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City of Cedar Rapids Contracts for Derecho After Action Report

The City of Cedar Rapids will work with Atchison Consulting Service to develop an After Action Report (AAR) for the August 10, 2020 Derecho event. Through data collection, analysis, and engagement efforts, the AAR will allow the City to understand disaster response strengths and areas for improvements to develop a roadmap to improve core capabilities city-wide.

“An after action review is an important exercise to identify opportunities for continuous improvement,” said Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Greg Smith.  “The City will be able to maximize learning from the Derecho response on August 10, 2020, and the continuing response in the days, weeks, and months of recovery that followed. As an accredited agency, the Cedar Rapids Fire Department is an advocate for after action reviews to ensure life safety and property preservation objectives continue to be accomplished, and the City and community are adequately prepared for future disasters.”

Atchison Consulting will gain insight into the overall disaster response through research and conversations with City staff, officials, partner organizations and other community stakeholders.

“I am honored that the City selected our team to support this effort,” said Cathleen Atchison, owner of Atchison Consulting Service. “Born and raised in Iowa, calling Cedar Rapids home for many years, we are highly committed to providing the City of Cedar Rapids with a process and service that will highlight strengths, identify barriers and challenges, and create a roadmap of solution alternatives that will increase capabilities across City agencies and partnering stakeholders. By understanding these components based on a no-notice event; preparedness, response, and recovery efforts will be enhanced to support the needs of the community and citizens for future all-hazard disasters.”

The after action report will help to answer four major questions:

  • What was done well;
  • What the City wasn’t prepared for;
  • What the City learned and is still learning from the event; and
  • What are new opportunities for growth.

Atchison Consulting will work to identify a select number of core capabilities to focus on within those four major discussion areas. Examples of core capabilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Command: Communication and Coordination
  • Supply Chain Management: Resources, Security and Logistics
  • Information Sharing
  • Multi-Agency Coordination: Resource requests, tracking and mutual aid agreements
  • Public Information
  • Local Emergency Operation Center Activations
  • Situational Awareness of jurisdictional need and recovery

The City has been working with Atchison Consulting to finalize the Derecho After Action Review, originally scheduled to be completed no later than June 30, 2021.  In the course of the process, Atchison Consulting has recommended some additions to the final document, including guidance and process documents related to the processes the City uses in response to disasters. Due to these upgrades, the contract deadline has been moved to August 31, 2021. 

About Atchison Consulting Service

Cathleen Atchison is the Owner of Atchison Consulting Service, a certified, Woman Owned Business. She has 23 years of experience in the Emergency Management sector, with more than 20 team members who exceed 30+ years of real world experience in their respective fields.  Established in Iowa in 2009, the company is WBE Certified, recognized as a Woman Owned Small  Business & Dynamic Small Business in SAM.gov and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Atchison Consulting team members have been supporting Federal, State and Local government agencies individually for over 35 years. All team members are highly accomplished, respected, experienced professionals with backgrounds in Emergency Management, Public Safety, Faith- Based communities, Business & Industry, Educational Institutions and Military personnel.

Their mission is to provide real world best practices, customized programs rooted in ground truth, and principles that have been proven to take our customers plans, projects and programs to a higher level and meaningful experience for all. Their core values provide uncompromising passion to serve, support, share and help all who want to be engaged to prepare for, respond to and recover from All-Hazards Disasters.

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