City of Cedar Rapids releases After Action Report, identifies shortcomings and strengths in derecho response

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 1:01 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - More than a year after the derecho hit eastern Iowa, the city of Cedar Rapids is making around 24 different recommendations to better respond to emergencies in the future.

The report confirms stories from our i9 Investigative Team showing officials not understanding their role in an emergency, how to request resources, and identified the need for more shelters. It also offers several recommendations to improve disaster responses in the future. Those recommendations include increased training opportunities for public officials.

However, the city and the author decline an interview with KCRG-TV9, unless we gave them questions in advance.

We did send questions by email including “How will these recommendations be implemented?” We haven’t heard back yet.

The report is similar to the report published by Linn County Emergency Management Agency published this week. But, it also puts a focus on some positives from the city’s response like starting the incident command center along and using knowledge learned in past disasters.

The city of Cedar Rapids hired an outside consultant for this after-action review, which will cost $25,000. The state is also conducting its own separate review.

Craig Fugate, who was the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under President Barack Obama, said it’s much more important to focus on the recommendations in these reports.

“The big question, always, is people say what went wrong. The real question is, what should be done next time?” Fugate said.

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