Emergency Management Stakeholders paper


Emergency Management Stakeholders

This chapter will introduce the many actors in emergency management and examine some of the problems inherent in dealing with the complex emergency management policy process. The first section will address four basic issues. First, how is a “stakeholder” defined, especially in the context of emergency management? Second, who are the stakeholders emergency managers should be concerned about? Third, at what level in the system and by which different stakeholders are different types of emergency management decisions made? Fourth, how can emergency managers involve these stakeholders in the emergency management process? Last, what types and amounts of power do different stakeholder groups have and how do they influence the emergency management policy process?

Definition of a “Stakeholder”

Stakeholders are people who have, or think they have, a personal interest in the outcome of a policy. This interest motivates them to attempt to influence the development of that policy. In the early days of this country, only citizens with a sufficiently large “stake” in the nation’s welfare (as measured by property holdings) were allowed to vote. Now, all citizens are recognized as stakeholders insofar as all are affected by the decisions made by elected and appointed officials and, therefore, have the right to vote. Consequently, an emergency management stakeholder is an individual who is affected by the decisions made (or not made) by emergency managers and policymakers in his or her community. Since all citizens are likely to be affected by emergency management policies, this definition implies all citizens are emergency management stakeholders. Although this is true, it is not very helpful because stakeholders differ in the ways they are affected by emergency management policies and, even more important, they differ in the times at which they are affected and the magnitude of the impacts policy has on them. It is not enough, however, to say that everyone is potentially affected by disasters. Thus, this chapter will examine the different types of people who have an interest in the emergency management process, beginning at the simplest level of social organization.

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Community Stakeholder Groups

Community stakeholder groups can be divided into three different categories—social groups, economic groups, and political groups. In turn, each of these types of groups can be characterized by its horizontal and vertical linkages (Berke, Kartez & Wenger, 1993). Horizontal linkages are defined by the frequency and importance of contacts with other groups of the same type; vertical linkages consist of ties with larger groups. Each of the three types of groups will be discussed in the following sections.

Social Groups

It is sometimes said local government is the foundation for emergency management but, in fact, the basic organizational unit for emergency management is the household. Households adopt hazard adjustments (especially mitigation and preparedness measures), households evacuate, and households suffer economic losses. All households, no matter their size or level of resources, have an interest in the emergency management policies developed and implemented in their communities. The household is the primary living unit providing shelter from routine environmental conditions. Households’ actions affect their vulnerability to environmental hazards through their choice to live in more or less hazard-prone locations; to rent or buy residences that are more or less resistant to environmental extremes of wind, water, and ground-shaking; and whether or not to engage in pre-impact adjustments to limit their disaster vulnerability. As a group, households control a substantial amount of the social assets (buildings and their contents) at risk from environmental hazards, but this control is spread among a very large number of households, which makes it difficult to affect their policy choices. Although households typically attach a low priority to natural hazards, there is substantial variation, with some substantially more aware than others of the hazards they face.

Households vary in their incentives to prepare for disasters and to adopt hazard mitigation. For example, property owners have more money at risk than tenants because they own the structures as well as the contents of these structures. Households also vary in their capacity to select and implement appropriate hazard adjustments because of differences in their financial resources, their knowledge of hazards and adjustments, and the decision processes they use to apply this knowledge. Other stakeholders such as the local and state governments have a modest degree of influence over households. Government agencies often provide hazard information and sometimes provide incentives for adopting hazard adjustments, but are rarely able to compel households to do anything about hazards.

Just as citizens organize to better develop their understanding of issues and increase their power to present these views to the rest of the public, householders can organize as groups to develop emergency management policy in their neighborhoods. One of the most obvious gaps in the picture of stakeholders is the lack of a broad-based support group for individual householders, analogous to the Neighborhood Watch programs that exist across the country. In some communities, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) are beginning to fill this role. CERTs may also be known as Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, Neighborhood Emergency Assistance Teams, or other similar designations, but they share a common origin and many other characteristics (Simpson, 2001). CERTs are designed to train first responders at the neighborhood level and organize them in groups capable of providing basic emergency response services such as triage, first aid, urban search and rescue, fire suppression, and damage and casualty estimates at the block or neighborhood level. These groups are usually supported and trained by local emergency service agencies. As they become institutionalized, they can serve as a support group and interest aggregator for householders (for more information, see the FEMA Web site at training.fema.gov/emiweb/CERT/index.asp).

As we move up the scale of social organization, there are private sector groups such as religious organizations and other nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), nonprofit organizations (NPOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and businesses. All of these groups vary widely in size, level of organizational complexity, and amount of resources available. They also vary based on the functions they perform in society and, thus, varying levels of interest in local emergency management activities. Nonetheless, all are potential partners in formulating emergency management practices and policies. NGOs, NPOs, and CBOs can be important resources for emergency managers. Some have traditionally played key roles in specific phases of emergency management. For example, churches are often used as shelters during evacuations and frequently help provide recovery funding. They should be integrated into the early stages of response and recovery planning processes in order to ensure their resources are fully utilized without unnecessary duplication of effort and competition for access to disaster victims.

Large scale NGOs organized at the national level also have historically played a role in emergency management. The Salvation Army is widely involved in response and recovery activities and organizations such as the United Way serve to channel local funds to those needing help during the recovery period. The American Red Cross, an affiliate of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has an official role in this country as the provider of emergency shelter.

Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club (www.sierraclub.org) and the Worldwatch Institute (www.worldwatch.org) have not been very involved with local emergency management agencies, in spite of the conceptual overlap between environmental protection and hazard mitigation. This commonality of interests presents an opportunity for local emergency managers to forge alliances with environmental groups at the local level to foster sound land use practices, especially for the mitigation of floods through comprehensive watershed management. Environmental organizations have also published many books that are useful to emergency managers (e.g., Abramowitz, 2001a; Bullard, 1996; Flavin, 1994; Sierra Club, 2000).

