI’s Emergency Preparedness Manual is a free member download, with multiple checklists and parking-specific information designed to help you stay ahead of storms like these.

Be prepared, be smart, and be safe. And please let us know how we can help.