Disaster Response and Mutual Aid

Elements of Preparedness

The severity of an event isn’t the only factor that determines how long restoration will be – how robust a utility’s preparedness program is also can translate to how smooth the process goes. The All-Hazards Guidebook details how utilities can build a culture of preparedness through planning, organizing, training and exercising, and evaluating their programs.

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Define expectations

  • Identify potential risks, clear activation triggers, and notification protocols
  • Identify organizational capabilities and needs
  • Define roles & responsibilities – including response leadership
  • Develop communications plans for public and other stakeholder notification


Identify the skill sets, equipment, technology, and other resources needed to execute plans

  • Secure equipment and technology necessary for response
  • Maintain contacts for – and relationships with – other entities involved in response
  • Line up contracts for potential vendors/service providers (e.g., debris, accounting, logistics)
  • Enter mutual aid agreements
  • Ensure availability of extra supplies
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Build and test response capabilities

  • Provide awareness and education on potential threats and hazards to the utility
  • Train all individuals involved in response on their roles and functions
  • Test capabilities, equipment, and processes to find gaps in plans, skills, or resources


Continually improve

  • Develop and review after-action reports, including after exercises, to identify areas for improvement or potential gaps
  • Make improvements to address gaps, risks, and changing stakeholder expectations.
  • Benchmark your utility’s response
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