Tag: Hurricane Katrina

Why Did the Communication System Break Down Hours After Hurricane Katrina?

Essay Questions:

Your final work product will be a coherent essay (introduction, body paragraph and conclusion) addressing each of the following questions using the textbook material, the video and outside sources:

  1. Why did the communication system break down hours after Hurricane Katrina?
  2. How is the issue of “interoperability” dangerous to the concept of federalism and our entire system of government?
  3. What was the purpose of the Hurricane Pam exercise? List at least 3 reasons why was it unsuccessful? What lessons could have been learned, had it been completed?
  4. Discuss some of the criticisms of FEMA over the years?
  5. Who is the current director of FEMA? Is this person qualified for the position?
  6. Research some of the criticisms of President George W. Bush’s initial response to Hurricane Katrina? Were those criticisms justified after seeing this video? Why or why not?
  7. Discuss what some experts feel can be done differently next time? This requires additional research.
  8. What are the overall lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina?

Be sure to follow all formatting guidelines provided in the syllabus. Your final work product must have a cover page with a word count, an essay that is 3-4 pages in length and a works cited page. The minimum writing requirement expectation is two full pages in your own words (excluding citations). If the minimum expectations are not met, the assignment will be marked incomplete. Be sure to provide a proper citation in MLA or APA format for all works consulted on a separate works cited page.

The following activity is to be completed at the conclusion of the entire video. The video has been broken down into five smaller parts to increase the quality of the video and audio. You will need to watch the whole video to complete this activity and to get the information within its proper context. The total running time is one hour.

Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina

The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina Lessons Learned (February, 2006) recommended that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) establish a National Exercise and Evaluation Program (NEEP). By extension, the NEEP designated the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) as a way to standardize exercise planning and execution across governmental levels and sectors. Not all nongovernmental organizations use HSEEP in full or even partially. However, communities, states, and various federal agencies are expected to adopt and employ its tenets. Certainly, it provides the standard that is employed in the National Exercise Program (NEP). The HSEEP provides a standardized methodology for planners to use in designing, developing, conducting, evaluating, and improving exercises and training.

The HSEEP also serves as an extensive resource, replete with useful tools, templates, and examples for building exercises and determining training needs, creating training events, and assessing the merits of all related activities. As you know or are learning, training and exercises are ideally integrated, not merely linked. What is the difference between these concepts of linked and integrated? Exercises that are linked to training may (or may not) draw directly or indirectly from training drills and events. Exercises that integrate training are considerably more dynamic, with training occurring as the exercise unfolds. This latter technique better develops critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and decision-making abilities as well.

The following illustration should clarify this benefit:

Soldiers and law enforcement personnel routinely attend weapons ranges to practice and qualify on their assigned weapons. This training helps them to maintain proficiency or improve in their individual skills. Consider an exercise that links this specific training to other training. The soldiers are completing a special obstacle course in which they run, climb rope ladders, swing over water obstacles, etc. Sometime during the course, they shoot at targets and then dismantle weapons under timed conditions and must achieve a certain score on their target hits. There is linkage to firing weapons accurately to the overall stress-inducing obstacle course.

Integrating the weapons training might look like the following: Soldiers, equipped with laser-emitting weapons, and wearing special sensors on their helmets and vests, commence to move in tactical formations proceeding through wooded (or desert, jungle, etc.) environments. Another group of soldiers, also equipped with special weapons and sensors, plays the opposing force. The two groups engage in realistic combat operations requiring accurate weapons fire, plus evasive movement, simulated first aid, evacuation of casualties, and other assorted requirements. In this case, firing a weapon potentially has an offensive and defensive role, yet is one part of a whole scenario. (You might substitute law enforcement training for an active shooter scenario, or firefighters directing the main water supply at a fire, as other examples.)

The HSEEP describes the preparedness cycle extensively. As you review HSEEP’s volumes, you will read more about this cycle in Volume 1, Chapter 4. Like most planning cycles, the preparedness cycle includes (among other steps) stages of planning, exercising, evaluating and improving plans. These steps are fairly common within planning cycles for what should be obvious reasons. Plans require a careful and comprehensive approach. Once they are complete, they must be exercised as thoroughly and realistically as possible. During and after exercises, observations and lessons must be collected, assessed, and most importantly, acted upon. These actions should include the refinement or modification of the initial plans, as necessary. Then the cycle begins again.

