Post-Katrina Modifications to Disaster Planning and Storm Riding at Audubon Nature Institute
Disaster planning is a crucial concern for all institutions that house and care for animals. With increasing impact from global warming and potential climate destabilization, planning for and dealing with major disruptions will be critically important to all zoos for the foreseeable future.
Additionally, the evaluation of existing plans and post-impact performance evaluations and subsequent recommendations for improvement are essential in preparing for future crises.
Hurricane Katrina was a major disaster for New Orleans and Audubon Nature Institute facilities. In the aftermath of the storm, many aspects of planning were revised and refined, and many changes made to improve an already heroic response of the team that rode out the storm and stayed through the long period of turmoil after it. These modifications were and continue to be based in many instances on storm team experiences and their recommendations for planning for and refining response to future storms.
Since Katrina, significant changes have evolved in storm team composition, communications (both internal and external), preparatory and post-event procedures, planned redundancy for vital equipment, interactions with external agencies at local and national levels, and in documentation and records for assessment and compensation.