'PART 2: EVACUATION
The safe evacuation of threatened populations when endangered by a major catastrophic event is one of the principle reasons for developing a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. The thorough identification of at-risk populations, transportation and sheltering resources, evacuation routes and potential bottlenecks and choke points, and the establishment of the management team that will coordinate not only the evacuation but which will monitor and direct the sheltering and return of affected populations, are the primary tasks of evacuation planning. Due to the geography of New Orleans and the varying scales of potential disasters and their resulting emergency evacuations, different plans are in place for small-scale evacuations and for citywide relocations of whole populations.
Authority to issue evacuations of elements of the population is vested in the Mayor. By Executive Order, the chief elected official, the Mayor of the City of New Orleans, has the authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.
Evacuation procedures for special needs persons with either physical or mental handicaps, including registration of disabled persons, is covered in the SOP for Evacuation of Special Needs Persons.
Major population relocations resulting from an approaching hurricane or similar anticipated disaster, caused the City of New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness to develop a specific Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedures, which are appended to the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan.
The SOP is developed to provide for an orderly and coordinated evacuation intended to minimize the hazardous effects of flooding, wind, and rain on the residents and visitors in New Orleans. The SOP provides for the evacuation of the public from danger areas and the designations of shelters for evacuees.
II. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS
The Hurricane Emergency Evacuation Standard Operating Procedure is designed to deal with all case scenarios of an evacuation in response to the approach of a major hurricane towards New Orleans. It is designed to deal with the anticipation of a direct hit from a major hurricane. This includes identifying the city's present population, its projected population, identification of at-risk populations (those living outside levee protection or in storm-surge areas, floodplains, mobile homes, etc.), in order to understand the evacuation requirements. It includes identifying the transportation network, especially the carrying-capacity of proposed evacuation routes and existing or potential traffic bottlenecks or blockages, caused either by traffic congestion or natural occurrences such as rising waters. Identification of sheltering resources and the establishment of shelters and the training of shelter staff is important, as is the provision for food and other necessities to the sheltered. This preparation function is the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Conduct of an actual evacuation will be the responsibility of the Mayor of New Orleans in coordination with the Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and the OEP Shelter Coordinator.
The SOP, in unison with other elements of the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, is designed for use in all hazard situations, including citywide evacuations in response to hurricane situations and addresses three elements of emergency response: warning, evacuation, and sheltering.
1. Warning: Formulates a comprehensive system for public information, early recognition of impending storms, and dissemination of emergency warning.
2. Evacuation: Formulates an effective procedure for orderly evacuation of residents and visitors within available warning time.
3. Sheltering: Formulates a comprehensive system of accessible shelters of adequate size.
The SOP is limited as it is not designed to address the protection of personal and real property, yet is developed to cover the total New Orleans geographic area. The timely issuance of evacuation orders critically impacts upon the successful evacuation of all citizens from high-risk areas. In determining the proper time to issue evacuation orders, there is no substitute for human judgement based upon all known circumstances surrounding local conditions and storm characteristics.
Information received from the National Hurricane Center concerning the storm's tract will allow the focusing on either a landfall, paralleling or exiting storm scenario. Information involving local conditions such as pre-hurricane rainfall, tide schedules, and the amount of pre-storm publicity, must be taken into account, as are the various known circumstances that are explained in the information summary portion of the Hurricane Evacuation Plan, in determining when an evacuation order should be issued. Any assumption regarding where and how the storm will likely make landfall involves clear and constant communication with the National Hurricane Center, the local office of the National Weather Service, State OEP and various local agencies that are monitoring either the storm's progress or other elements of the city's preparedness to weather the storm's passage.
The City of New Orleans will utilize all available resources to quickly and safely evacuate threatened areas. Those evacuated will be directed to temporary sheltering and feeding facilities as needed. When specific routes of progress are required, evacuees will be directed to those routes. Special arrangements will be made to evacuate persons unable to transport themselves or who require specific life saving assistance. Additional personnel will be recruited to assist in evacuation procedures as needed.
Slow developing weather conditions (primarily hurricane) will create increased readiness culminating in an evacuation order 24 hours (12 daylight hours) prior to predicted landfall. Disabled vehicles and debris will be removed from highways so as not to impede evacuation. In local evacuations involving more than fifty (50) families (i.e. 50 single dwelling units), staging areas may be established at the closest available public area outside the threatened area. Upon arrival at the staging area, evacuees will be directed to the appropriate shelter facility. Evacuees will be encouraged to stay with friends or relatives in non-threatened areas whenever possible. Security measures will be employed to protect the evacuated area(s) in accordance with established procedures and situations.
The use of travel-trailers, campers, motorcycles, bicycles, etc., during the evacuation will be allowed so long as the situation permits it. Public information broadcasts will include any prohibitions on their use. Transportation will be provided to those persons requiring public transportation from the area. (See Special Needs Transportation, ESF-1). An orderly return to the evacuated areas will be provided after the Mayor determines the threat to be terminated. Transportation back to the evacuated area after threat termination will be provided as available.
