Areas Pertinent to local, state, and federal government leaders and emergency management practitioners in relation to natural and accidental disasters.

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Areas Concerning natural and unintentional disasters

Pertinent to representatives of the municipal, state, and federal governments as well as emergency management professionals.

Public authorities and Local Government Disasters

Public authorities, both chosen and elected in the afflicted areas, are solely to blame for local government disasters. During such events, they are tasked with providing resources and leadership through operational choices in order to secure the protection of the populace. They also have a significant impact on the creation of the laws, spending plans, and regulations that would govern such emergency operations. There must be local chief executives in each community who oversee emergency operations, raise public awareness, and work in tandem with other governmental organizations. Locally, the emergency manager also works in collaboration with departmental heads in the coordination of local agencies’ functions, resource provision, and development of work plans, policies and safety procedures. This is mainly in the local emergency management program. In the case of a disaster incident, the manager coordinates damage assessments. They also help in public education and advising the local authorities in the different emergency management activities. They also help coordinate rights of people with disability and those from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds in case of an incident and its consequent response.

Responsibility of the State

The state basically provides strategic guidance in emergency response and coordination of required resources to help the local level of management. This responsibility is tasked to the governor of the state. Through the governor, the state helps in making, amending or even suspending emergency response regulations. The state governor also commands the military forces in incident responses. They as well coordinate with other states for help through the different interstate mutual aid and assistance agreements. The state is responsible for sensitization of the community on emergency issues, helping cope on any destruction incurred as well as seeking the assistance of the Federal government in case of a major incident. The state also has a homeland department responsible for public safety and a National Guard that is charged with the planning and disaster response.

Assistance from the Federal Government

The Federal government helps mobilize resources in cases of large-scale emergency incidents. Different departments collaborate with local, territorial, tribal and state governments to assist the population during emergency response. This is coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The President declares the Stafford Act in case of large scale emergency incident that require the Federal Government assistance coordinated through the Secretary of Homeland Security.

FEMA and National Security

The FEMA administrator advises the President, Homeland Security Council and the secretary of Homeland Security on issues regarding emergency response. The administrator solely executes the Presidential Stafford Act and reports back to the Secretary of Homeland Security. The State’s Attorney General enforces laws concerned with emergency operations including Federal civil rights laws (as the Civil Rights Act and the American with Disabilities Act).

Other Departments Concerned with Emergency Response

Other departments concerned with emergency response include the State Secretariat which coordinates consultations in cases where such incidences have diplomatic and international implications. The Directorate of National Intelligence is responsible for advising the President on national security and implementing the National Intelligence Program.

Memorandum of Understanding

A memorandum of understanding is a written formal agreement between bilateral or multilateral parties on their responsibilities and requirements on an issue of mutual interest. An example of such an agreement is one between the United States and America in 2008 on International Emergency Management Assistance. This understanding outlines a framework for collaboration in the event of emergencies in either of the jurisdictions. It outlines related planning processes, training activities, emergency exercises and testing mechanisms.

Partnerships for Disaster Mitigation

Another agreement is between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. This partnership focuses on the USDA-FS network in community ecosystem management through their strategies, programs and technologies in order for enhancing public education and minimizing their vulnerability to disasters. These two examples of agreements portray partnerships between international territories, Federal departments and inter-state governments.

The Importance of Establishing Emergency Agreements

Establishing emergency agreements adjacent towns, cities and states is thus significant as it helps educate the people on disaster mitigation measures, mobilization of resources in helping those affected as well reduce the effects of such incidents. Without such measures, there definitely would be more severe consequences of the disaster with the population incurring many losses. Lack of knowledge among the population could prolong the duration of an incidence as well cause inadequate or lack of preventive measures for the same. With poor management of casualties in case of uncoordinated mobilization of resources, there would be several fatalities and consequently adverse psychological effects. Wide-spread destruction of property will also lead to deterioration of the economy as the people strive to cover the losses in lacking support from the government.

Search and Rescue Plan of Operation

According to the National Response Framework, the objective in mass search and rescue operations is to save many lives at risk within the minimum possible time. It is an elaborate process including; locating and saving individuals in distress, initiating community-based search and rescue operations to support activities in case of an incident affecting a wide geographical area, ensuring collaboration and deployment teams from the local, state, Federal and the international authorities in order for effective search and rescue efforts for recovery. (NRF pg 22)

Preferred Kind of Communication in a Disaster

The objective for enhancing effective public communication is in the delivery of reliable, coordinated and timely information to the population through a consistent, clear, culturally-accepted and accessible method. This communication should be precise on the appropriate measures to be taken to avoid a threat and in case of an incident as well, the processes by concerned authorities. Such communication includes; informing the people on life saving and life sustaining information and, informing those affected about emergency services being undertaken. (NRF pg 21)


Homeland Security: National Response Framework, NRF Second Edition, May 2013 The Knowledge platform for disaster risk reduction- 10th Anniversary.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture

March 10, 2023


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