Fema Dhs and Emergency Management at Local Levels Essay

Total Length: 665 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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Loss of local control in emergency management is a legitimate concern. Yet access to state and federal resources is critical for effective emergency response. The most effective emergency response involves carefully coordinated roles between local, state, and federal agencies. Local agencies are always first responders, and therefore have a great deal of authority and responsibility in emergency management. States may have significant resources and distinct responsibilities to work with local officials. Yet the primary role of state agencies is “to supplement local efforts before, during, and after incidents,” (United States Department of Homeland Security, 2008, p. 6). States in many ways play the least visible role in emergency management, often working as liaisons between local governments requesting additional support and the federal government needing more information about the situation. Not all incidents require state or federal intervention and assistance, and city councils should not be concerned about losing control. Compliance with the Incident Command System (ICS) helps to unify disparate organizations involved in emergency response, ensuring interoperability. According to the Department of Homeland Security (2016), emergency response is tiered even though the ICS is characterized by a unified command system. The unified command system does not strip power from local authorities or stakeholders, but rather helps with coordination and role delegation during a time of crisis.

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The federal government has numerous roles and responsibilities, with both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) playing major roles. Naturally, the federal government is responsible for intervening in local efforts when federal property is at stake. Otherwise, the primary purpose of the federal government is in an assistive role when states request federal funding or when the President invokes the Stafford Act to declare an official major disaster (United States Department of Homeland Security, 2016). FEMA and the DHS play similar roles in emergency management, with the DHS presiding as the “principle federal official for domestic incident management,” (United States Department of Homeland Security, 2016, p. 16). Whereas FEMA plays the leading role in disaster management coordination, such as via the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC), the DHS plays a more integral role in inter-agency communication. FEMA is the primary overseer of coordinated, integrated training in effective disaster response, offering local officials educational material and opportunities for strategic planning.

Every emergency is experienced at the local level first. While federal agencies provide guidance, leadership, training,….....

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Mayer, M., Salmon, D. & Weitz, R. (2008). The local role in disaster resopnses. The Heritage Foundation. https://www.heritage.org/defense/report/the-local-role-disaster-response-lessons-katrina-and-the-california-wildfires

United States Department of Homeland Security (2008). National response framework.

United States Department of Homeland Security (2016). National response framework. https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1466014682982-9bcf8245ba4c60c120aa915abe74e15d/National_Response_Framework3rd.pdf

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