News

NDPTC's relationship with the Coastal Hazards Center


Posted on March 30, 2014


This past month, the University of Hawaii’s National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC) and the Department of City and Regional Planning hosted CHC’s Executive Director Dr. Gavin Smith

Throughout the visit, Dr. Smith met with Dr. Karl Kim, Executive Director of the NDPTC and Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning to discuss the ongoing development of a FEMA-sponsored disaster recovery training course and other collaborative opportunities.  The primary reason for his visit was to engage the community in an 8-hour workshop funded by FEMA through NDPTC, titled Advanced Disaster Recovery Strategies for Local Communities.  Other instructors present included Jim Schwab, co-editor of "Zoning Practice" and Manager of the American Planners Association's Hazards Planning Research Center, and Carolyn Harshman, President of Emergency Planning Consultants.

The workshop will ultimately form the basis of a two-day course intended to assist local governments prepare for the many challenges associated with disaster recovery, including the development of a pre-disaster recovery plan.  A variety of topics were discussed, including recovery concepts, the need for pre-disaster planning, and the importance of collaboration and governance. Course materials were supplemented by case studies and student evaluations of local disaster recovery plans.

As part of the overall course development, Dr. Smith interviewed non-profit leaders, local officials and members of the regional utility company in Kauai in order to gain additional insights on disaster recovery.  The interviews were videotaped by Kepano Kekuewa from Kūlia LLC and will be incorporated into the final course.  Additional interviews were conducted with invited speakers and other guests who attended the Annual Pacific Risk Management O’hana (PRiMO) conference “Building Communities of Practice for Resilience,” which took place in Honolulu, Hawaii. PRiMO  is a coalition of organizations that strive to strengthen hazard risk mitigation practice in the Pacific region.

Once complete, the recovery course will be among others developed and deployed by NDPTC and their partners, including the Coastal Hazards Center, who has been designated by NDPTC as a point of delivery for the East Coast of the United States.

Additional collaborative opportunities discussed during the visit included the finalization of plans for Dr. Smith to deliver a disaster recovery course in Indonesia in June, as well as the potential for the University of Hawaii to host UNC students who are pursuing a degree in natural hazards and disasters under CHC’s new Career Development Grant (CDG).  The CDG was provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of University Programs.

After the conference, Dr. Smith visited with NOAA officials at their new facility on Ford Island.  The meeting provided a chance to talk with Jeff Payne, Acting Director of the NOAA Coastal Services Center and Bill Thomas, Director of the NOAA Pacific Coastal Services Center to discuss future opportunities for collaboration on coastal hazards and climate change adaptation-related issues.