Economic Groups

As households are the basic units in the hierarchy of social stakeholders, so too are businesses the fundamental units in the hierarchy of economic stakeholders. Businesses are important stakeholders because they are part of the societal institution that organizes the flow of goods and services. Destruction, damage, or even interruption of business activities can have significant adverse effects on the local economy and, in smaller countries, even on the regional or even national economy. Business owners control their resources in the same way as householders and, thus, can make the same sort of choices about how to react to hazards. Unlike households—which rarely exceed more than a half dozen persons in number—businesses range in size from small “mom and pops” that are the same size as families to large multinational corporations employing tens or even hundreds of thousands of people. Such businesses have varying levels of needs and resources to offer the emergency manager. Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to disruption following disasters but are likely to be deeply embedded within the community and so are likely to respond favorably to appeals for assistance. Large corporations may have a large amount of resources in terms of personnel and even money, but local managers may have little discretion over how those resources can be used in the local emergency management process.

An especially important type of business that is a stakeholder in emergency management is the public utility provider, whether privately or publicly owned. These include the providers of electricity, water, sewer services, solid waste management, and communications such as telephone, television, and Internet access. Such businesses have been active in emergency management because they are responsible for rapid restoration of basic services to all their customers. All other stakeholders depend on these important service providers to quickly restore all the vital services so business interruption is minimized, household functioning is restored, government functions during the critical period, and health care is not interrupted at a peak demand period.

Businesses rarely react favorably to outside restrictions on their decisionmaking discretion, so it can be difficult to influence managers to adopt mitigation measures. Instead, like the rest of American society, business organizations have preferred to focus on response and recovery and, to a lesser extent, preparedness. Nonetheless, some active supporters of emergency management are beginning to emerge from the business community as the costs of disasters continue to rise. The insurance industry, in particular, has fostered a new emphasis on mitigation through organizations such as the Institute for Business and Home Safety (www.ibhs.org). Some real estate developers, bankers, home improvement retailers, and other businesses have also become active stakeholders in local emergency management.

The most useful concept for increasing the business community’s interest in local emergency management has been business interruption. Once businesses realize the enormous potential costs of a failure in infrastructure systems, many began to take emergency preparedness very seriously. The key is to encourage businesses at the local level to understand the importance of their linkages to suppliers, customers, and employees as well as their dependence on a functioning infrastructure system (Lindell & Prater, 2003). If any of these relationships is disrupted by a disaster, businesses can suffer serious economic losses, even if their own facilities are undamaged. For example, employees who lose their housing might move away, customers might need to spend discretionary income on home repair, and suppliers might have their own difficulties with their physical plants, infrastructure, or supply chains. As business managers begin to understand the importance of this web of connections to the health of their businesses, they are likely to become more supportive of emergency management goals. This linkage was fostered by the “partnership model” that was promoted by FEMA’s Project Impact initiative that many cities began experimenting with during the 1990s. Project Impact’s model of involving the business community more directly in hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness met with great success in Tulsa and Seattle, as well as in other cities around the country. The suspension of federal funding has slowed the spread of the Project Impact model, but the success of this program makes it a valuable method for emergency managers to develop a more cooperative relationship with their local business communities.

One particular set of businesses—the news media—is especially important to the success of emergency management programs because their coverage of all phases of emergency management can be an important way to educate the public about hazards that might strike the community, not just to inform them of an imminent disaster. The news media can provide vicarious experience for those who have not had direct experience with such events. One well-documented problem is the news media’s tendency to perpetuate disaster myths rather than provide accurate information (Perry & Lindell, 1990). The news media are both consumers and creators of news. They consume “hard news” about environmental incidents and the responses to those incidents by describing the course of events and reporting the views of different stakeholders. They can also help to create “soft news” by describing the results of hazard/vulnerability analyses and the activities of planning organizations. This “soft news” can help to build support for emergency management even when there is no “hard news” about disasters, so emergency managers should get to know their local news media outlets and cultivate positive relationships with key personnel such as reporters, news anchors, editors, and producers.

Political Groups

Finally, there are various types of governmental stakeholders. Beginning at the base, we have the lowest level of organization, the municipality (i.e., town or city) and, just above this, the county. These jurisdictions have varying levels of power from one state to another because states differ in the powers that they grant to their political subdivisions. Much emergency management policy is set at the state level, and the federal government has traditionally been seen as a supporter to local and state efforts. The US Conference of Mayors (www.usmayors.org) and the National Governors’ Association (www.nga.org) have both taken lead roles in lobbying for increased attention to and funding for hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness at the national level (National Governors’ Association, 2001, 2002).

In addition to the different levels of government, there are different agencies within each level of government. These agencies vary widely on the dimensions of size, organizational complexity, and amount of human, financial, and technical resources. Different governmental levels perform analogous and complementary roles, but agencies within each level of government differ in their functions. For example, at the local level of government, the agencies most involved with emergency management are the fire and police departments, which are the first agencies to respond to most emergencies. In many jurisdictions, the emergency management function is attached to one of these departments, but in larger communities it frequently is an independent agency. In some communities, there is a separate emergency medical services agency, but often this function is provided by the fire department working together with local hospitals and ambulance companies. Public works departments or engineering departments, transportation departments, and land use planning and community development departments are important stakeholders in the mitigation process, and also have responsibilities during response and recovery phases. Public health departments and housing departments also have important emergency management functions. Making matters even more complex, most members of these agencies belong to professional associations that lobby for disaster-relevant legislation.

Regional and state-level stakeholder agencies include metropolitan planning organizations/councils of government, flood control districts, and coastal zone agencies, geological services agencies, and soil conservation agencies. The most important stakeholders are the state emergency management agencies, which vary widely in their levels of expertise, staffing, budgets, and other organizational resources. Nonetheless, these are the agencies that provide the major direction for local emergency managers, interact with state legislatures to provide the legal framework within which local emergency managers work, and serve to link local governments with FEMA regional offices.