Too often, managers and leaders are satisfied with the initial establishment of plans that remain untested, are never properly validated, or do not undergo regular review and revision. Well-designed exercises of plans can solve all of these insufficiencies. Yet, exercises take expertise to develop, cost money to execute, and require time to prepare for and conduct. Again, the HSEEP is an excellent resource to aid homeland security professionals in selecting and conducting relevant training, and for developing appropriate and realistic exercises.

Take into consideration the following scenario:

You are still a planner with the County Office of Emergency Management. Since your arrival, you have reviewed all of the plans that the office maintains. The director has asked you for your candid assessment on the county’s plans; he requests that you select one plan as a priority for the planning team to focus upon, and one you can also use as an illustration for how plans should be designed, exercised, evaluated, and refined. You have decided to choose a subject-specific plan rather than the county’s broader emergency operations plan. You will select your illustrative plan from those pertaining specially to pandemic influenza preparedness, information sharing, critical infrastructure identification and protection, or continuity of operations. In simulating your county’s plan, consider it potentially inadequate, having never been tested or refined, and being at least seven years old.

For your assignment, using any program or media resource(s), you will prepare a formal presentation (complete with extensive notes) that educates and trains your county EM colleagues. Complete the following steps:

  • Choose one of the types of plans listed above; describe what this type of plan is intended to do in contributing to the county’s preparedness. (You will need to research these types of plans independently if you are unfamiliar with them.)
  • Communicate the status of this plan. This will require some imagination as you depict a hypothetical state for it; make the plan as strong or weak as you desire, but be clear in your presentation and notes as to how you assessed the plan and why you selected it for a priority for testing or revision.
  • Fully explain the preparedness cycle to your teammates.
  • Design a model (or employ an existing version) creating or using a picture, graphic, representation, etc., to illustrate the cycle.
  • Explain what capabilities and activities each stage in the cycle promotes to contribute to the overall effectiveness of all plans.
  • Explain what capabilities and activities each stage in the cycle promotes to contribute to the overall effectiveness of this particular plan—be specific (e.g., consider how activities that are promoted by the cycle’s stages might differ for critical infrastructure protection vs. pandemic influenza planning).
  • Describe in detail at least three important facets for designing a valid and relevant exercise.
  • Explain the importance of these facets for any and all planning.
  • Directly relate these facets to testing or improving the plan you have reviewed.
  • Choose and describe at least five important stakeholders or partners with whom county EM planners should work.
  • State who they are and why are they important, especially in developing, exercising, evaluating, and refining this plan.
    • Make at least one of these prospective partners a private sector representative (real or notional).
  • Provide recommendations for ways the county should draw these stakeholders into contributing to the preparedness cycle’s activities.
    • What incentives might the county specifically offer each partner to elicit enthused collaboration?
    • What capabilities might the county expect each partner to bring to bear?
    • Suggest ways in which each partner could be integrated into an exercise for this specific plan.
  • Prepare final recommendations for a way ahead, focusing the county on those steps to be undertaken to eventually result in a validated plan.

Improving Emergency Management from Disasters – Hurricanes Sandy And Katrina And 9/11

Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina and 9/11 were disasters of massive proportions. But what was more disastrous, especially for the latter two, was the emergency response. The silver lining is that lessons were learnt, with some of it being implemented in 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. The cascaded lessons means the United States is prepared better than ever before to deal with any disaster of a similar scale.

Hurricane Katrina lashed the gulf coast of New Orleans on August 2005. It unearthed serious deficiencies in the country’s emergency response. This was not only in the immediate aftermath but also in the long-term recovery of the city’s community.

After 9/11, the emergency response was upgraded to be top-notch. But then it was upgraded with a focus on dealing with terrorism. Emergency response to climate effects remained unconsidered. Until at least Hurricane Katrina and consequently Hurricane Sandy came along.

Hurricane Katrina exposed poor workmanship and planning for emergency situations in such massive situations. Katrina is among the five deadliest hurricanes to hit the United States and the costliest of all. Its effects were worse than its major predecessor Hurricane Camille of 1969, despite the latter making landfall at Category 5 as opposed to Katrina that made landfall at Category 3. This is because the levees and surge suppression systems were inadequate, especially among the most vulnerable groups.

There is now better infrastructure and planning for such disasters; for the immediate aftermath and for the long term. There are now review boards to check the workmanship and tabletop exercises. In the long-term, better buildings and infrastructure have been constructed in New Orleans while there are fortified skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan. Whether the long-term effect of this on the local community is desirable is another matter.

