Brought to you by American Military University
Emergency and disaster response: Is the U.S. better at it now?
If you ask someone from Louisiana to characterize the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina, you would likely receive a negative reaction
By Richard Pera
American Military University
If you ask someone from Louisiana to characterize the federal government’s response to 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, you would likely receive a viscerally negative reaction. Indeed, commenting on the post-Katrina response from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a spokesperson for Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco uttered these now famous and often-quoted words in a New York Times article: "We wanted soldiers, helicopters, food, and water … They wanted to negotiate an organizational chart."
Fast forward seven years for a very different assessment of the federal government’s response — this time to Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the New Jersey coast. During an interview on NBC’s "Today" show, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie praised the federal response: "The President has been outstanding and so have the folks at FEMA."
This was a remarkable turnaround. During these intervening seven years, much work was done to implement lessons learned, including the 2006 Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act , which "significantly reorganized FEMA [and] provided it substantial new authority to remedy gaps that became apparent in response to … Katrina." Since 2009, under the leadership of Secretary Janet Napolitano, significant strides were made to improve management of emergencies and disasters, including promulgation of Presidential Policy Directive 13 (PPD-13), which details "Emergency Services" as one of 16 "Critical Infrastructure Sectors."
Full story: Visit the In Public Safety blog
Recommended Disaster Management
Join the discussion
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.