Academics specializing in specific hazards (e.g., seismologists, vulcanologists, meteorologists, toxicologists) and mitigation measures (land-use planners, structural engineers, and architects) and hazard/disaster researchers (economists, geographers, political scientists, psychologists, and sociologists) form another important stakeholder group. They provide the basic scientific knowledge base on which sound emergency management policies and practices are built. There are several important research centers around the country, some of which are technically oriented and focus on one type of hazard (Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering, Mid America Earthquake Center, Pacific Earthquake Engineering Center, Earthquake Engineering Research Institute), others of which study all hazards and are multidisciplinary or focus on the social impacts of disasters (Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware, Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado, Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center at Texas A&M University, and International Hurricane Center at Florida International University). These academic institutions are supplemented by a growing group of consultants and providers of goods and services tailored to the needs of emergency management.

At the national level, FEMA was until recently the lead agency for emergency management. With the signing of the Homeland Security Act (HS Act) in November of 2002, the United States undertook a significant restructuring of emergency management that is in its early stages. According to the HS Act, FEMA has been absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security, and its responsibilities fall to an Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response. Other under secretaries cover Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection; Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Countermeasures; Border and Transportation Security; and Management. The Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response concentrates on preparedness and response in general, with particular attention to the Nuclear Incident Response Team, coordination, and development of improved communications systems. The Under Secretary is also responsible for aiding in recovery from “terrorist attacks and major disasters”. Mitigation is not mentioned in the authorizing legislation, but the analysis provided by the Executive Branch states that “the specification of primary responsibilities in this section does not detract from other important functions that will be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security…In all areas, the bill fully preserves the authority to carry out the functions of the FEMA, including support for community initiatives that promote homeland security, such as the Citizen Corps” (HS Act, p.7).

As part of this restructuring mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-5, the Federal Response Plan has been replaced by the National Response Plan (NRP). The foundation for the NRP is the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS attempts to standardize terminology, standards, and procedures at the national level in order to maximize the effectiveness of response to the very largest disasters or Incidents of National Significance. The NRP and NIMS must be adopted by all federal departments and agencies and by state and local organizations by FY 2005. After this date, no federal preparedness assistance is to be provided to jurisdictions that have failed to adopt the NIMS. Private sector organizations are encouraged to develop emergency response plans that include information-sharing and incident-reporting protocols that fit in with local, state, and federal response plans.

The NRP includes Planning Assumptions, Roles and Responsibilities, Concept of Operations, and Incident Management Actions as well as a complete set of Emergency Support Function (ESF) Annexes, Support Annexes, and Incident Annexes. These annexes lay out the responsibilities of various federal agencies in the NRP and are organized both by function and by incident type.

The first of NIMS’s basic components is Command and Management—which includes the ICS for internal management during an incident, Multiagency Coordination Systems for defining operations of various agencies that respond through mutual aid agreements, and Public Information Systems for communicating critical information quickly and accurately to the public. The Preparedness component includes Planning, Training, Exercises; Personnel Qualification and Certification; Equipment Acquisition and Certification; Mutual Aid Agreements; and Publications Management. The third component is Resource Management, which defines standardized resource description, inventory, mobilization, dispatch, and tracking mechanisms. Finally, the Communications and Information Management component covers Incident Management Communications, Information Management, Supporting Technologies, and Ongoing Management and Maintenance.

FEMA is not the only national-level stakeholder to be considered, however. Other federal level agencies with major disaster responsibilities include the US Geological Survey, Army Corps of Engineers, National Weather Service, and the research support responsibilities of the National Science Foundation. Some federal agencies perform basic research, other agencies support basic research, and still other agencies provide services and knowledge for the use of state and local governments, businesses, and the public. Many if not most of these are included in the National Response Plan. Both the NRP and the NIMS are summarized in the appendix to this chapter and are described in more detail online (www.dhs.gov).

Decision Levels

Emergency managers must familiarize themselves with the different types of stakeholders in their communities. The roles of stakeholders in the emergency management process can be understood by examining the levels at which different types of decisions are made. For example, decisions about the level of preparedness for each individual household are made at the household level, and emergency managers can support good mitigation and preparedness practices by undertaking public education efforts and enhancing local government support for organizations such as CERTs.

Decisions about the level of attention and resources devoted to local emergency management are made by local government. Each emergency strikes a specific locality and so, in the United States, all emergency management is based on local government institutions and agencies. Agencies from outside the community, such as state emergency management agencies and FEMA, have a great deal of influence on local emergency management policies and practices. However, the emergency management process is fundamentally a local issue. Cities control their own emergency responders (primarily fire, police, EMS) and these groups must compete for resources with other local needs such as schools and roads.

In the United States, land use practices such as zoning ordinances and building codes are also established at the local level, but state governments create the context within which local governments work. This legal authority means legislation covering the powers of the city and county governments originates at the state level. For example, some states require local jurisdictions to engage in land use planning whereas other states do not (Burby, 1998). Moreover, states vary in the degree to which they support local emergency managers with technical resources and monetary aid for specific needs. Notwithstanding the important contextual role played by the states, it is local governments that are empowered to control land use for the public good. Consequently, local governments make the decisions about specific land use controls as they undertake land use planning and zoning programs. In addition, local governments adopt building codes that establish requirements for hazard resistance, especially for wind and seismic hazards. Local government also makes decisions about levels of staffing and resources for local emergency responders (fire, police, EMS).

Public works departments or their equivalents, transportation departments, water conservation districts, and other local or regional bodies make and implement policies that affect emergency management. In some cases, such as Harris County Texas where the city of Houston is located, regional emergency management has merged with the transportation and police to form joint EOC operations that integrate many functions.

In addition to local governments, state governments have a number of important emergency management functions. For instance, in the case of a major disaster, a local government would request aid from its state emergency management agency (SEMA). In turn, the SEMA can call upon other state agencies, not least of which is the agency administering that state’s National Guard units. The latter are invaluable in many disasters because of their communication and transportation equipment, as well as their trained personnel.

If a state believes it needs more resources than are available, it can request a Presidential Disaster Declaration in order to have access to federal assistance. Most, but not all, requests for Presidential Disaster Declaration are approved. Disapprovals occur when FEMA disagrees that local and state resources have been exceeded. Between the passage of the Stafford Act in 1988 and 1998, only about one-fourth of the requests for a Presidential Disaster Declaration were denied (Sylves, 1998). The federal government has attempted to implement an objective set of criteria for deciding whether to issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration, but the process still includes many subjective decision points, and political considerations have affected the declaration process.

