Barrington workshop focuses on disaster recovery

Workshop helps local recovery plan align with state, federal strategies

Posted 12/2/21

Barrington hosted a disaster recovery workshop recently.

Barrington staff, town council and members of various boards and commissions, regional stakeholders, and RIEMA and FEMA representatives, …

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Barrington workshop focuses on disaster recovery

Workshop helps local recovery plan align with state, federal strategies

Posted

Barrington hosted a disaster recovery workshop recently.

Barrington staff, town council and members of various boards and commissions, regional stakeholders, and RIEMA and FEMA representatives, along with Representative Liana Cassar, the director of municipal affairs at the Governor’s Office Richard DelFino, and Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos attended the event.

Barrington’s Emergency Management Coordinator, Norm Menard, in conjunction with design team members Ray Laprad and Kim Jacobs, structured Operation Recover Barrington, the first locally organized disaster recovery workshop in the state. The purpose of the workshop was to help clarify and advance an understanding of required disaster recovery activities at the federal, state, and local level.

The day started with the directive that all people should be concerned about the impacts of climate change and the potential for a natural disaster occurring. Peter Gaynor, senior vice president with the LiRo Group, served as the guest speaker. Mr. Gaynor is the former administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and led FEMA’s response to more than 300 presidentially declared emergencies and major disasters. 

Mr. Gaynor’s presentation, “Preparing for the Next Disaster…. that you Think Will Never Come,” stated that it was highly probable that at some point in the near future, many communities will face a significant disaster that they are not prepared for. Having a recovery plan in place will assist in returning the community to normal or near-normal conditions more quickly. 

Officials said it is important that a local recovery plan aligns with the state’s plan which aligns with FEMA’s disaster recovery strategy. 

Robert Grimley, FEMA Region I Recovery Division Director, provided participants an overview of the recovery process in New England, followed by Armand Randolph, RIEMA Recovery Branch Chief, who discussed the State’s Disaster Recovery Plan. 

The final speaker of the day, Ray Laprad with ARMADA Ltd, provided an overview of Barrington’s newly developed disaster recovery plan and challenged workshop participants to identify which recovery support functions — Community Planning & Capacity Building, Economic Recovery, Health & Social Services, Housing, Infrastructure Systems, and Natural & Cultural Resources — their department or organization fits into. 

“Given previous damaging storm events and accelerating climate change and sea level rise, we now find ourselves in a new era of more unpredictable and severe weather that can potentially cause more damage to our town and the region,” said Barrington Town Manager Jim Cunha. 

Defining roles and discussing what may need to occur should a disaster strike, is important to help ensure that Barrington can launch an effective recovery as soon as possible following a major disaster, officials said. This workshop set the tone for additional emergency preparedness discussions as well as an upcoming tabletop exercise.

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