The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the pre-disaster planning processes and practices used by Florida’s community college administrators as of December 2008. FEMA’s Building a Disaster Resistant University (DRU) model was the conceptual lens for this study. A mixed methods research design included 15 surveys completed by Florida community college business officers and six semi-structured interviews with staff most involved in pre-disaster planning. Data were compared to DRU guidelines to establish whether processes and practices were congruent with the DRU.
Six quantitative findings were reported in this study. First, five of fourteen (35.7%) survey respondents appointed a project manager; second, fourteen of fifteen respondents (93.3%) conducted a risk assessment; third, thirteen of fifteen (87%) respondents reported contacting 2 to14 stakeholders; fourth, fourteen of fifteen (93.3%) survey respondents conducted an inventory of buildings and infrastructure assets; fifth, majority of survey respondents (87.7%) reported they identified mitigation goals and objectives; sixth, eight of fourteen (57.1%) respondents’ president formally adopted the pre-disaster mitigation plan. Qualitative findings were, first, wide internal and external stakeholder representation was organized; second, advisory committees have no mission statement; third, one site identified hazards by consulting with stakeholders, but neither one could provide a list of hazards; fourth, sites used only half of the DRU’s building inventory items; fifth, recording and mapping of infrastructure (i.e., utilities) are evolved at one site, while both sites backup administrative systems; sixth, neither site considered several hazard profile formula variables recommended by the DRU; seventh, Beta’s internal and external stakeholders conduct a rigorous vetting process, which allows it to establish a prioritized list of mitigation goals and objectives; eighth, neither site uses an adequate formula for benefit-cost analysis and no consultant has been hired to do so; ninth, only one participant could articulate how the mission guided mitigation action prioritization; tenth, key internal and external stakeholders adopted mitigation actions; eleventh, no plan for measuring mitigation action efficacy exists; and twelfth, mitigation action successes are communicated to internal stakeholders, but not external stakeholders making it difficult to achieve plan momentum and funding. Recommendations are provided for community college administrators.
De Palma, Timothy J., "Pre-Disaster Planning at Florida Community Colleges: A Comparison of FEMA Guidelines to Processes and Practices" (2011). DRU Workshop 2011 Presentations - Disaster Resistant University Workshop: Building Partnerships in Mitigation. Paper 19.