Stakeholders and Power

The first section of this chapter noted that stakeholders vary in the types and amounts of resources they bring to the emergency management process. One of the greatest differences is in the power different stakeholders have to influence others’ behavior and, thus, alter emergency management policy. More specifically, organizational theorists have described six types or bases of power—reward, coercive, legitimate, expert, referent, and information power (French & Raven, 1959, Raven, 1965). These different forms of power can be distinguished on the basis of social dependence and the need for surveillance to maintain the target’s desired behavior. The most familiar bases of power (reward and coercive) rest on the power holder’s ability to impose upon the target additional positive or negative consequences that are extrinsic to the action itself. These consequences may be tangible (money) or intangible (social acceptance). Both reward and coercive power are socially dependent because they require continuing surveillance to be effective. Such surveillance can make them very (sometimes prohibitively) costly to implement. Moreover, coercive power generally elicits hostility and often can be subverted by noncompliance and active deception. Indeed, it is the low likelihood of detection that causes people to violate the speed limit except when they see police cars. It also explains the failure of lower levels of government to implement mandates, such as NIMS compliance, imposed by higher levels of government.

Legitimate, expert, and referent power bases are somewhat more attractive because they involve little surveillance. However, they are socially dependent in that they are specific to a given source. Legitimate power arises from one’s role relationship to another and can come from a formal social position (e.g., city mayor) or from an informal relationship derived from norms of reciprocity, equity, or helplessness. By contrast, expert power stems from an individual’s breadth and depth of knowledge in a particular domain (e.g., a physician). Referent power is based upon the target’s identification with (or desire to identify with) the power holder; the target uses the power holder as a reference point.

According to Burnstein and Vinokur (1977), information power involves valid, novel, and relevant facts or arguments. Information power can be wielded either by introducing or withholding information (Mechanic, 1963). Informational influence is, in many respects, the most effective basis of power because it is socially independent. That is, once comprehended, it is internalized and its source becomes inconsequential. As a result, no surveillance is required to maintain the target’s desired behavior. However, information power does require acceptance of another’s statements only after an independent examination of their underlying rationale. Thus, exercising information power can be quite time-consuming.

The existence of these multiple bases of power should make it clear that power operates in the upward (i.e., households to local government to states to federal government) as well as in the downward direction. Thus, households and businesses can exert upward influence through lawsuits, boycotts, public ridicule, and voter pressure that allows them to actively resist other stakeholders’ actions. This balance of power is the consequence of the federal political structure of the United States coupled with a market economy which produces a complex policy environment that is fragmented vertically (between different levels of government) and horizontally (between the private and public sectors and, within the latter, among agencies within a given community).

Figure 2-1, adapted from Lindell, et al. (1997), illustrates the relationships among stakeholders in emergency management. The core of the figure illustrates the conventional hierarchical relationships among federal, state, and local government, with solid arrows indicating the (downward) direction in which most power is exerted in the relationship. In addition, however, this figure shows the relationships of local government with neighborhoods/households and industries/businesses—who control most of the property at risk. It shows how information and influence flow from the bottom up as well as from the top down, and between groups of stakeholders. Relationships may be based on any of the six bases of power.

In addition to the influence government has over neighborhoods/households and industries/businesses, these stakeholders are also affected by social influentials (e.g., knowledgeable peers), who are in turn influenced by social associations (e.g., environmental organizations). They are also affected by economic influentials who, in turn, are influenced by industry associations (e.g., bankers, and insurers). Finally, local government and businesses are influenced by hazards practitioners who, in turn, are influenced by their professional associations. All of these stakeholders interact with the governmental system to promote their preferred definitions of, and solutions to, problems (Stallings, 1995). Thus, this figure indicates emergency management policy is a much more complex process than government mandates “trickling down” from the federal government. Rather, emergency management involves a complex web of interlinked bi-directional power relationships among stakeholders with widely differing characteristics. In addition to these vertical linkages, there are horizontal linkages among stakeholders within a jurisdiction and from one jurisdiction to another (e.g., from one municipality to another). As later chapters will indicate, these vertical and horizontal linkages provide communities with the resilience to respond to and recover from disasters (Berke, et al., 1993).

Figure 2-1. Power Relationships Among Emergency Management Stakeholders.                              











The predominant power base of a relationship might change over time, say from coercive power (e.g., mandates) to information power. The model also implies that stakeholders at the top of the diagram must mobilize the support of intermediate levels (especially local governmental agencies and elected officials) if anything is to be accomplished at the lower levels of the hierarchy. In the local government-households dyad, local government has more power. However, households do not lack power altogether. They can change local government through elections, subvert local policy through noncompliance, or appeal to higher authorities to change unpopular policies. Other policy dyads have similar dynamics, and other relationships, such as one between practitioners and state governments, can be hypothesized. The important point is that this is a complex, dynamic set of interlinked relationships that the emergency manager needs to understand.

The Emergency Management Policy Process

The basic policy process model, adapted from Anderson (1994), is presented in Table 2-1. This model, which presents five stages through which policies move, can be thought of as a systems model with a feedback loop that runs from policy evaluation back to agenda setting. Of course, the actual policy process is neither linear nor as neatly divided into discrete stages as the model. However, for purposes of analysis, it is useful to consider the various stages in turn, recognizing that they may run concurrently and the process is often cyclical in nature as feedback from policy evaluation is absorbed in the process.

Table 2-1. The Policy Process Model.

