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live / 2016

Localizing Disaster Response to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Team Rubicon

Get LA Squared Away: Community Resilience Project

Please describe your project proposal.

Spending money on resiliency and readiness saves money. An organized, trained and equipped Team Rubicon will help stabilize LA once disaster hits, allowing municipal and emergency services to perform core functions enabling them to focus on getting residents back to normal life as quickly as possible. By leveraging the skills of veterans, TR is preparing for and responding to disasters as well as providing purpose, community and identity to our nation’s veteran’s, easing their transition home.

Which of the live metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Resilient communities

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to live?

Cities’ ability to respond to our rapidly changing climate and the changing nature, magnitude and quantity of natural disasters in general is insufficient. People, property and local economies are being disrupted and undermined at an alarming pace, and financial resources for disaster response are stretched thin at county, state, national and charitable levels. That said, new thinking and programming suggests that a gap between a disaster striking and the first response can be mitigated in ways that save lives, and help restore communities and economies faster in ways that save billions.

Since our founding in 2010 Team Rubicon has responded to disasters both domestic and international ranging in size from Hurricane Sandy (with more than 450 volunteers over six weeks) to a flood recovery operation in Iowa (ten volunteers for one week), and the earthquake in Nepal (60 volunteers). Early on, Team Rubicon made the decision to become fully compliant in National Incident Management Systems (NIMS), making it fully interoperable with Federal, State and Local emergency services.

Imagine as families scramble to save their loved ones, their property, and their livelihoods, that teams of local Angelenos who are trained in disaster response mobilize immediately to support their communities. Imagine that work is already underway and that these local relief agents are local Los Angeles veterans. Men and women trained for exactly this type of uncertainty and confusion from their days serving our country.

Based on our experience during the past six years responding to over 140 disasters, Team Rubicon is launching our community resilience program which consists of veteran-led relief teams who can respond immediately to natural disaster should one strike Los Angeles; the teams will show through action, how an immediate, local response complemented eventually by external disaster support can more effectively save lives, protect property and restore economies more rapidly than traditional relief modalities; and ensure that post-disaster response work continues long after media attention and external relief agencies deploy to other crises helping to fully rebuild Los Angeles neighborhoods. This will be achieved through the creation of a Basic Readiness Unit (BRU), a discrete capability level achieved within a single city limit.

The Los Angeles Basic Readiness Unit is comprised of trained local community volunteers ready to intervene as a natural disaster strikes, with the number of responders calculated based on the size of Los Angeles and geographically allocated throughout the city to ensure no one is left behind as the disaster unfolds; that basic needs are met; coordinate access to leadership at national level to ensure national relief resources are deployed most effectively and efficiently when available; and ensure the ability to monitor response, recovery and rebuilding efforts in ways external agencies simply cannot mimic.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

A BRU’s volunteer numbers are driven by a set of ratios applied to a city’s population. A city of any size is considered to have met its Basic Readiness Standard if it has a single functional BRU. One basic readiness unit consists of 100 registered TR volunteers, 25 of which are deployable, 8 of which have completed Tools, Tactics and Techniques Training, and 3 of which have completed Command and General staff training. The Basic Readiness Standard is not intended to be able to meet the response needs of an overwhelming event in LA, but rather contribute to small-scale operations and plan and execute impactful projects.

An Advanced Readiness Standard is achieved when TR’s volunteer density in a city regressively scales to approximately one BRU per 100K residents. At an Advanced Readiness Level, Team Rubicon is capable of delivering meaningful assistance to the municipality during Type 1 and 2 level responses. For Los Angeles, that would require 22 BRUs.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Network/relationship support