Disaster Preparedness Gap

As the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season gets underway a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report suggests that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needs to improve national preparedness for a catastrophe. The GAO found that 68 percent (49 of 72) of the plans needed to implement a national preparedness system, including several for catastrophic incidents, are not yet complete, even though 41 of 50 policies needed to define roles and responsibilities of key officials involved in implementing the plans have been completed. GAO notes that the lack of clarity in response roles and responsibilities among the diverse set of responders contributed to the disjointed response to Hurricane Katrina and highlighted the need for clear, integrated disaster preparedness and response policies and plans. According to GAO, although best practices for program management call for a plan that includes key tasks and target completion dates, FEMA does not have such a plan. Check out I.I.I. tips on disaster preparedness.