Policy Terminology Stage 1:



Stage 2:



Stage 3:



Stage 4:



Stage 5:



Definition of Policy Stage Establishing which problems will be considered by public officials Developing pertinent and acceptable proposed courses of action for dealing with a public problem Developing support for a specific proposal so that a policy can be legitimized or authorized Applying the policy by using government’s administrative machinery Determining whether the policy was effective and what adjustments are needed to achieve desired outcomes
Typical objective Getting the government to consider action on a problem Generating alternative solutions to the problem Getting the government to accept a particular solution to the problem Applying the government’s policy to the problem Evaluating effectiveness and identifying improvements

Agenda Setting

The model begins consideration of the policy process with setting the policy agenda. Many of the most difficult problems an emergency manager will face involve getting the public and public officials to pay attention to hazards. It is common to hear people say that emergency management is of no interest to politicians until a disaster happens. At that point it is too late to do much beyond the most basic reactive response to urgent needs. The time to think about disasters is well before they occur, so a skillful, adaptive response can be planned and tested through drills and exercises. Thus, the emergency manager’s first task is to place hazards on the political agenda in his or her jurisdiction.

There are at least three types of political agendas: the systemic, the governmental, and the institutional. The systemic agenda is the broadest; it refers to the set of policy issues that at any one time receive attention in the news media and so become a topic of conversation among the voters. The governmental agenda is the set of issues with which legislative bodies and executives are actually engaged at a particular time. The institutional agenda is the set of issues that various institutions are working on, and varies widely across organizations such as government agencies, business groups, local environmental groups, and the like. Agendas are unstable over time because public attention shifts from one issue to another as events occur, and the governmental and institutional agendas change as policymakers both respond to these shifts and attempt to shape them (Baumgartner & Jones, 1993).

Although preparedness for emergency response and disaster recovery is usually less controversial than hazard mitigation, there are two reasons why local governments prefer to avoid any discussion of the potential for disasters in their communities. First, many local governments and business elites feel that calling attention to the potential for disasters in their community may discourage investment or tourism. Hazard mitigation is especially controversial because developers frequently believe land use and building construction restrictions will reduce or eliminate their profits. Second, there are many problems that arise on a daily basis, such as education and crime, that directly compete with emergency management for attention and resources. Every year a new class of kindergartners enters the public school system, but a disaster does not strike every year, and we cannot predict with certainty when it will strike. It is thus easy for local officials to push emergency management to the back burner and trust to luck rather than develop sound emergency management practices.

There are various ways to get around this initial reluctance to place emergency management on the policy agenda. First, emergency managers can use the occurrence of a natural or technological disaster in another jurisdiction as a focusing event to draw public attention to the need for local disaster planning and hazard mitigation (Birkland, 1997; Lavell, 1994). The focus of public and official attention on a particular hazard for some period of time provides a window of opportunity for policy change (Kingdon, 1984). The problem for local emergency managers is to make use of this policy window while it is open, for it will not stay open forever. In fact, it is unknown how long such a policy window will stay open, or specifically what conditions will make it close. Nonetheless, Kingdon suggests policy windows sometimes close because of successful action on a problem or, alternatively, persistent failure to take any action. Alternatively, a policy window might close when another event occurs, shifting the systemic agenda on to other matters. A policy window might also close when key advocates for that policy leave, or are pushed out of, their positions in a policymaking body. Finally, policy windows might close if no possible course of action seems available.

Given these constraints, we have hypothesized a distribution of stakeholder opinions on hazard mitigation over time, shown in Table 2-2 below (adapted from Prater & Lindell, 2000). Beginning before the disaster, most people are indifferent or opposed to any attempts at addressing hazards. About six months after the disaster, about half might be in favor of some sort of action, but about half are still either neutral or opposed.

Table 2-2. Hypothetical Changes in Stakeholder Opinions.

Time (months) Strong Proponents Weak Proponents Neutrals Weak Opponents Strong opponents
t – 6 5% 20% 50% 20% 5%
t + 6 10% 40% 35% 10% 5%
t + 18 5% 25% 50% 15% 5%

Source: Prater and Lindell (2001).

By 18 months after the disaster, opinion might have shifted back to nearly the same state as before, with only a slight erosion of the numbers opposed to action and a corresponding slight rise in the number in favor of hazard mitigation actions. This hypothesized distribution might or might not accurately reflect the situation regarding emergency management policy in any particular community, but the important point is that support for emergency management is likely to increase in the short run after a disaster, but will almost certainly decay before long.

Because of the short amount of time available to effect policy change, individual actors must work in an aggressive, pro-active manner to set issues on the agenda and to keep them there. Such individuals are called policy entrepreneurs who act as advocates or champions for an issue. Policy entrepreneurs might be elected or appointed officials, local media personalities, educators, business owners, or interested citizens. Whoever they are, however, they will need three qualities in order to be successful. First, they need technical expertise in hazards, which can either be acquired through the traditional educational process or by self-education as the need arises. Second, they need to have or acquire the political expertise necessary for any successful policy change effort. Finally, they need a great deal of personal commitment because it is very difficult to enact any policy change, and it can sometimes take years to overcome opposition to new policies. Policy change is possible even if no single individual has all of these qualities because a group of individuals can be effective if they collectively have these traits.

The resulting window of opportunity will not be open for long (Prater & Lindell, 2000), so local emergency managers can act as policy entrepreneurs if they are prepared with at least some data on the hazards to which the community is exposed and on the vulnerability of specific populations in the community. With these data in hand, the emergency manager can make a case that such an event could indeed “happen here.” Second, the emergency manager should have clear ideas about sound emergency management policies that are relevant to the local situation and could be presented quickly for adoption by the local city council or other legislative body. The emergency manager should act in an entrepreneurial manner rather than passively producing plans according to a prescribed template and assuming that the community will follow his or her lead when an event occurs.

As in any policy debate, there are usually opposing interests that will be just as anxious to keep emergency management off the public agenda as emergency management professionals are to put it on (Bacharach & Baratz, 1962). This conflict of interests is especially true when it comes to emergency management policies. In some cases, there may be philosophical opposition to any governmental activity affecting private land use decisions. The property rights or “wise use” movement and the Supreme Court case of Lucas vs. South Carolina Coastal Council are examples of this attitude in action (Platt, 1998).