Hurricane Katrina also exposed lack of leadership in a major climatic crisis. The training of the emergency respondents was lacking. The National Incident Management System (NIMS), the template on how to lead and implement crisis operations,could not cope despite its success in such areas as hospitals, terrorism situations and earthquakes. Consequently, there was lack of proper coordination among various responders, with the nominal procedures not being applied effectively. For example, there were clashes between the city and the state, respectively featuring the mayor and the governor. This led to hesitant decision-making that was deadly and costly. Various officials later took responsibility by resigning.

This is unlike Hurricane Sandy where necessary responses were improvised by both the public and private sectors. There was coordination in the immediate response to save lives and minimize costs, with various New York-based media organizations, American Red Cross and even the Senate playing a crucial part. This included in assisted evacuation, sheltering as well as restoring and upgrading infrastructure.

Better organizational structures were in place; with FEMA (Federal Environmental Management Authority) being more empowered to deal with coordination of emergency responsesthat are on a massive scale unlike the bottom-up approach in less severe situationswhere local authorities are more responsible. Hurricane Katrina needed responders from different jurisdictions to deal with many vulnerable people and widespread damage.  These responders perform different tasks yet need to collaborate for enhanced efficacy in their varied operations.  This needs effective coordination of the people, equipment and organizations from the diverse backgrounds.  This scaling up and surge in capacity after Hurricane Sandy was coordinated by FEMA, with various private and public organizations playing a role. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg led efforts to raise huge funds for the initiatives.

A major difference in emergency responders between New Orleans and New York is watch groups. While there were hardly any watch groups during designing and implementation of recovery efforts in New Orleans, New York saw watch groups for various policy causes including climate, the poor and governance.

There are long-term concerns evident in both Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. These include gentrification in urban areas and subsequent displacement of the poor. Hurricane Katrina led to closure of most of public housing in New Orleans to adopt mixed-income and voucher systems. The city also rebranded to attract a younger urban citizenry. New York also changed as a result of Hurricane Sandy, with Lower Manhattan often cited as a prime example of upgrading and displacement of the working class.

There have been major steps in emergency response management over the years. Human-made and natural disasters have streamlined responses to various situations.  Massive disasters caused by the two most recent devastating hurricanes, Katrina and Sandy, have subsequently led to better disaster preparedness with improved leadership, planning and responsibility. More resources have been allocated to emergency response management with the private sector becoming increasingly involved. Better training and coordination is hastened by modern technology.

Nonetheless, long-term recovery strategies need to be fine-tuned to minimize effects on communities. More tabletop exercises involving possible vulnerable groups are also recommended.

The Emergency Management Plan for the Hurricane Katrina

The occurrence of Hurricane Katrina on August 25, 2005, became the most destructive natural disaster in the history of America. The Hurricane Katrina’s high winds and storm surge resulted to a devastating loss of life and substantial damage on property in Louisiana and Mississippi (Henningfeld, 2010). Within the city of New Orleans a number of branches of the levee system compounded losses. There was significant losses in Alabama too as a result of the Hurricane Katrina.

This paper give a review of how the incident management principles would be applied to the Hurricane Katrina emergency. That is, looking into the measures that would have applied to the emergency with respect to aspects of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery for effective decision making during the disaster.


The mitigation efforts with respect to the occurrence of the Hurricane Katrina was an inevitable aspect in order to ensure that there was prevention of the hazards that could develop into disasters all together or ensure measure that could possibly reduce the effects of the storm when it occurs. This emergency management plan phase of the Katrina could have put long-term measures for elimination and reduction of the risk that such disaster could pose (Larsen, 2013). The federal government, the state’s agencies on emergency operations, non-profit organizations among other key stakeholders in national emergency programs should have ensured that as long as the occurence was a natural disaster but its impacts could have been reduced. This reduction could have taken the forms:

  • Initiating policies to ensure thorough consultation of “Home Builder’s Guide to Coastal Construction” when one builds a home.
  • Reinforcing the laminated beams along the ceiling thus enhancing home’s structural integrity and ascertaining the roof’s anchoring capability
  • Safe rooms in the middle of the houses, stocked with the emergency essentials.


The occurrence of Hurricane Katrina showed the criticality of the need to put in place a pre-positioning commodities and emergency management personnel(Etats, 2006). The National hurricane Center had tracked the Hurricane Katrina in its course of gaining intensity and had crossed the Gulf of Mexico, and the center issued numerous dire warnings with respect to its severity.

