Jackson engineering firm tackles emergency management
by Wally Northway
Published: May 3,2013
In 2010, Neel-Schaffer reorganized its emergency management activities into True North Emergency Management.
Based in Fort Worth, Texas, True North is a full-service emergency management company offering debris removal management/monitoring, automated debris management and emergency management planning/training and exercises.
The employment of True North varies depending on the magnitude of disaster response in progress and often includes several hundred employees.
Founded in 1983, Neel-Schaffer is a turnkey firm offering a full slate of services, including emergency management. It has a staff of over 350 professional and technical employees. Of 160 graduate engineers, more than 131 are registered professionals and over 20 have advanced degrees
» The firm, through True North Emergency Management, provided debris management services to 20-plus communities in New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Our monitoring in New Jersey included right-of-way (ROW) debris removal, public property debris removal, hazardous tree work, private property work, and waterway debris. These projects included the monitoring of operation and closeout of 22 temporary debris storage and processing sites. True North worked as a sub-consultant to the Louis Berger Group to monitor the removal of over 1.2 million cubic yards of debris from Ocean County, N.J., including several towns within the county. The removal of ROW debris was completed in approximately 90 days, involving over 200 monitors. The project included C&D debris, vegetative debris, white goods, HHW, and deposited sand removal. The project also included monitoring a large storm sewer cleaning effort to remove sand and sediment deposited by Hurricane Sandy. Hazardous hanging limbs were removed from over 35,000 trees.
» As part of a planning team for the Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP), Neel-Schaffer will examine documents and conduct research and interviews in order to analysis and depict the physical condition of the city’s infrastructure. The firm will review the FEMA Public Assistance Project Worksheets, damage assessments and other information available from key agencies to ascertain the post-Hurricane Katrina condition of the infrastructure. Neel-Schaffer will also undertake a structured interview process with key management personnel to review the status of repairs and restoration. The review will focus on key personnel within public and private agencies and organizations. Meeting summary reports will be prepared and interviewees will be provided with the opportunity to examine the reports and comment on suggested findings. Where possible, data will be collected in a format consistent with the UNOP team’s data management strategy so maps can be prepared as part of the Recovery Data Atlas to indicate the status of each recovery element. The mapping will be done by other members of the UNOP team.
» The Town of Smithville experienced a devastating loss of life and significant property damage April 27, 2011, as a result of an F5 tornado. The tornado destroyed the downtown commercial area and over 100 homes. A comprehensive recovery planning process began in early 2012. The plan included goals and objectives, future land use plan, community facilities and services plan and transportation plan.
» Following Hurricane Ike, Neel-Schaffer provided staff to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ESF-14 long-term community recovery planning team that served the City of Galveston, Texas. The team conducted 10 two-hour neighborhood open houses and two all-day public meetings to gain public input on needed recovery projects. Also, as a parish team leader in the hurricane recovery planning process for Louisiana Recovery Authority, Neel-Schaffer staff worked closely with parish officials to approve the ESF-14 process. We then worked one-on-one with local business, professional, civic, development and community leaders to form a local Community Recovery Committee on the parish level. Duties involved training committee volunteers in the ESF-14 process and assisting them in initiating the process. Neel-Schaffer staff was also on a team that reviewed all parish recovery plans and facilitated their inclusion in the overall State of Louisiana plan.
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