Emergency managers can play an important role in emergency management policy by supporting the hazard mitigation efforts of local planning and zoning commissions as they seek to expand the number of groups involved in the process. Since hazard mitigation, emergency response preparedness, and disaster recovery preparedness are meant to protect lives and property, it is possible to develop a strong coalition in favor of these practices when they are properly presented to the public. Such coalitions can be most effectively mobilized if issues are properly framed to maximize their appeal. The media have an important role in this process, particularly in the matter of issue framing—the words used to describe an issue. Issue framing can vary significantly depending on who is doing the talking. For many years, emergency management in the United States was framed in terms of the Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union. In the 1980s and 1990s, a shift in framing from civil defense to comprehensive emergency management occurred, which promoted an increased emphasis on natural hazards and technological accidents. Currently, the federal government is reframing emergency management in terms of terrorism, coining the phrase homeland security to describe the new frame of reference.

Another frame, used for discussing natural disasters, has been the term acts of God. This phrase implies a view of humanity as powerless victims of impersonal external forces and, thus, absolved from responsibility for avoiding disasters. The mass media are particularly prone to use this frame, showing pictures of suffering victims that reinforce the message. The rise of the sustainable development paradigm has fostered an increased acceptance of the idea that disasters are at least partly a result of vulnerability created by human choices and actions. This recognition of human responsibility, in turn, has raised the prominence of hazard mitigation on the governmental agenda.

Scholars have noted that political issues might not be defined immediately as political problems. Rather, they can exist as conditions for some time before the existence of feasible coping strategies moves them into the realm of public discussion as problems that are amenable to solutions (Rochefort & Cobb, 1994). Thus, the first stakeholder to frame an issue can seize a significant political advantage, especially if he or she is successful in linking a proposed policy with widely shared public values. As an example, consider the “wise use” and “property rights” movements, which have mobilized opposition to the regulation of private property for the public good by framing the issue as one of “taking”. Those who support land use regulation as a means of promoting hazard mitigation can offset the takings definition by reframing the issue in terms of the linkage to an alternative value. Thus, proponents of hazard mitigation could frame the issue of land use regulation as one of balancing property rights and responsibilities. Indeed, as will be discussed in Chapter 8, this is precisely what the Association of State Floodplain Managers has done with its No Adverse Impacts Strategy.

Policy Formulation

Emergency management policy entrepreneurs must have a set of policy proposals on hand before they attempt to shape the agenda. If not, they run the risk that policy makers will find the issue too overwhelming and ignore it on the assumption that “there is nothing we can do anyway”. As the reframing of an issue from a condition into a problem becomes increasingly widespread, different stakeholders will propose solutions (Anderson, 1994; Kingdon, 1984). During this stage, many policy alternatives are likely to emerge. This makes policy formulation a critical stage in the process because it is a more technically demanding activity than agenda setting. Drafting legislation is crucial to the success of a policy because laws or regulations that are hastily drafted and poorly worded can have negative effects on the policy’s implementation and eventual effectiveness.

The basis for any sound emergency management policy is a solid understanding of the community’s hazard exposure, its physical and social vulnerabilities, and its emergency management capabilities. As will be discussed in Chapter 6, hazard/vulnerability analysis provides a factual basis for policy formulation. Next, proposed policies must be developed with the local political context in mind. It is crucial to define clearly who are the targets of a policy (i.e., what types of households and businesses), what activities are to be regulated (e.g., land use practices and building construction practices), and what influence mechanisms are to be used (i.e., risk information, economic incentives, legal penalties, or a combination of these). With regard to the activities to be regulated, government has many alternatives. Land use policies can be used to avoid the construction of residential, commercial, or industrial structures in frequently flooded wetlands. Such wetlands serve important hazard mitigation functions by absorbing wave energy during hurricanes and retaining excess water during riverine floods. Alternatively, building construction policies can be used to ensure houses within floodplains are elevated, those near the coast have adequate wind resistance, and those near fault lines have seismic safety features. Moreover, emergency preparedness policies might be used to control lot sizes (thus limiting the population at risk in hazard-prone areas) or mandate the width of streets in subdivisions to provide access for emergency vehicles and egress for evacuees.

To achieve the desired land use, building construction, and emergency preparedness objectives, governments can use hazard awareness campaigns to make households and businesses aware of the risks they face and of suitable hazard adjustments for reducing their vulnerability. Hazard adjustments include all pre-impact actions—hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, and recovery preparedness (Burton, et al., 1993). Information campaigns relying on voluntary compliance tend to be politically acceptable, but few have been based upon contemporary scientific theories of social influence, and so these programs have had limited success to date (Lindell, et al., 1997). As will be discussed in Chapter 4, many hazard awareness programs provide very general information about physical hazards (e.g., what causes earthquakes) and sometimes describe what are the different hazard zones (in terms of either intensity, as is the case with hurricane risk areas, or frequency, as is the case with inland flood zones). However, few of them personalize the risk or describe appropriate hazard adjustments.

Alternatively, governments can motivate the adoption of hazard-resistant land use and building construction practices by providing economic incentives such as low interest loans or tax credits. Of course, the money for such incentives must come from somewhere and cash-strapped local jurisdictions may not be able to provide it. Finally, governments can require hazard-resistant land-use and construction practices as a condition for construction permits. Of course, verification of compliance requires on-site inspections, and the problems with such inspections are extremely well known (Lindell et al., 1997). Specifically, local jurisdictions experiencing budget difficulties frequently cut back funding for building inspectors, so those who remain on the job must process higher inspection workloads. In turn, this requires them to spend less time inspecting construction projects, which increases the likelihood of contractors successfully evading building code requirements and thereby cutting their construction costs.

More broadly, there is a significant degree of scholarly support for the idea that a combination of risk communication, land-use planning, building codes, and hazard insurance is an excellent way to address hazard vulnerability (Burby, 1998; Lindell & Perry, 2004) Whatever the combination selected, successful implementation requires the policy to be consistent with the community’s capacity (e.g., tax base, agency capabilities) and commitment (especially the community values articulated in issue framing).

