Disaster Relief Chairperson

Jim Overman, Fredericksburg Morning Rotary

Disaster Relief Plan

The mission of District 5840 Disaster Relief is to encourage disaster preparedness on the part of individual Rotarians, to form partnerships at the local, regional and state levels to mitigation, response and recovery efforts under the direction of and when requested by the appropriate emergency operations center, and to provide funds, supplies and recovery operations to alleviate human suffering caused by disasters that may impact people locally, primarily, but also regionally or worldwide.
The purpose of the District Relief Plan is to provide general guidance for disaster activities and an overview of our methods of preparedness, response and recovery as is applicable to District 5840. The plan describes our disaster relief operation and assigns responsibilities for various tasks. This plan is intended to provide a framework for who does what, when and how. District 5840 wishes to be an integral part of disaster relief within our District and whenever possible assist in disaster relief for events that occur outside the boundaries of our District.  The plan also outlines guidance for district participation in relief efforts during disasters occurring outside of the district.  Finally, this plan outlines steps that individual Rotarians and clubs should take to prepare for and respond to disasters.
To achieve our objectives we have developed the District Disaster Relief Plan that integrates the efforts of all clubs within the District and serves as a regional resource for relief efforts. This plan is based on an all-hazard approach to disaster relief. It addresses general functions that may need to be performed during any disaster and is not a collection of plans for specific types of incidents.
In the United States disaster mitigation, response and recovery is managed according to the National Response Framework.  On the Federal level the National Response Plan is the guiding document which implements the Framework.  The basic premise is that all disaster efforts begin at the local level and remain local unless the scope of the event is beyond the capabilities of the local entities.  Events exceeding local capabilities are then supported at the state level.  In the state of Texas, due to the size of the state, events may be managed at a state district level.  The District 5840 Plan utilizes the same concepts in that individual clubs will need to coordinate with local (city and/or county) emergency management entities and then request assistance from the District 5840 when such assistance is requested or approved by local emergency management.  The District 5840 Disaster Response team will then coordinate that assistance.  Under the State Emergency Response Plan there may be occasions when a request for assistance comes from the Texas Emergency Management function.  In those circumstances, the District 5840 Disaster Response Team will coordinate all Rotary response.  In international situations clubs and individual Rotarians are urged to contact the District team so that efforts can be coordinated.
In the United States, the National Response Framework mandates that disaster response effort will be managed utilizing the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Under this system all responders will answer to a person in overall command of the response.  This person is known as the Incident Commander.  This assures that the response is planned and coordinated.  All responders work within the chain of command establish by the incident commander.  Rotarians, like all responders will be expected to follow that principle.  During the Recovery Phase of a disaster, efforts may transition into other management systems but they will still be managed by a distinct organization.
There may also be situations in which individual Rotarians and/or Rotary clubs are asked to contribute money to relief efforts.  This plan also describes the process District 5840 will follow in handling such requests and donations.
V. Mission Areas
The National Response Framework discusses five mission areas.  While Rotary and individual Rotarians can play a part in each of those areas, this plans deals with only three.  They are:
Mitigation: The capabilities necessary to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters.
Response: The capabilities necessary to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs after an incident has occurred.
Recovery: The capabilities necessary to assist communities affected by an incident to recover effectively.
A. General
The District Disaster Relief Committee (DRC) will initiate disaster relief operations in response to a disaster, catastrophic incident , or incident of national significance that has impacted District 5840 or outside the boundaries of the District.  The DRC will also coordinate District response to international events in cooperation with Rotary International.
Members of the District DRC will determine what types of aid will be initiated for the identified disaster as requested by the authority having jurisdiction.
B. Organization
The committee shall be composed of the District Governor group with the sitting District Governor as the lead. The District Governor Group consists of the immediate Past District Governor, sitting District Governor, District Governor Elect, District Governor Nominee, and if selected District Governor Designate. The District Treasurer will be a voting ex officio member of the committee while she/he serves in this office. The District Treasurer shall oversee a restricted disaster fund for deposit of monies collected to fund any disaster relief projects.  
C. Appointments
The District Governor shall appoint a chairperson of the committee to serve a one-year term coinciding with the term of the District Governor making the appointment. An effort will be made to make this appointment a 3 year term by selecting a candidate on the recommendation of the full committee as listed above and to select someone with disaster preparedness experience.
D. Activation of the Disaster Relief Committee (DRC)
Activation of the DRC may be performed by the District Governor, committee chairperson, or a member of the DRC. One or more of the following events may trigger activation of the District DRC.
1. A disaster impacting an area within District 5840.
2. A disaster impacting an area outside the boundaries of the District with the possibility of mobilizing the District’s disaster relief operations.
3. A request for disaster relief assistance from another Rotary District or Club, or from Rotary International. 
