Domestic AFTER ACTION REPORT
Operation name: Operation Rammed
Locations: Hazelwood & Florissant, Missouri
- All coordination that went into assembling teams, identifying initial rally points, and the insertion of recon teams. Late evening, 4/10/2013, a severe weather system moved through northeastern Missouri, including a tornado warned cell. Contact with TR volunteers in the area confirmed storm damage in Hazelwood and Florissant, Missouri; both are suburbs of St. Louis, MO. R7 DFO Andrea Cekovsky began preparing the regional trailer & assets for deployment, while R7 DPT Carol McCoy reached out to the MO-VOAD for information. On 4/11, Chuck Healy w/MO VOAD confirmed the need for debris removal/management in Hazelwood, MO. Carol consulted with HQ for social media and OrgAction postings; both were made on 4/11. Andrea Cekovsky and volunteer Rick Cekovsky were selected as the advance/recon team, along with R5 DPT Erik Papineau, who would respond in the capacity of Strike Team Leader. In conjunction with HQ, an Operation Order was drafted and sent to approved volunteers the evening of 4/11.
- Travel and accommodation plans. Carol McCoy made preliminary contact with the local VFW post, who communicated that there weren’t any formal accommodations for volunteers for the night of 4/11, but that the city of Florissant was opening their Community Center for lodging effective 4/12. Meanwhile, Andrea Cekovsky contacted Bruce Baily w/the St. Louis Americorps office and arranged overnight accomodations for the advance team. Volunteers for 4/12 were directed to the Hazelwood Baptist Church (6161 Howdershell Rd, Hazelwood, MO) rally point. Volunteers for subsequent days were directed to the J. Eagan Community Center (1 James J. Eagan Dr., Florissant, MO) rally point/lodging location.
- Overview of travel to DZ – Initial contact w/Budget by Andrea revealed that trucks and/or towing vehicles were not included in the national contract. The only large enough w/approved towing capability was a box truck. The truck was rented and supplies loaded. Other volunteers drove their personal vehicles to the response area.
- Daily activities overview. Volunteers, Strike Team Leaders, and Incident Commander met every morning at the designated rally point at 0700. Previous day activities were re-capped, then STL’s & IC met with area VOADs (Americorps & Southern Baptists) at 0800 to assess current issues and status updates of power outages and work orders. The same groups also met at 1800 hours every night for a debrief of the day’s activities.
- Significant changes to pre-deployment plan. None
- Retrograde (exfil procedures) – Volunteers were directed to contact Carol McCoy upon their safe arrival home. Andrea Cekovsky returned with the rental box truck, unloaded the truck, and conducted a post-deployment inventory. The rental truck was returned without incident.
- Any significant issues? The scope of work for this mission was clearly defined as debris removal. A pre-deployment review of the volunteers’ org action profiles indicated no volunteer had any medical conditions that would prevent them from deploying. During the deployment three volunteers indicated physical issues; two with back pain, and one with elbow/forearm pain. One volunteer with back pain was transitioned into a photo documenting role. The other volunteer with back pain agreed to reduce work load along with increase rest periods and begin the use of prescribed pain medicine. The volunteer with elbow pain agreed to not carry/lift anything heavy for the duration of the mission. Andrea Cekovksy suggested that medical complications should be addressed in the safety briefing prior to work and a check-in conducted a few days post deployment to verify health of volunteers.
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Net operation (gain/loss)
List all deployed members, their branch of service, & their days in the field.
Erik Pappineau – USMC – 3 days
Richard Marchildon – Navy – 2 days
Kris Phipps – unknown – 1 days
Laura Curvey – USAF – 2 days
Brian DeLoche – USAF – 1 days
Jorge Carrion – Army NG – 2 days
Jason Callahan – Navy – 1 days
Andrea Cekovsky – Army – 5 days
Rick Cekovsky – USMC – 5 days
Kevin Berges – Army – 3 days
Phil Blahut – USAF – 1 days
Jeff Miller – Navy – 3 days
Chris Ryan – Fire Dept. – 1 days
Garrett Ryan – Fire Dept. – 1 days
Brendon Firooz – EMT-B – 1 days
Sean Flachs – Army – 1 days
Lessons Learned & Key Actions
What lessons were learned on this mission, and suggest adjustments for future Team Rubicon deployments.
- Incident Commander needs separate vehicle from that which is pulling the trailer/gear.
- Incident Commander and Operations Section Chief cannot be the same person (two places at one time).
- Not every community is prepared to respond to a disaster. When they are not, the possibility of VOADs stepping up and taking the lead is necessary. Having POC prior to the deployment and the Incident Commander on the ground as soon as possible for coordination efforts is crucial to the success of the mission.
- Americorp is prepared to take the lead on Volunteer Reception Centers (VRC) while processing work orders and volunteers on the St. Louis, Missouri side of the state. Team Rubicon could be poised to function in that same capacity in the Kansas City side of the state, effective immediately, once Palantir is distributed.
- Equipment packing list was a good beginning, but ultimately half was not used nor needed. Power tools, larger chainsaws, and additional safety gear beyond PPE is needed to perform efficiently and safely in the field.
- Suggested items for the field: (group discussion conducted over dinner with volunteers)
- “Little Giant” Multi-Use Ladder (A-Frame)
- Rope Saw
- Pole Chain Saw
- Leaf Blower
- Caution / Work Zone Signs
- Lift Straps
- Back Braces
- Line-man Helmets
- Emergency Lights / Strobes
- “New York” Lifts
- Weight Bearing Harnesses (Male /Female – when on roof)
- Roof Anchoring System
- Higher quality 2-way radios
- Additional TR Magnets for Convoys
- Request was made to pack cots and/or inflate mattresses to reduce back pain and have better night of sleep before working hard again the next day.