The indication of the Katrina’ track shifting towards southeast New Orleans and Louisiana, where landfall was expected as a Category 4 should have made the storm and storm advisories be monitoredby the Hurricane Liaison Team and the National Hurricane Center.

As the storm was being monitored a further tracking of storm and preparations to coordinate the response was to be conducted in the most efficient manner by the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) and the Regional Response Coordination Centers (RRCC). Additionally, the RRCCs, NRCC, and the Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) could have activated all their Emergency Support Functions (ESFs) besides putting into place the Defense Coordinating Officer- which is a military liaison specialized in NRP.


With the emergency condition of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, there was need for responding to the calamity in a life-saving and life sustaining efforts and measures to rescue the victims as argued by Larsen (2013). A further Rapid Need Assessment Groups had to conduct an immediate damage assessment ion the damage areas. A good part of the affected states and areas had bridges and roads destroyed, making water or air the only means that could be used to reach the stranded victims, deploy emergency management response personnel, and undertake initial damage assessments (United States,& United States, 2006).

The destruction of the communications infrastructure- cell phone, phone lines, satellite and radio antennae, and phone towers significantly had an impact on the ability of the emergency response team to get operational and situational information to the state and the federal personnel beyond the affected areas. This called for acquisition by the emergency response teams, mobile communication gadgets to facilitate the communication process from one end to the other.

The Recovery

There is need by the government and other stakeholders to put primary programs in assistance of the individuals and the different states recover from the effects of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The households or the individuals needed to receive some money as could be calculated adequate in form of Individual and Household program (IHP) assistance (United States, & Mitigation Assessment Team (United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency), 2006). This program should be rolled in a strategic and systematic manner in which in encompasses a two facets grip of housing assistance and other needs assistance.

The recovery measure of the housing assistance should be 100% federally administered and funded, therein providing assistance for home repairs, temporary rental lodging, and home replacement. The other needs assistance should have been a cost sharing initiative among those agencies I rescue of the situation and the respective states. The program could have encompassed the assistance with the reimbursement of dental and medical costs, transportation, funeral and burial costs, and even personal property items.

The public assistance program could have provided for the supplemental federal disaster grants for the replacement, restoration, or the repair of the disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and those other facilities of particular private non-profit organizations (Etats, 2006). Moreover, the program should ensure reimbursement on eligible emergency related activities, for example removal of debris and emergency protective measures.

Rationale for the approach

The devastating outcome of the Hurricane Katrina on property, people’s lives in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Orleans was unimaginable. There was need for an effective emergency management plan in place to help not necessarily eliminate the disaster but to reduce its impact. This could have majorly utilized the mitigation phase of this research paper. Even though a timely and appropriateness in respect to the preparedness, response and recovery on such a natural disaster would have saved the situation in a greater degree.

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Response To Hurricane Katrina Case Studies

Read both Hurricane Katrina case studies, found in the resources below, before responding. The advance preparations taken by New Orleans, the state of Louisiana, and the federal government proved inadequate to meet the full challenges of Hurricane Katrina. To the extent that these preparations could have been improved, what steps should have been taken?

Paper Submission Requirements:

  • Your response should be 4 pages in length (double-spaced).
  • The paper must include a “reference page” not included in the 4-page minimum.
  • Use APA format.

Hurricane Katrina Disaster Evaluation

Evaluate and prepare an analysis of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina that includes the following:

  • A brief summary of each disaster
  • A detailed description of at least three psychological symptoms victims experienced from each disaster
  • An explanation of at least three resources available to treat and assist victims from each disaster (e.g., local, state, federal, and/or non-profit organizational resources. Did the Red Cross or FEMA provide resources to victims to aid in their recovery?)
  • An analysis of the long term affects these disasters have had on victims and rescue workers’ mental health and overall well-being
  • A description of how the trauma from these disasters have affected children
  • A brief explanation the role the media played in either agitating the psychological symptoms victims experienced from these disasters or helping to reduce the symptoms

All sources must be properly cited and must be formatted according to APA style.


Must be a minimum of ten (10) double-spaced pages in length (excluding the title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved style guide.


  • Must use a minimum of five (5) resources
  • Must address the items found in Final Paper guidelines.
  • Must include an introductory paragraph with a succinct thesis statement.
  • Must conclude with a restatement of the thesis and a conclusion paragraph.
  • Must use APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved APA style guide to document all sources.
  • Must include a Reference Page that is completed according to APA (6th ed.) style as outlined in the approved APA style guide.