Note:  All assistance must be coordinated through the involved Incident Command or the Emergency Management organization having authority when either has been activated.  Unsolicited assistance will duplicate other programs and often will interfere with assistance already being provided.  When Incident Command and/or an Emergency Operations Center has been established, requests will be made utilizing the resource request system in place for the incident.  Showing up at a disaster or sending items without a request is known as “free lancing” and is discouraged.
4. An event which presents a potential threat of significant damage and /or loss of life.
5. A request for funds or donation of funds to a disaster relief effort.
E. Duties and Responsibilities
1. The committee shall meet at least twice each year and shall be responsible for planning and coordinating the district’s response to disasters in District 5840 and elsewhere.
2. Developing a comprehensive disaster preparedness plan and revising as needed in order to be responsive to future disasters.
3. Considering disaster relief assistance in the form of funds, supplies, equipment, volunteers or any other resource available to the District. The DRC may choose to provide relief assistance for a specific disaster in the form of a one-time monetary donation or it may choose to withhold disaster relief for any disaster.
4. Oversight, along with the District Treasurer, of all funds to be used for disaster relief.
5. Writing grants so as to ensure that district funds are applied for within a specified time. Rotary grant applications must be completed within five days of a disaster.
6. Solicitations to individual clubs within the district for specific materials, monies or services needed to assist with the District’s disaster relief efforts.
7. The District DRC will designate specific individuals within the committee who can be contacted by the local clubs in the event of a disaster. These names, addresses, and telephone numbers will be provided to all clubs in the district. Likewise each club with a DRC committee should provide appropriate contact information to the District DRC.
8. The District DRC will encourage each club in the District to appoint a Club Disaster Coordinator.
9. The District DRC will provide training to club coordinators and other interested members.
10. The District DRC will provide a Club Disaster Plan template to be utilized by each club.
11. Members of the District DRC will be trained in the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to a minimum of the ICS 200 level.
A.  General
Because all disasters begin locally, it is the responsibility of individual Rotary clubs to develop plans within the guidelines of the District Disaster Plan.  The club president and the club board of directors are responsible for the club plan.  The club president is responsible for coordinating the efforts of the club with local emergency management organizations as long as the event requiring a response remains local.  In the event a Rotary Club or a group of clubs within a locale are asked by local emergency management authorities to assist, the club(s) involved should notify the District Governor or a member of the District Disaster Relief Committee.
In many cases there may be two are more clubs within the same local jurisdiction that have agreed to participate in the disaster process.  In this case, those clubs should work together to establish response protocols with local emergency managers. 
The club plan should also include provision to response to individuals who may need assistance following a personal disaster.  For example, if a fellow Rotarian or other citizen has damage to his or her home, Rotarians should be ready to help.
As part of disaster preparation, each Rotarian should be prepared to take care of his or her own family during a disaster.  This means the Club Disaster Coordinator should host at least one program annually that discusses individual preparation and planning.
B.  Planning
The Club Disaster Coordinator  (in concert with other local clubs) should develop a list of resources available to club members that could be used in the event of a disaster.  Resources can include:  “things” like heavy equipment, generators, transport vehicles, chain saws, tents, etc.; “people” who are willing and able to take on various tasks; and, financial resources.   This list should be forwarded to the District Coordinator.
The Club Disaster Coordinator should attend a training session provided by the District and encourage other interested club members and friends of Rotary to participate.  This class will cover the material in the FEMA IC-100 Course and the District Disaster Plan.  It would be helpful if a member of local emergency management also attends the class.
The Club Disaster Coordinator will maintain the resource list and make it available to local emergency  management officials.
If invited, the Club Disaster Coordinator should participate in one or more local drills or exercises.
C.  Activation
When the plan is activated all Rotary resources will answer to the appropriate position within the Incident Management organization.  Reporting, check-in, check-out, and demobilization will be done according to the Incident Action Plan established for the incident.
All funds will be sent directly to the District 5840 treasurer and earmarked for disaster response.  These funds will be kept in and disbursed through a special sub account within the District 5840 501c3 in accordance with IRS regulations and RI and District policies.  It is important that proper procedures be followed.  In the event that more funds are received than are needed for a particular event, the District Disaster Committee may keep those funds in the disaster account, authorize their use for another disaster, or contribute them to an RI recognized partner like Shelter Box.  Should that happen, clubs will be recognized for their contribution on a pro rata basis.
.funds need to go into the Rotary District 5840 Foundation, a 501(c)3 entity, and as such will be restricted. 
According to Federal tax rules, the donors of those funds will receive the appropriate tax receipts, and the funds can be used for such disaster relief efforts. 
As such, the funds can not be redirected without clear instructions from the donors. Thus, when funds are solicited it will have to be clear in the solicitation documents, much like Rotary's check off on the donation forms, that excess funds will be redirected to other humanitarian projects. Otherwise, they must be used for the intention given.
Also, the document should use the official name of the District, being Rotary International District 5840.
Revised May 4th, 2019