April 2019 Downtown Gas Explosion Provides Insight for Improving Future Efforts
DURHAM, N.C. – The Durham City/County Emergency Management (EM) Department and the City of Durham Fire Department have released their findings in two separate reports regarding their responses to the April 10 gas explosion in downtown Durham.
City Manager Thomas Bonfield and Durham City/County Emergency Management Director Jim Groves requested an in-depth review of their departments’ readiness, response, and recovery efforts. These new reports provide valuable insight, best practices, data, and opportunities to improve responses to future incidents.
From 2018-2020, Durham, Orange and Wake counties are participating in a regional preparedness effort to increase readiness for a Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attack (CCTA) through the development of a regional coordination plan, training, and exercises. As part of that effort, Durham assessed the region’s response to this spring’s gas explosion since it included many similar elements to the CCTA regional coordination plan.
“Lessons learned and recommendations have been analyzed with regard to future incidents that may pose similar operational challenges to our response and recovery capability,” said Groves. “Our teams on the scene and at our Emergency Operations Center led a response and recovery marked by professionalism, commitment, empathy, and determination. We are releasing these reports for the public to understand how we are constantly working to improve our response and recovery capabilities, and how we will implement these changes in our local and regional planning and training efforts.”
In addition to the Durham City/County Emergency Management report, the Durham Fire Department (DFD) has also released its After-Action Report/Improvement Plan to complement the EM report.
“The DFD After-Action Report/Improvement Plan provides a thorough examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the DFD’s response to the April 10 Gas Explosion,” said City of Durham Fire Department Chief Robert J. Zoldos II. “This report identifies strengths to be maintained and built upon within the DFD, identifies potential areas for further improvement, and supports development of corrective actions within the DFD.”
For more information regarding the Lessons Learned Report, contact Groves at (919) 560-0674 or [email protected]. For more information on the Durham Fire Department’s After-Action Report, contact Fire Chief Zoldos at (919) 560-4242 or [email protected].