III. EVACUATION ORDER
As established by the City of New Orleans Charter, the government has jurisdiction and responsibility in disaster response. City government shall coordinate its efforts through the Office of Emergency Preparedness
The authority to order the evacuation of residents threatened by an approaching hurricane is conferred to the Governor by Louisiana Statute. The Governor is granted the power to direct and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or threatened area within the State, if he deems this action necessary for the preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response or recovery. The same power to order an evacuation conferred upon the Governor is also delegated to each political subdivision of the State by Executive Order. This authority empowers the chief elected official of New Orleans, the Mayor of New Orleans, to order the evacuation of the parish residents threatened by an approaching hurricane.
B. Issuance of Evacuation Orders
The person responsible for recognition of hurricane related preparation needs and for the issuance of an evacuation order is the Mayor of the City of New Orleans. Concerning preparation needs and the issuance of an evacuation order, The Office of Emergency Preparedness should keep the Mayor advised.
IV: HURRICANE EVACUATION PROCEDURES
It must be understood that this Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan is an all-hazard response plan, and is applicable to events of all sizes, affecting even the smallest segments of the community. Evacuation procedures for small scale and localized evacuations are conducted per the SOPs of the New Orleans Fire Department and the New Orleans Police Department. However, due to the sheer size and number of persons to be evacuated, should a major tropical weather system or other catastrophic event threaten or impact the area, specifically directed long range planning and coordination of resources and responsibilities efforts must be undertaken.
A. Evacuation Time Requirements
Using information developed as part of the Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Task Force and other research, the City of New Orleans has established a maximum acceptable hurricane evacuation time standard for a Category 3 storm event of 72 hours. This is based on clearance time or is the time required to clear all vehicles evacuating in response to a hurricane situation from area roadways. Clearance time begins when the first evacuating vehicle enters the road network and ends when the last evacuating vehicle reaches its destination.
Clearance time also includes the time required by evacuees to secure their homes and prepare to leave (mobilization time); the time spent by evacuees traveling along the road network (travel time); and the time spent by evacuees waiting along the road network due to traffic congestion (delay time). Clearance time does not refer to the time a single vehicle spends traveling on the road network. Evacuation notices or orders will be issued during three stages prior to gale force winds making landfall.
> Precautionary Evacuation Notice: 72 hours or less
> Special Needs Evacuation Order: 8-12 hours after Precautionary Evacuation Notice issued
> General Evacuation Notice: 48 hours or less
B. Evacuation Zones
Evacuation (vulnerability) zones provide a base to model traffic movements from one geographic area to another. It is necessary to revise the evacuation zones from time to time due to data generated by new generations of storm-surge modeling .
Evacuation zones are designed to meet several functions: (1) In coastal areas they must reflect the areas in each storm scenario which will need to be evacuated due to storm-surge inundation; (2) They should relate as closely as possible to available population data information, such as enumeration districts, census tracts, zip code areas, transportation analysis zones, etc.; and (3) They need to be describable in a manner that persons in the area will be able to understand.
Evacuation zones will be developed pending further study.
C. Evacuation Routing and Traffic Control
New Orleans is surrounded by water. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway leads to the north, the I-10 twin spans head east, I-10 runs east-west and the Crescent City Connection and the Huey P. Long bridges cross over the Mississippi River. Evacuation presents unique and distinct challenges.
Principle traffic control is provided by the New Orleans Police Department. The movement of evacuating vehicles during a hurricane evacuation requires specific traffic control efforts to insure the maximum roadway capacity and to expedite safe escape from hurricane hazards.
1. Bridge closures will be announced as necessary.
2. NOPD officers will be stationed at critical intersections and roadway segments
3. All available tow trucks shall be positioned along key roadway segments, and disabled vehicles will be removed from traffic lanes. No repairs will be done to vehicles along the evacuation routes.
4. Manual direction of traffic will be supplemented by physical barriers that are adequately weighted and which are placed to channel traffic and prevent unnecessary turning and merging conflicts.
5. The movement of mobile homes and campers along evacuation routes will be banned after a hurricane warning is issued. A disabled mobile home could block the only escape route available. Such vehicles are difficult to handle late in an evacuation due to sporadic wind conditions.
6. Boat owners must be made aware of time requirements for moving or securing vessels. Optimally, industrial and recreational vessels should be moved to safe harbor during or before a hurricane watch.
7. Emergency Response to Accidents/Breakdowns - The intensity of traffic during a hurricane evacuation will always be accompanied by a certain number of traffic accidents and breakdowns. Although roadway shoulders are available for vehicles in distress, the movement of such vehicles to these areas is often difficult and disruptive. It is recommended that at least two traffic control personnel be positioned at each key roadway link/intersection so that one can assist disabled vehicles as needed. Two vehicles should also be positioned at each critical link to facilitate the removal of immobilized vehicles, however, as resources (two vehicles) are available.
8. Safe evacuation is predicated upon the movement of vehicles over critically low points on evacuation routes prior to the occurrence of flooding. Route blockages can happen prior to the arrival of a hurricane. Those roadways that historically experience flooding due to rainfall alone should be monitored for vehicle distress and help.'
Saturday, September 03, 2005
City of New Orleans Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan
A tip of the hat to my BlogMom, Indigo for this. This is a very comprehensive plan and it took me a few hours to read through it. It seems to me, that not much of this plan was followed. Here is a rather lengthy excerpt:
I urge all of you to at least read the parts of the plan pertaining to hurricanes. It is well worth the time. - Sailor