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Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview

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On March 16, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors' Transportation Committee hosted a Snow Summit to assess both what worked well and what did not at the state — Virginia Department of Transportation — and county levels. The lessons learned from this summit will be invaluable not only for the next snow storm, but for any emergency.

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Snow Summit: Fairfax County Overview

  1. 1. Snow Summit March 16, 2010  3:30 p.m. Fairfax County Board Auditorium
  2. 2. Snow Summit <ul><li>Key Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-planning was essential. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperation among county agencies proved invaluable. </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-positioning county vehicles/assets. </li></ul><ul><li>Need continued training – operationally at agency level and in ICS and the EOC. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple partners involved in snow response. (county, state, non-profit, private sector, volunteer partners) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Snow Summit <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Sheer volume of snowfall. </li></ul><ul><li>Record snowfall this winter. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Snow Summit <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Roads impassable because of downed trees. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Snow Summit <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Towing contracts – alleged price gouging during the storm. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Snow Summit <ul><li>Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Vehicles parked in snow emergency routes. </li></ul><ul><li>Inadequate signage on snow routes. </li></ul><ul><li>Uncleared sidewalks. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Snow Summit <ul><li>Primary Fairfax County Agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency Management </li></ul><ul><li>Fire and Rescue Department </li></ul><ul><li>Police Department </li></ul><ul><li>Sheriff’s Office </li></ul><ul><li>Public Works & Environmental Services </li></ul><ul><li>Public Safety Communications (9-1-1 Center) </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Transportation </li></ul><ul><li>Park Authority </li></ul><ul><li>Facilities Management Department </li></ul>
  8. 8. Snow Summit <ul><li>The Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>County snow removal from: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>118 county building complexes (Public Safety Center, Govt. Center, PSTOC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>81 neighborhood roadways. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Snow Summit <ul><li>The Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>54 “Priority 1” county sites*: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>13 Police Stations/Government Centers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>24 Fire Stations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>11 Mass Transit Facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public Safety Center </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>McConnell PSTOC / West Ox Complex </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Solid Waste and Wastewater Facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>* as adopted by the Board of Supervisors </li></ul>
  10. 10. Snow Summit <ul><li>The Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>28 “Priority 2” county sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>14 Health Centers/24-Hour Shelters </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>14 Other Essential Facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>36 “Priority 3” county sites: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>20 Libraries </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>16 Community Centers </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Snow Summit <ul><li>The Numbers </li></ul><ul><li>81 neighborhoods/roadways: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43 county roads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>36 developer defaults </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2 other sites </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Snow Summit <ul><li>Fairfax County Costs </li></ul><ul><li>December 2009 - $2.5 million (has been submitted to FEMA for reimbursement) </li></ul><ul><li>February 2010 - $8 million (waiting on Presidential declaration) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Snow Summit <ul><li>Fairfax County’s Response </li></ul><ul><li>Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Countywide pre-planning meeting. </li></ul><ul><li>Additional pre-storm agency planning. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Snow Summit <ul><li>Planning – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>County communications. </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility of snow plans (expandable). </li></ul><ul><li>Early declaration of an emergency by the county and the state allowed additional resources to be available. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Snow Summit <ul><li>Planning – Improvement Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Establish standing EOC teams with ongoing training, exercise the positions and the teams on a regular basis. </li></ul><ul><li>WebEOC. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Snow Summit <ul><li>Fairfax County’s Response </li></ul><ul><li>Logistics </li></ul><ul><li>The procurement, maintenance, distribution and replacement of personnel and material. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Snow Summit <ul><li>Logistics – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>Agencies provided staff to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) who worked well together to provide coordination of county resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Effective partnerships among agencies led to efficient resource sharing. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Snow Summit <ul><li>Logistics – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>Strategic deployment and staging of personnel to ensure sufficient staffing levels. </li></ul><ul><li>Specialty resources were diverted or acquired, such as National Guard vehicles/personnel. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Snow Summit <ul><li>Logistics – Improvement Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Site specific resources – approx. 1 plow for every 7 complexes. </li></ul><ul><li>Equipment’s ability to push extraordinary snow depths. </li></ul><ul><li>Staffed and equipped for typical 4” to 8” snow storm, not a 24”-plus blizzard. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Snow Summit <ul><li>Logistics – Improvement Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Staging and chemical storage. </li></ul><ul><li>Transporting essential personnel to county facilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Traveling to/from county facilities. </li></ul><ul><li>Age of equipment caused problems with machinery breaking and getting replacement parts. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Snow Summit <ul><li>Fairfax County’s Response </li></ul><ul><li>Operations </li></ul>
  22. 22. Snow Summit <ul><li>Operations – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>County plowing operations. </li></ul><ul><li>Durability of equipment and vehicles. </li></ul><ul><li>Availability of staff from multiple agencies and contract resources. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Snow Summit <ul><li>Operations – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>Timing of event – weekend snow with county closings. </li></ul><ul><li>Employee commitment, resiliency and morale. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Snow Summit <ul><li>Operations – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>Good situational awareness with utility companies and great cooperation with the National Weather Service (NWS). </li></ul><ul><li>Incident Command System (ICS) worked very well in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). </li></ul><ul><li>MPSTOC unification / collaboration. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Snow Summit <ul><li>Operations – What Worked </li></ul><ul><li>Support from non-profit, private sector and volunteer partners. </li></ul><ul><li>Even with the county closed, essential services continued. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Snow Summit <ul><li>Operations – Improvement Areas </li></ul><ul><li>Signage for snow emergency routes. </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive vehicles parked in snow routes. </li></ul><ul><li>Identifying shelters and building code definitions. </li></ul><ul><li>Shelters or warming centers? </li></ul>
  27. 27. Snow Summit <ul><li>Key Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-planning was essential. </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperation among county agencies proved invaluable. </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-positioning county vehicles/assets. </li></ul><ul><li>Need continued training – operationally at agency level and in ICS and the EOC. </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple partners involved in snow response. (county, state, non-profit, private sector, volunteer partners) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Questions? Snow Summit, March 16, 2010

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