Post Hurricane Matthew: Information Available Now, Strengthening Community Resilience Moving Forward
In light of the impact Hurricane Matthew has had on our state this past week, we wanted to share some information resources and a recent article we posted related to resilience.
With many working to recover from this latest natural disaster, some information resources to support post-Hurricane Matthew efforts and long term planning include the following:
- To see a Google map of resources for those affected by Hurricane Matthew, click here (https://goo.gl/IUUODV)
- Current updates related to Hurrican Matthew rescue efforts, can be viewed by checking the NC Emergency Management's Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/NCEmergency/)
- For longer term planning and coordination of emergency management information for North Carolina's local governments, a clearinghouse website is operated by the NC League of Municipalities at http://www.readynclocal.org/
- Additionally, the National Association of State Energy Officials' "Initiative for Resiliency in Energy through Vehicles" (iREV) brings together a unique cross-section of practitioners in emergency management, energy assurance, homeland security, and transportation to support the incorporation of alternative fuel vehicles in emergency response and preparedness operations--also many may be interested in a timely IREV Southeast Regional Workshop to be held on Wednesday, October 19 in Savannah, Georgia that will take place from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. as part of the larger International Association of Emergency Managers Annual Conference
As we recover from Hurricane Matthew, our attention is inevitably drawn to ways we might prepare for and reduce the impacts of future natural disasters. In a recent report, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy defined resilience as a community’s reduction of and better preparation for risk. The components of risk – and thus resilience – can be divided into hazards, vulnerability, and capacity to cope. With North Carolina being no stranger to hazards such as hurricanes and ice storms, community resilience infrastructure should be made a priority for the safety of our communities for both man-made and natural disasters.
It is important to include alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) in community resilience planning efforts since they promote fuel diversification, allowing critical public services to continue, reducing recovery time, and strengthening resiliency to disasters and other emergency events.
The Centralina Clean Fuels Coalition (CCFC) tracks funding opportunities to help municipalities, regions, and states incorporate alternative fuels in their emergency management planning. In addition, Clean Cities coalitions and coordinators are a valuable resource to emergency management and fleet decision makers by providing information on alternative fuels and connecting them with stakeholders who have experience using alternative fuels.
According to the National Association of State Energy Officials, petroleum products provide 92% of the total energy needed to supply the transportation sector in the United States. This dependence on petroleum makes communities vulnerable to disasters and emergencies that interrupt petroleum fuel supplies. The CCFC has been assisting the greater Charlotte region for over a decade in the deployment of alternative fuel technologies. Here are several ways that alternative fuels/AFVs impact or help community resilience:
- Encourage fuel diversification;
- Improve response time and recovery and restoration capabilities;
- Meet essential public services during times of disaster (e.g., utility restoration, debris removal, evacuation, emergency response, food delivery);
- Mitigate demand spikes for petroleum fuels;
- Allow uninterrupted fuel supply (e.g., natural gas is distributed via underground pipeline, so delivery is not disrupted);
- Advanced vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicle-to-grid can become a power provider
- Reduce downtime and suppress negative economic impact; and bImprove public confidence in government capability to provide services in times of disaster
As efforts are taken to improve your organization's and community's resilience, don't hesitate to contact the CCFC to discuss project ideas, funding opportunities, and ways to get involved in the Clean Cities network. This article was originally posted in the Centralina Council of Governments July 2016 e-newsletter.