Lessons learned from the 2002 Kansas City ice storm
Contributed by: Forest Decker
Rank: Manager of Forestry Operations
Department: City of Kansas City Missouri, Parks and Recreation Department, MO
(Robert Lawton/Creative Commons)
In 2002, Kansas City, Missouri experienced an ice-storm that ultimately generated 1.6 million cubic yards of debris that was removed by the city government. The storm left tens of thousands of residents without power for several weeks, and resulted in the loss of over 20,000 trees. Clean-up of tree debris and removal of hazardous trees took 81 days, costing the city over $26 million.
Probably the single best lesson learned is to be prepared in advance. KCMO was lucky, in that we had prepared for a large scale emergency of this kind by adding an emergency clause to our standard tree maintenance contracts. This helped, but had to be modified during the process to accomodate FEMA guidelines for contracting. Be prepared by building in FEMA compliant clauses in your contracts, and having your legal and contract compliance folks up to speed on requirements. Have ready sources of labor and equipment identified in advance. It would also help to stage a "dry run" once a year, or every other year, in order to make sure all your resources are identified and your information is up-to-date.