Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Principles of Disaster Response

Coast Guard
Jurisdynamics' Ten Principles of Disaster Response
  1. Federal/state coordination is critical. State officials are on the scene and have critical local knowledge; the federal government has expertise, resources, and surge capacity. States should negotiate MOUs with the federal government ahead of time regarding the allocation of responsibility for responding to catastrophic events.

  2. Disaster risk assessment and planning should be integrated into government infrastructure and land use decisions. Environmental assessments should include consideration of disaster scenarios and discuss mitigation measures.

  3. A standing procedure should be in place to assess prevention and response to all catastrophic events, rather than relying on ad hoc mechanisms such as the 9/11 Commission or congressional investigations into Hurricane Katrina responses. The national transportation board provides one model.

  4. “Fantasy” plans – vague paper guidelines that are immediately forgotten in the event of actual disaster -- are not enough. Plans must be specific and coupled with emergency exercises and training programs.

  5. States should have in place a Disaster Recovery Authority to coordinate housing and other reconstruction issues without delay.

  6. Law enforcement should remain as much as possible in the hands of state and local police, then the state national guard, and only if those responses are insufficient should federal troops be allowed to engage in law enforcement. The posse commitatus act should be amended to clarify the President’s authority to use the military for law enforcement in cases of catastrophic events or civil disorder.

  7. Special attention should be given to the need of vulnerable populations in planning disaster responses. Characteristics requiring special consideration include poverty, age (including the elderly as well as children), immigrant status, and disability.

  8. Legislation should ensure that deadlines, whether found in state or federal rules or statutes or in private contracts such as insurance, can be modified or tolled in the event of catastrophic events.

  9. Legislatures should have standing committees on disaster risk or dedicated staff positions to ensure that these risks receive on-going legislative attention.

  10. States should review regulatory statutes to ensure that they contain appropriate waiver provisions for catastrophic conditions.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a below-the-radar amendment to the Insurrection Act in the defense authorization bill, which affects part of the sixth principle in this posting. I'll do a separate posting as soon as I have the details.

12/06/2006 10:30 AM  

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