One important strategy in the policy formulation stage is to seek opportunities to work with other stakeholder groups to formulate policies that have a strong chance of being adopted and implemented. In most cases, this will involve working with weak proponents and neutrals to add features that will convert them into strong proponents. Sometimes, this will involve seeking out those who would normally be considered weak opponents—or even strong opponents—to craft a policy that they can accept. For example, this might mean working with developers and builders to formulate policies that allow them to develop less hazard prone areas, build on the less hazardous portions of their properties, or build structures that are more hazard resistant.

Policy Adoption

The policy adoption phase involves the mobilization of stakeholder groups to pressure the relevant level of government in order to ensure passage of the desired policy. An emergency manager should have a strategy for presenting the policy in the correct manner and at the right time so procedural issues do not derail policy adoption. It is important to have a policy officially adopted and on the books, for that is what gives it legal authority and allows for the institutionalization of a policy.

When developing any public policy, care should be taken to include members of relevant stakeholder groups to ensure their interests are considered. Moreover, emergency managers should give special attention to the priorities of their department heads and the jurisdiction’s chief administrative officer. Inclusiveness is especially important in the case of hazard policies, because these policies often require a certain present investment (e.g., tax money allocated to first responder agency budgets) or a certain opportunity cost (e.g., a lucrative land development project foregone) in order to obtain an uncertain future benefit (reduced disaster losses). Moreover, these costs tend to be concentrated on a few stakeholders, whereas the benefits are widely distributed over the community as a whole. Consequently, those who expect an emergency management policy to affect them negatively have a more powerful incentive to mobilize than do those who expect to benefit.

The typical stakeholder groups that should be considered at the local level are those that have been mentioned already—business leaders (developers, builders, Chamber of Commerce), elected officials, government agency staff, civic groups, church leaders, and neighborhood associations. All these groups have roles to play in providing for community hazard management. For example, business leaders might need to enhance their business plans to include business continuity planning to be used in case of disaster (Federal Emergency Management Agency, no date, c). Their cooperation with the community’s emergency management program can be facilitated by information about the losses they can avoid when disaster strikes.

Considerations other than economics should be addressed as well. Agencies such as the public works department might be accustomed to dealing with hazards but feel threatened when the decisionmaking process is expanded to include meetings with neighborhood groups. As anonymous bureaucrats, they might not be accustomed to being held personally accountable for technical decisions and might equate citizen participation with needlessly looking for trouble. Conversely, some neighborhoods that are especially vulnerable to hazard impact might have a large proportion of lower income or ethnic minority residents who lack knowledge about the political system or even actively mistrust it. All of these concerns need to be balanced because any perceived unfairness in the policy or the way it was adopted is likely to cause problems in the implementation phase. Even after a policy has been developed, there are many veto points at which interests can block the adoption or implementation of policies they consider undesirable.

Policy Implementation

Adoption is not the end of the story. All policies must be implemented in order to be effective. Implementation is the stage most fraught with difficulties because opponents who have failed to block policy adoption often seek to undermine it as it is put into practice. The implementation stage of policy making is defined as those events and activities that occur after a policy is adopted and include the policy’s administration and its actual effects (Mazmanian & Sabatier, 1983). All policies are filtered through “street level bureaucrats”, those individuals who actually interact with the public (e.g., land use planners and building inspectors), so their enthusiastic support for policy goals and implementation methods is especially important.

Implementation of emergency management policy depends substantially upon the nature of the governmental structure. In the United States, the government has a federal structure, so strong state and local governments can support or thwart the implementation of federal policy—whichever suits their purposes. Conversely, the federal government can either strengthen local emergency management processes by providing information or technical support or undermine local goals by failing to provide promised funding. If all stakeholders are included in the early stages of the policy process, it is more likely that the policy will be implemented in accordance with legislative intent.

Mazmanian and Sabatier (1989) have developed a widely used model of policy implementation, highlighting specific variables and their interactions that produce varying levels of success. Three types of independent variables are included in this model, the first of which is the tractability of the problem, or how easy it is to solve. Emergency management involves complex problems. Consequently, overly simplistic policies can have unintended consequences, yet comprehensive policies are difficult to develop. As a result, hazard mitigation policies rank low on the tractability dimension and are difficult to implement.

The second group of variables involves the ability of the statute to structure implementation. This is where statecraft and legislative skill are needed. One component of this concept is an adequate causal theory, which is a clear idea of how a particular emergency management policy will reduce casualties, damage, and losses. In the case of floods, dams are expected to protect people and property by confining excess river flow in reservoirs. The second component is a set of clear and internally consistent policy objectives. Using floods again as an example, conflicting objectives arise because dams are often intended to provide irrigation, electric power generation, and recreations functions (which favor full reservoirs) as well as flood control (which favors empty reservoirs). Moreover, policy clarity can be difficult to achieve because emergency management policy must be carefully crafted to achieve a balance between specificity and adaptability. Thus, on the one hand, clear directives are needed to produce results consistent with the intent of the policy. On the other hand, however, bureaucrats need the freedom to adapt the policy to the varied situations they encounter. The emergency management policy arena is especially prone to changes over time, so a significant amount of bureaucratic discretion probably will be necessary. Another important variable is the percentage of governmental resources allocated to emergency management, which is highly dependent on the fiscal resources available to the jurisdiction at the time of policy passage and on the importance of emergency management relative to other issues on the agenda.

The third set of variables affecting implementation consists of nonstatutory factors, the first of which is the jurisdiction’s socioeconomic condition and the level of technology available to address the problem. These are constraints over which policymakers have little control in the short term. However, these constraints can be relaxed by means of investments in sustainable economic development (to enhance socioeconomic conditions) and technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (to enhance the level of technology), both of which are increasingly available to local governments. The second variable is one that carries over from previous stages of the policy process—the level of public support for emergency management policy. Public support tends to be cyclical, but it can be stabilized and even increased by persistent efforts to keep emergency management on the systemic agenda. Indeed, this affects the third and fourth factors—the attitudes and resources of constituency groups and support from the state or local government—both of which can be affected by coalition building activity. Finally implementing officials need to develop high levels of managerial and political skills to ensure successful implementation of emergency management policies.

