With storms becoming more frequent and more destructive, emergency management planning is more important than ever. Developing a relationship with a contractor before disaster strikes improves response exponentially, but finding and vetting those partners takes time you probably don't have.
If your county belongs to the National Association of Counties (NACo), the association's done much of that work for you. Under an agreement with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety (IBTS), NACo members can access pre-event contracts for recovery services including subrecipient agreements, disaster planning and plan activation, initial disaster response, post-disaster services, recovery administration, grant closeout, resilience planning, and other associated shared services.
On the afternoon of May 20, 2013, an EF5 tornado hit McClain and Cleveland counties in Oklahoma, killing 24 people and causing an estimated $2 billion in damage. Cleveland County engaged IBTS as a subrecipient to its Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program three years later, making IBTS responsible for carrying out permitted activities in conformance with applicable CDBG-DR requirements. This was the first such agreement in the nation and, in addition to meeting all federal regulatory requirements, the county realized a surplus of $305,000 that could be applied to other projects.
The county recently signed the first pre-event contract with IBTS through NACo's agreement.
“We've enjoyed working with IBTS over the last two years and were excited to see this new benefit, connecting our county to additional disaster recovery services,” says Commissioner Darry Stacy. “This agreement provides a resource for us to call immediately the next time a disaster occurs, reducing our time to recovery.”
In the mid-1990s, state and local governments faced the same financial pressures the Great Recession brought, albeit to a much lesser degree. Even so, many jurisdictions found it increasingly difficult to enforce building codes. The solution was IBTS, a non-profit support organization to which NACo, National League of Cities, and International City/County Management Association belong.