Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) are local businesses and community non-profit organizations that unite and coordinate with local emergency management officials to assist their local communities to prepare and properly respond, in a coordinated way, during times of disaster. Massachusetts VOAD is very interested in helping to establish COADs throughout the Commonwealth as the people who can best understand what assistance people need in response to a local disaster are often the neighbors themself. The disaster relief events are occasionally large, such as the Western Massachusetts tornadoes, but are often of a smaller scale such as house fires that leave families homeless and without needed items and winter power-outages.
Soon Mass. VOAD will be promoting to Emergency Management Directors as well as local community members to hook up to create stronger COADs. As COADs, you may also want to keep in touch and practice working together with other activities that may help your cities and towns such as neighborhood watches and local festivals. Your local Emergency Management Director is usually known by, and often an official in, your local fire department.
The chart (below) is the ideal set up in disaster response. The chart shows the rank in authority in disaster response for the government as well as the ideal situation for private sector response. The government and private sectors coordinate in disaster response with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and National VOAD at the top, followed by MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency) next and with the local EMDs (Emergency Management Directors) coordinating with COADs on a local level.
When disaster occurs, EMDs and COADs would respond first. When the disaster is larger, the state level assists and when a large scale disaster occurs, such as the 2011 tornadoes and the floods of 2010, the federal level response would occur.
Hopefully, this illustration shows the necessity of creating COADs for better and swifter disaster response.
Please help your community by starting or expanding a COAD today!