Operation: Restore Hope

Bastrop AAR

AFTER ACTION REPORT

Operation name: Restore Hope

Duration: 96 hrs.

Dates: 6-7-12 / 6-10-12

Locations: Bastrop TX

 

Executive Summary

 

Paragraph 1: Pre-Deployment

On June 2, 2012 Team Rubicon Region VI Director of Field Operations (RDFO) Shane ValVerde was contacted by the Texas VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) President Elizabeth Disco-Sheerer with a mission request to support on going long term disaster recovery efforts in Bastrop TX in concert with the Bastrop Long Term Disaster Recovery Center. Upon receiving the request the Region VI RDFO created an estimated budget for the operation along with a Warning Order which was forwarded up to HQ through the Operational Chain Of Command. Simultaneously, the Region VI Director of Personnel and Training (DPAT) began to identify TR members within the region that could be individually contacted with a request to support the operation. Once approval was given by HQ, TR regional leadership created an event in OrgAction and began to contact TR members. Upon recruiting all needed personnel for the operation, an advance team consisting of the RFOD & the Region VI Intelligence Officer (RIO) deployed to the area of operations to conduct an advance site survey in preparation for the arrival of all TR members. After conducting the advance, a Virtual Operations Brief was conducted with all available TR members and supporting and or supported agency representatives to coordinate arrivals, expectations & coordinating instructions.

 

Paragraph 2: Deployment

 

The Operation was conducted utilizing the ICS (Incident Command System) which proved successful in operating jointly with the supporting and supported organizations. The supported agency representative Elizabeth Disco-Sheerer was the acting Incident Commander for this operation due to her knowledge of the area and its populace as well as the past efforts undertaken by the supporting organizations. Team Rubicon was able to meet its resource requirements through funding support by the Home Depot in Team Rubicon’s Pro Contractor Account. The supported organization provided a licensed contractor to assist with ramp design, permitting & liability requirements along with mission coordinating and logistical support. Team Rubicon HQ provided monetary and administrative support and operation approval along with strategic guidance and social media support.

Paragraph 2: Post Deployment

 

The operation was conducted over a two day period with a follow on trip which was taken the next weekend to complete minor work that was unable to be accomplished on the initial push. All members upon departing the area of operations traveled back to their home of record in their personal vehicles and reported back to the RDFO their arrival status via mobile phone. A hot wash was conducted at the end of each work day and a final debrief was conducted on the last day of operations.

 

Based on consultation with the IC, C&GS (Command & General Staff) & all supported or supporting organizational representatives, the following objectives were developed for Operation Restore Hope: The mission Objectives were as follows:

 

Objective 1: Ensure Team Safety throughout operation.

Objective 2: Procure all resources needed to conduct recovery operations.

Objective 3: Construct 2 wheelchair ramps at two separate locations.

Objective 4: Restore electricity to residence.

 

Paragraph 3: Post-Deployment

 

Major Strengths

 

The major strengths identified during this Operation are as follows:

 

  • Continued ability to quickly task organize members into a cohesive & effective unit
  • Ability to conduct & manage operations utilizing ICS & military command structures
  • Resource procurement through corporate partnership with Home Depot Foundation
  • Successful alignment with host, supported and supporting organizations through

clear communications, and expectation setting documented in writing

 

Primary Areas for Improvement

 

Throughout the operation, several opportunities for improvement in Team Rubicon’s ability to effectively operate were identified. The primary areas for improvement, including recommendations, are as follows:

 

  • Technical Subject Matter Experts to support operations
  • Field use equipment specific to operations
  • Transportation

 

 

This operation was observed and evaluated as highly successful. All objectives were met

with no significant incidents occurring. Several TTP’s (Tactics, Techniques & Procedures) were fielded, and evaluated along with several new technologies. All of which proved to be beneficial to the operational capabilities of Team Rubicon. Among these were the implementation of the Incident Command System which proved invaluable in assisting coordination between Team Rubicon members and those of the supported / supporting organizations and the utilization of several Google products such as Google Hangout, Fusion, and Latitude. These technologies assisted the command and control elements in creating and maintaining a common operational picture, situational awareness, information dissemination and also greatly assisted in the decision making process.

 

Future operations such as this are highly recommended to be duplicated throughout the states within Region VI with identified supported / supporting organizations such as the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul and other like national organizations that will allow Team Rubicon to replicate this type of recovery operation throughout the 5 states located within Region VI.

