Syracuse Disaster Exercise 2023

Rapid Disaster Assessment Program


How can I survive a disaster? That’s not a question most of us ponder. In Syracuse, the three most likely disasters are an earthquake, a flood, and a wildfire. Who would come to your rescue in such an event? What would you do to help your family and neighbors? One tool is the Rapid Disaster Assessment Program (RDAP). This year’s Syracuse Preparedness Exercise will focus on becoming familiar with RDAP.

On April 20th, the State of Utah will activate the annual Great Utah ShakeOut, to practice our readiness for a massive earthquake. Syracuse City will piggyback on that exercise to have our 2023 citywide preparedness training. This year’s focus will be on RDAP information and awareness. The Disaster Preparedness Committee will gather statistics on how many citizens have read about RDAP and watched one or more videos of its operation. For a week, starting at 6 a.m., April 15th, we will be gathering counts of those who have read/viewed the information about RDAP. See a list of suggested links below.

RDAP is a program for residents to actively participate in gathering damage and injury information that can be passed on to the city’s professional first responders, so they can allocate their resources in the case of a widespread disaster. Syracuse City does not have enough firefighters and police officers to canvas the city to determine where and how extensive the damage is. RDAP provides them with that information by utilizing the residents in the respective areas of the city. In this manner, the City can rely on volunteers to gather the information in a short time and relay it to the City.

One of the important features of RDAP is that the resident volunteers do not need to have any special training or skills. The volunteers are never expected to provide medical care, put out fires, or rescue people from damaged buildings. The volunteers are only there to gather information and pass it to the City.

RDAP does not require any training or special skills. The program operates as follows:

  1. Check your family and home and ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for.
  2. Send one or more of your family members to the local area reporting location to volunteer to assess a neighborhood section. The city is divided into six districts, with each district having from 8 to 12 areas. Each area is divided into small sections of no more than 8-10 homes. Your area reporting location is probably set up in the nearest meetinghouse for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. NOTE: This is not an LDS effort. We use the LDS meetinghouses for convenience.
  3. At the reporting location, you will be paired up with someone else and given a map of one of the neighborhood sections to assess. A coordinator will log you out and log you back in when you return.
  4. You and your partner will go to the designated section by whatever method is most efficient and safe–walk, ride bicycles, or drive a vehicle–depending on the extent of the damage. In the section, you will knock on each door and record the number of persons, the injuries, if any, and damage to the residence, if any. Depending on what you find, you will hang a ribbon or tape on the door, fence, or mailbox, so that the first responders will know immediately where their services are needed. The ribbons are green, yellow, or red, indicating ‘all OK’, follow up again, or severe problems, respectively.
  5. When you’ve completed your section assessment, you will return to the reporting location to give the information to the person gathering it. Anything that requires immediate response will be transmitted to the first responders via radio.
  6. This process is repeated by various groups until all the neighborhood sections of your area have been assessed and, if necessary, reported to the City.

If you wish to search for more RDAP information, please enter “Rapid Disaster Assessment Program” into your browser, as there are several programs using the RDAP acronym.

We hope you will take time to learn about RDAP and participate in our annual Preparedness Exercise from April 15th through April 22nd.

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