An Analysis of after Action Reports from Texas Hurricanes in 2005 and 2017

Daniel J. Barnett, Kandra Strauss-Riggs, Victoria L. Klimczak, Andrew J. Rosenblum, Thomas D. Kirsch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To review and analyze After Action Reports from jurisdictions in Texas following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 in order to assess the utility of AARs as a quality improvement measurement tool. Methods: The authors searched the Homeland Security Digital Library, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange, and Google Scholar for any AARs that covered the response phase of at least one of the 3 hurricanes, mentioned the state of Texas, and suggested solutions to problems. The authors applied public health emergency management (PHEM) domains, as outlined by Rose et al, to frame the AAR analysis. AARs were coded by 2 reviewers independently, with a third acting as adjudicator. As an example, the problem statements in 2005 and 2017 AARs from 1 statewide agency were compared. Results: Sixteen AARs met the inclusion criteria. There were 500 identified problem-solution sets mapped to a PHEM domain. The content was unevenly distributed, with most issues coming under PHEM 2: Policies, Plans, Procedures, and Partnerships at 45.2% in the 2005 hurricanes and 39.9% in 2017. AARs lacked consistent format and were often prepared by the response agencies themselves. Five consistent issues were raised in 2005 and again in 2017. These were volunteer management and credential verification, donations management, information sharing, appropriately identifying those requiring a medical needs shelter, and inadequate transportation to support evacuation. Conclusion: Because of the lack of objective data, inconsistent format, unevenly distributed content, and lack of adherence to any framework, AARs are fraught with shortcomings as a tool for PHEM. Inclusion of more objective reporting measures is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E71-E78
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Volume27
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • After Action Reports
  • hurricanes
  • lessons learned
  • public health emergency management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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