 

This type of operation could serve as a valuable training / vetting tool that would enable both regional and state leadership to evaluate, train and mentor Team Rubicon personnel in a low stress, non-tactical environment while simultaneously aiding in team building and relationship building with local residents, jurisdictional authorities and supported / supporting organizational staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roster

 

Shane ValVerde
Joe Quinto
Klebe Brumble
Robert Flores
Jordan Noe
Mathew Buchanan
Dan Vestal
Todd Lawrence

 

Raymond Ervin
Steven Kling
Yuen Cheng
Heather Dulaney
John Thomas

 

Areas of Analysis

 

The Target Capabilities utilized for Team Rubicon within Region VI for this operation were as follows:

 

  • Planning (Conducting Hazard Analysis, Creating Strategic & Tactical Plans, Develop regional coordination plans, MOU’s & Mutual Aid Agreements)

 

  • Communications (Inter & Intra Communications, group video conferencing, mass communications)
  • Risk Management (Developing an ORM plan in support of the operation)

 

  • Information Sharing & Dissemination (providing accurate & timely Common Operating Picture to HQ & all supported / supporting agencies, providing daily SITREPS & coordinating instructions to follow on team members)

 

  • On-Site Incident Management (establishing ICS structure & protocols)

 

  • Resource Logistics & Distribution (identify, locating, procuring & tracking resource needs)

 

Lessons Learned & Key Actions

 

Lessons Learned

 

  1. Partnering with local organizations for logistical support is key
  2. Conducting these types of operations with a “clearly defined strategic objective(s) is crucial to long term strategic development within the region

 

Key Actions

 

  1. Mission accomplishment
  2. Cooperative, Collaborative & Supportive focus of efforts

 

 

Operational Capabilities Analysis

 

 

Capability 1: [Planning] (A)

Capability Summary: Planning efforts for this operation consisted of conducting hazard analysis, imagery analysis, resource requirement planning & tactical planning.

Activity 1.1: Hazard Analysis / Operational Risk Management (A)

Observation 1.1: Hazard analysis was easily accomplished utilizing the FEMA recommended ICS form 215a (Hazard Risk Analysis Worksheet) by utilizing this form, operational planners were able to identify most likely threats & hazards that would be encountered by the team which then allowed planners to develop mitigation strategies to address each one.

References: http://www.fema.gov/forms/job-aids-tools-templates

 

Analysis: This proved to be highly successful as one member suffered from heat exhaustion which was identified during this process. As such, the team medic had the supplies, training and knowledge needed to address the issue without further incident occurring or impact on the mission.

Recommendations: This was identified as a strength area

  1. Continue to utilize the ICS form 215a (Hazard Risk Analysis Worksheet)
  2. Adopt as the standard the ICS form 215a for all mission planning processes.

Activity 2.1: Resource Planning (A)

Observation 2.1: Resource planning was carried out utilizing the ICS form 215 (Operational Planning worksheet)

References: http://www.fema.gov/forms/job-aids-tools-templates

Analysis: By utilizing this form operational planners were able to effectively identify all needed resources to accomplish the mission objectives safely. This process also aided planners in ensuring that only the necessary resources were requested and obtained cutting down on operational costs.

Recommendations: This was identified as a strength area

  1. Continue to utilize the ICS form 215 (Operational Planning Worksheet)
  2. Adopt as the standard the ICS form 215 for all mission planning processes.

Capability 2: [Communications] (C)

Capability Summary: Communications both internal and external proved to be problematic due to the rural nature and topographical composition of the area of operations.

Activity 2.1: Internal electronic communications (D)

Observation 2.1: Internal electronic communications proved to be problematic throughout the operation due to a limited capability and range within the communication platforms utilized (mobile phones). These devices were limited mainly due to the lack of cellular coverage in the rural area.

Analysis: Terrain and geographical location of the area of operations proved to be the main contributing factors to this issue.

Recommendations: This was identified as an area for improvement

  1. Identify a communications platform that may serve as a secondary means of communication to cellular connectivity
  2. Secure a secondary internal communications platform that is capable of operating in austere environments and is non reliant on cellular towers.

Activity 2.2: External communications (C)

Observation 2.2: External communications was also identified as a possible are of improvement. Although external communications were able to be accomplished, message crafting and dissemination proved challenging.

