The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the United States agency in the Department of Homeland Security which was created to assist in the preparedness and quick response to the disastrous situation in the country. The agency mission is to be the first responders and to support the public in ensuring that the country works together to improve, sustain, and build its ability to recover from, prepare for, respond to, protect against and mitigate all threats. FEMA is a federal agency that is obligated to support countries or tribal region to handle large disasters that are beyond their resources. FEMA functionality is highly informed by the Stafford Act that dictates of the procedural actions that need to be followed before a chief or a governor considers asking for federal disaster assistance. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of FEMA in its disaster management missions.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Effectiveness
FEMA only intervene in disaster management process on request, after the local government and other non-governmental organizations in a region are unable to handle the situation due to limited resources. Before their intervention, FEMA sends its representative in the region to assess the situation and brief the team on the situation. The representative must be accompanied by a local official who is more familiar with the region. The collected information assist FEMA in assessing if the situation needs its intervention and in what program FEMA should contribute in. In case the report acknowledges higher destruction of residential properties, FEMA helps under the program of Individual Assistance (McCarthy & Brown, 2015). In case infrastructures are more damaged than individual properties, FEMA offers help under Public Assistance (PA). However, if both aspects are highly affected then assistance is provided under both PA and IA. This procedure demonstrates FEMA effectiveness in ensuring that its resources are only provided to those who deserve it.
FEMA also plays a great role in encouraging local governments in developing their own mechanism to handle disaster. FEMA only intervene when the local government is exhausted. Meaning, it spears its resources for deserving situations (FEMA.gov, 2015). The assessing of the situation focuses on ensuring that the best program is used or that the society benefits in the best way possible in restoring its face. This ensures that people do not take advantage of the situation to acquire more than they had from the government. By so doing FEMA increases its level of accountability and effectiveness. FEMA also organizes for Hazard Mitigation Assistance to lower the future disaster damage threats. This plays a great role in reducing chances for severe disaster related damages in the future either from the same kind of the disaster or another possible disaster in the region. By so doing FEMA reduces chances of wasting more resources in handing preventable situation in the future and subjecting the society into psychological traumas that can be prevented.
FEMA is always guided by a certain protocol while offering the needed assistance. It always acknowledges local authority and other department or agency responsible for a region or the area affected by the disaster while intervening. For instance, while offering Fire Management Assistance Grants, to manage wildfire, FEMA negotiates with the tribal or state forestry department, regional office of FEMA, and the U.S. Forest Services. This simply means that FEMA only releases its resources after consulting all stakeholders and after developing a workable, viable and deserving framework on how to handle the situation. This ensures a high level of accountability, effective implementation of intervention plan without interference, and hence high level of efficiency in its disaster management involvements.
In its operational structure, FEMA works with appointed Federal Coordinator Officers (FCOs) who are appointed by the Regional Administrator, FEMA Administrator or the President, responsible of coordination state federal resources (McCarthy & Brown, 2015). Each state has its own officers. This means that, it is easy to follow the required protocol and to attend to the disaster management issues with the urgency it deserves. This operational hierarchical ensures that FEMA has individual on the ground that can assess the situation very fast and give the required report for quick response. To ensure accuracy and transparency, these officers are normally accompanied by other local or tribal officials, Regional Red Cross officials, and other people who understand the area (McCarthy & Brown, 2015). All those who assess the situation are required to make a report, and hence a consensus must be reached. This eliminates possible exaggerations, and inaccurate claims that would make non-eligible situation eligible falsely. This increases transparency and accountability in provision of disaster management resources from the Federal government.
FEMA main duty is to provide funds that would be channeled to handle a disastrous situation based on assessment. However, this is not its only mandate in handling disaster. FEMA through its administrator also has the ability to direct other federal agencies without or with reimbursement, to use their resources and authorities offered to them under the Federal law to assist in local and state recovery and response efforts, which include precautionary evacuation. Thus FEMA can enhance the provision of extra supplies, equipment, technical, personnel, facilities, and advisory, technical, and managerial services to ease the situation. This means FEMA intervention act as a guarantee that those affected will receive all round assistance including medical and psychological intervention. FEMA has always been comprehensive in its intervention measures (FEMA.gov, 2015). This shows its high level of preparedness in handling disasters in the country, despite their magnitude.
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