AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S Emergencies

a community and causing multiple deaths. However, the county was prepared for this disaster. Just a couple of months prior to the tornado, the county participated in a tornado exercise very similar to the scenario that occurred in late April 2014. Te schedule of upcoming training exercises through Sept. 21, 2017, is available on ADEM’s website at EXSchedule.pdf. Tere are three more exercises occurring before the end of September involving flooding, earthquake, and activation of the State’s Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). Just like any good basketball, football, or baseball team that practices and exercises endlessly to become the best team they can be, so the judge and county can practice, exercise, and be prepared to overcome any disaster.


Documenting As crucial as

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irst and foremost, the most important thing to do once a disaster strikes is to document, document, and

preparedness is, it is only half the battle and will not prevent disasters from occurring. First and foremost, the most important thing to do once a disaster strikes is to document, document, and document. Documentation is the process of establishing and maintaining accurate records of events and expenditures related to the county’s disaster recovery work. Te information required for documentation describes the “who, what, when, where, why and how much” for each item of disaster recovery work. A picture is worth a thousand words — or dollars in this case — so it is vital to take pictures and record everything. All documentation pertaining to a project should be filed together with the corresponding project worksheet. Be as specific as possible when describing damage. For example, if two buildings have water damage describe the damage as, “Floodwater inundated two buildings that serve x number of people, to a depth of x number of feet, damaging drywall, tile flooring, and books in all x number of rooms.” Detail is the critical factor when documenting damage. So much so, Judge Jimmie Hart of Conway County recommends purchasing cameras that show the time the picture was taken and show the exact GPS coordinates the picture was taken at. You can even go as far as putting emergency kits in the glove compartments of vehicles likely to be called out to do emergency repairs. Tese kits could


document. Documentation is the process of establishing and maintaining accurate records of events and expenditures related to the county’s disaster recovery work.

include disposable cameras and forms where staff can list who was at what location, how much time was spent there, and what equipment was used. Te documentation process does not end with damages. Te uniform rules require counties to maintain records sufficient to detail the history of procurement. Every signed contract needs documentation of: (1) the rationale for selecting the contract type used and for contractor selection; (2) the basis for the contract price; (3) acquisition planning information and other pre-solicitation documents; (4) list of sources solicited; (5) copies of published notices of proposed contract action; (6) independent cost estimate; (7) notice of award; and (8) notice to unsuccessful bidders or offerors and record of any debriefing (44 C.F.R § 13.36). Tese records become the basis for verifying the final project costs and should be retained for at least three years from the date the state

closes the grant. Accurate documentation will help recover all eligible costs, have the information necessary to develop project worksheets, have the information available for the state and FEMA to validate the accuracy of smaller projects, and be ready for any state or federal audits or other program financial reviews.


Once the initial documentation of the damage has been completed, it will be time to start the restoration process and there may arise a time when it is necessary to contract work out to third parties to hasten the relief effort. Always remem- ber when federal money is involved, judges not only have to comply with local procurement guidelines, but they must comply with the federal guidelines in 44 C.F.R § 13.36 and 2 C.F.R. §§ 200.318 to 326. One potential disaster to look out for when contracting is “storm chasers.” Storm chasers are contractors who chase storms to try to get contracts from counties affected by disasters. Always research the contrac- tor before entering a contract. Look for contractors who: (1) have the ability to perform successfully under the terms and conditions of a proposed requirement; (2) have a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics (contractors that are


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