Analysis: External communications were carried out utilizing Google hangout which provided a limited capability (9) to brief operational personnel. This was extremely effective in conducting mission briefings prior to arrival. External communications with outside parties were not able to be accomplished due to the team’s restricted access to the Team Rubicon Region VI website on the administrator level. Leave behinds such as thank you letters and reference material were also a challenge area as they had to be created on the fly.

Recommendations: This was identified as an area for improvement

  1. Create pre-formatted leave behind templates such as thank you letters, donation receipts, and TR informational
  2. Gain administrative access to the TR Region VI website
  3. Identify a technology platform that will allow for the large scale briefing capabilities that are found in Google hangout
  4. Gain access and develop SOP for a TR6 twitter account
  5. Identify a single point software platform that will allow for the simultaneous posting of information to all social media platforms

 

Capability 3: [Information Sharing & Dissemination] (B)

Capability Summary: This capability allowed TR field team to provide an accurate & timely Common Operating Picture to HQ & all supported / supporting agencies by providing daily SITREPS & coordinating instructions to follow on team members)

Activity 3.1: Develop Common Operating Picture / Situational Awareness (B)

Observation 3.1: This activity was accomplished by utilizing Google Latitude and Fusion which proved successful in providing the geospatial information needed to maintain accountability and make informed command decisions.

References: https://latitude.google.com/latitude/b/0

Analysis: These software platforms proved extremely useful but may be limited in future operations where connectivity may not be present due to compromised, limited or no infrastructure.

Recommendations: This was identified as an area for improvement

  1. Identify a connectivity solution that will ensure the team’s uninterrupted access to connectivity

Activity 3.2: Situation Reporting (B)

Observation 3.2: Daily SITREPS are required to be provided up to both regional and national leadership daily upon completion of the operational period.

References: N /A

Analysis: The current SITREP format utilized by TR is narrative based and although did not present an issue throughout this operation, future operations may find it difficult to provide all necessary daily information utilizing this narrative based format.

Recommendations: This was identified as an area for improvement

  1. Develop a standardized SITREP format that is less narrative based
  2. Develop and implement a SITREP reporting policy

Capability 4: [On-Site Incident Management] (A)

Capability Summary: This capability focused on managing the operation and providing an established framework with which to operate in with supported / supporting organizations

Activity 4.1: Establish an Incident Command Structure (A)

Observation 4.1: Team Rubicon operational personnel & supported / supporting organizational personnel were able to develop and agree upon an established incident command structure

References: N/A

Analysis: The Incident Command System was utilized which provided clear roles and responsibilities of all operational personnel. This help to ensure that the operation was conducted with clearly defined structure and goals. This also helped to ensure the seamless integration of outside organizational personnel into TR operations and vice-versa.

Recommendations: This was identified as a strength area

  1. Officially adopt and implement the ICS

Capability 5: [Resource Logistics & Distribution] (B)

Capability Summary: Resource logistics & distribution were accomplished by working in concert with local vendors and the supported / supporting organizational staff

Activity 5.1: Resource tracking (A)

Observation 5.1: Resources were tracked using the T-Card system in a limited capacity which allowed TR personnel to track all resources on station

References: http://www.t-cardsystems.com/T-cardKits.html

Analysis: T-cards were utilized to track all resources (personnel & equipment) assigned to the multiple site locations simultaneously which provided a quick snapshot of all on site resources

Recommendations: This was identified as a strength area

  1. Procure and train TR staff in the utilization of T-cards
  2. Procure a TR T-Card software system that will mimic the paper T-Cards.

Activity 5.2: Resource Procurement (B)

Observation 5.2: Resources were procured locally which aided in boosting the local economy while helping to gain awareness for TR

References: N/A

Analysis: Operational funds were deposited into the TR Team Leaders personal account which allowed for quick procurement of resources but proved problematic during the accounting process.

Recommendations: This was identified as an area for improvement

  1. Identify and secure an alternative form of obtaining and disbursing operational funds

Conclusion

 

This operation proved to be a success and provided Team Rubicon an outlet to conduct internal team building, training and evaluation operations. This type of operation further proved to be invaluable in relationship building with local and regional supported / supporting organizations and population bases.

It is recommended that this operation be utilized as a model to be reproduced throughout the regions states to provide the same benefit to the individual state membership base. By identifying and securing a long term MOU for mutual support of long term recovery operations throughout the region, Team Rubicon Region VI will increase its operational capacity to respond rapidly through already established regional and state credibility and relationships.