Washington, DC – The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) will invite public and private sector representatives to participate in a regional snow storm after-action conference, said District of Columbia Councilmember Kwame Brown, who chairs the COG Board of Directors this year. COG anticipates hosting this event in March after local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector have had a chance to complete clean-up and assess the storm’s costs and early lessons learned.
“COG played an important role in fostering coordination among the many government agencies that responded to the most severe snow storm in the last 100 years,” said Brown. “Frequent conference calls involving the National Weather Service, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, WMATA, and many state and local government first responders ensured that timely decisions were made in a regional context. But we can always do better, and this after-action conference will provide a great opportunity to improve the response in the future.”
The conference will examine the fiscal impact of closing government operations and the additional costs of plowing and treating roadways by transportation agencies and local and state governments already facing unprecedented budget shortfalls. Representatives from the private sector will be asked to share information on the storm’s impact on area businesses, as well.
In calling for this event, Brown acknowledged that many local and state governments in the National Capital Region and other agencies will likely conduct their own after-action assessment. “COG’s conference seeks to complement these efforts,” he said, “by pulling together the best available information from our many regional partners to better understand how the region can work together even more effectively in the future.
Frank Principi, a member of Prince William County’s Board of County Supervisors, who chairs the National Capital Region Emergency Preparedness Council, noted that past improvements in emergency response and coordination followed after-action reviews of Hurricane Isabel that occurred on September 18-19, 2003 and the president’s inauguration of January 20, 2009. “As the regional association of local, state and federal officials in the National Capital Region, with broad involvement in public safety and transportation, COG sees this as a way to continue our dialogue on lessons learned,” Principi said.
Andrea Harrison, a member of the Prince George’s County Council and COG’s vice chair, said “It's important that the region to take stock of our overall response to this event because we could face more difficult challenges in the future.”