On May 7, 2015, Upper Valley Strong attended a meeting of the Executive Directors for the Regional Planning Commissions (RPCs) for the State of Vermont. We discussed the importance of, and distinction between, Community Organizations Active in Disasters (COADs) and Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs) in times of disaster.
Because several regions within the State of Vermont were unaffected by Tropical Storm Irene, some RPC Executive Directors were unfamiliar with the capacity of these organizations to positively affect individual long term recovery after disasters.
COADs are comprised of local organizations and individuals and are centrally located to the disaster. These organizations know the local resources and neighborhoods, work directly with municipal, state, and federal agencies, and have a vested interest in the recovery of the impacted area. VOADs are non-profits and faith-based groups that coordinate in disaster preparation, recovery and response and also work with state and federal emergency management. Ideally, COADs work in conjunction with VOADs to provide management, coordination, and support to conduct the most efficient recovery from disasters.
Currently, Windham County, hard hit by recent flooding, are in the process of forming a COAD in coordination with their RPC Commissioner, Chris Campany. We anticipate future discussions with those RPCs without COADs to assist in evaluating the formation and long term presence of such groups within all regions in the State of Vermont.