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Efficient preparedness and coordination for effective response to catastrophic events, catastrophes, and emergencies necessitate collaboration among several levels of government, including local government, state government, federal agencies, and private-sector parties. Within the national response framework, they collaborate in collaboration (United States, 2008). The local government has the most authority and duty for emergency management coordination. This is because, unlike the other levels of government, the local authority has a greater responsibility to ensure the welfare and public safety of inhabitants. They are physically closer to the people and are usually the first to recognize threats and respond appropriately. Besides, in most cases, they leave the site of the incident last and directly cope with the impact of the incident.
Both the states and federal governments working independently or in partnership play an important role in coordinating emergency management response. State government mainly coordinates emergency responses within the state. The state mobilizes and organizes all the required capabilities and resources throughout the state, and when the need arises, they solicit the capabilities and resources of other states to effectiveness deal with an emergency. The states possess a wealth of resources at their disposal which includes the State police, homeland security agencies, health agencies, emergency management, incident management teams, the National Guard, transportation agencies and specialized teams (Edwards & Cato Institute, 2014). Their main function during an emergency response is to supplement the efforts of local authority before, during and after incidents.
With its large pool of resources, the state supports the local authorities who operate closer to the communities affected by incidents. The State's Governor, who is the key player for protecting the welfare and public safety of State's citizens, coordinate the States resources and offer the strategic framework needed to mitigate, respond to, prevent, prepare for and recover from disasters of all kinds. Through the influence of the governor, the State may be able to amend, make or abolish specific regulations within the State law associated with emergency response (United States, 2013). Besides, the governor has the powers to request assistance from other States and Federal government when it becomes apparent that the State's resources and capabilities are inadequate or insufficient.
Apart from Governor, State Homeland Security Advisor is also another major player who plays an integral role in ensuring that an effective prevention, response, and recovery strategies are put in place. These interventions are achieved as State Homeland Security Advisor liaises between the State homeland security structure and the federal Department to improve emergency preparedness and response (Beckett, 2014). Besides, through the efforts of State Emergency Management Agency the state is empowered to address large-scale emergencies.
The Federal Government keeps a diverse range of resources and capabilities that are mobilized to help State government respond effectively to incidents. When a disaster occurs, that is beyond or expected to exceed the resources within the State and local authorities, the Federal government, is requested to offer its capabilities and resources to enhance the State response (United States, 2013). All the emergencies involving the primary Federal authorities or jurisdictions makes the Federal agencies becomes the first line of defense or first responders to manage activities with the local authority and State partners. Besides, the Federal Government works in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and private sector to deal with emergencies.
Federal level intervention structures are flexible and scalable because they respond accordingly to the nature of a given incident. The national leadership led by the president organizes and coordinate response effort initiated by the Federal Government. The president oversees that the deployment of necessary resources, leadership and coordinating structures is undertaken effectively to large-scale and catastrophic incidents (Edwards & Cato Institute, 2014). Besides, the national leadership set policies that helps address catastrophic events after consulting with the National Security Council and Homeland Security Council.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acts as the major domestic incident management agency that coordinates all the resources utilized by the Federal government in the prevention of, response to, preparation for and recovery from major disasters. DHS provide all the necessary information regarding emergency management response to the president including entire framework put in place to improve domestic incident management as well as coordinate the Federal response to a request by the States while soliciting support from other Federal agencies specialized in disaster management. Also, DHS supply the necessary elements of an emergency response that are in line with its capabilities and mandate (Beckett, 2014). As opposed to other Federal departments, DHS oversee the emergency response operations of all the other departments by monitoring their progress and may initiate specific framework mechanisms to give support to agencies without taking overall coordination for the Federal response to the incident.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) managed by an administrator helps all the emergency officials plan and response appropriately to all hazards. It is an important Federal agency that gives recommendations to the President and the Homeland Security Council on all the matters regarding emergency response management (Edwards & Cato Institute, 2014). The agency in partnership with Homeland Security prepares for and responds to all hazards incidents. FEMA controls Federal logistical and operational disaster response initiative required to save and sustain lives, alleviate suffering and prevent the destruction of property in areas that become overwhelmed by catastrophic events.
For effective emergency management response, the federal, state, local and private levels of governance must partner together to deal with an incident. The first example of integration to respond to a disaster is the State Assistance to Local Governments. This often occurs when a disaster that exceeds the capacity of a local authority strains its resources and capabilities, in the event of this incident the local emergency manager request the State to mobilize its resources to supplement the local intervention. The response by the state has been successful because its interventions work alongside that of local government through the creation of a Joint Information Center.
Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) is another successful integration effort established on mutual assistance agreements between states in 1996. Under this agreement, States can request for assistance from other States in the event of an occurrence of a large-scale disaster. Besides its state-to-state integration measures, EMAC plan stipulates a comprehensive governance structure that describes its relationship with regions, private organizations, and Federal organizations (Edwards & Cato Institute, 2014). This integration effort has been successful because it offers a fast response to emergencies using the unique human expertise and resources within the Member States.
Beckett, D. (2014). National response and disaster recovery frameworks. New York : Nova
Edwards, C., & Cato Institute. (2014). The federal emergency management agency: Floods,
failures, and federalism. [Washington, D.C.] Cato Institute.
United States. (2008). National response framework. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Homeland
United States. (2013). National response framework. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Homeland
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