Mazmanian and Sabatier’s model provides an important basis for understanding policy implementation, but it neglects one factor that is critical to emergency management policy—the hierarchical relationships among federal, state, and local governments. This issue was the focus of May and Williams’ (1986) book, Disaster Policy Implementation, which examined shared governance among multiple levels of government. The authors described four modes of shared governance: limited regulatory, general regulatory, mobilization, and collaborative. These four modes are distinguished by the form of partnership (general or limited) and the form of activity (regulatory or programmatic) in which federal and state governments are involved. May and Williams found seismic safety was an exemplar of the collaborative mode, which is characterized by general partnership and programmatic activity. They observed that, even though federal involvement in earthquake mitigation began with the passage of the 1977 Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act (Public Law 95-124), few collaborative efforts to improve the states’ capacities for seismic risk reduction had been successful by the time of their study. According to May and Williams, problems in the shared governance of seismic safety arose at both ends of the partnership. At the federal level, technical expertise was in short supply and continuing personnel turnover hampered contacts with state agencies. Among the states, only California exercised initiative and showed a willingness to invest resources in the program. Problems arose between the federal government and the State of California mainly as a result of disputes over funding and control of projects.

Another important aspect of emergency management policy is the effect of state mandates on local adoption and implementation of these policies. Previous research has examined the effect of mandate design on policy implementation (Goggin, et al. 1990; Mazmanian & Sabatier, 1989; Van Meter & Van Horn, 1975). Accordingly, May (1993) compared data from five states (California, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and Washington) to discover the links between the design of hazards relevant aspects of land use mandates and the implementation of hazards mitigation policy. May’s analysis examined the effects of five independent variables: mandate facilitating features, mandate controls, mandate goal clarity, agency capacity, and agency commitment. Two of the state mandate variables had a significant positive impact on the level of state implementation. The first of these was mandate facilitating features, which is defined by characteristics meant to increase local government commitment and capacity to address mandate goals. The second state mandate variable was mandate controls, which are the tools state agencies can use to affect local government efforts.

Contrary to the predictions of Mazmanian and Sabatier’s model, mandate goal clarity had no significant effect. It seemed to be sufficient for agency personnel to have a clear and consistent view of their duties, even if the statute was vague. The level of commitment by the state agency charged with implementing the mandate had a significant positive effect, whereas agency capacity did not, again failing to support Mazmanian and Sabatier’s emphasis on agency capacity. This might be because, if an agency is strongly committed to a goal, sufficient capacity will be allocated to meet that goal even if other programs must suffer. May’s research confirmed the importance of an adequate level of technical expertise, low turnover of personnel, agency commitment to hazards mitigation, and the existence of adequate facilitating features, and controls built into the mandate for the successful implementation of emergency management policy.

Further analyses addressed the factors affecting mandate strength (May, 1994). The most important factors affecting the strength and style of state mandates for hazard mitigation were the presence of a moralistic state political culture, as opposed to an individualistic or traditionalistic political culture (Elazar, 1994), lawmakers’ perceptions of the seriousness of the hazard, and the political power of the target population. These results suggest it would be useful for local government officials to impress upon state legislators the importance of supporting their efforts at emergency management and for affected populations to organize in order to increase their political power.

The stronger the commitment of the implementing agency to the goals of the policy, the more likely it is to devote the necessary resources to implementing the policy. The agency needs to have enough tools available, in the form of incentives and sanctions, to adequately implement the policy. If lawmakers are convinced of the seriousness of the problem, they are more likely to provide adequate authority and capacity to the implementing agency so it can properly enforce the policy. This is especially true if the target population has the power to resist the policy.

Policy Evaluation

Finally, as in any system, the policy process model provides for a feedback loop in which the policy is periodically evaluated and either improved or terminated. The most effective programs include provisions for such feedback in the language of the statute and are carefully structured to allow for clear evaluation. One prominent illustration of the lack of policy evaluation is Project Impact, a program that will be discussed at greater length in Chapter 7. As successful as it might have been in mobilizing a constituency for community hazard mitigation, there was no systematic evaluation of its success in reducing disaster losses. Worse yet, one of the criteria for selection as a Project Impact community was a history of commitment to hazard mitigation. A demonstrated history of success in hazard mitigation would have made it very difficult to determine the success of a program intended to increase hazard mitigation efforts at the local level. This confusion of selection criteria and desired results made it difficult to disentangle how much of the improvement in hazard mitigation in Project Impact communities was due to the program, and how much would have occurred anyway, given the history of commitment to hazard mitigation in the community.

Involving Stakeholders in Emergency Management

Emergency management is a necessary function of local governments that is supported by state and federal governments. Although it provides much needed assistance after disasters, good emergency management practices can raise opposition during other phases of the disaster cycle. Although it would seem that emergency management is an obvious public good, there are always some forces that resist any policy or set of policies. Emergency managers must identify the sources of this resistance in order to be effective in changing their communities’ priorities regarding emergency management.

What features of emergency management can arouse opposition, and why? Disaster relief seldom arouses opposition because it is a distributive policy that benefits a “deserving” population and has no identifiable losers. It is thus difficult to oppose disaster relief without appearing to be uncaring and unsympathetic. Not all emergency management policies are distributive, however. Mitigation practices such as land use controls and building codes are examples of regulatory policy, which imposes restrictions and limits on behavior and often imposes associated costs. Such policies frequently generate conflict because there are obvious losers. For example, a prohibition against construction on barrier islands produces benefits that are broadly distributed across the entire community when it is protected from hurricane damage. However, these benefits seem speculative at the time the policy is adopted and, in any event, would probably involve a relatively small amount of money for each household protected by the policy. Thus, few of those who benefit are likely to fight for adoption of the policy. By contrast, the “losses” (i.e., the potential profits that would have otherwise been reaped, known as opportunity costs) are concentrated among a few influential individuals who are, thus, highly motivated to fight against adoption of the policy. This situation leads to an increase in conflict that emergency managers must learn to manage in order to ensure the adoption and implementation of effective mitigation policies.

In order to develop an effective emergency management system, the local emergency manager must involve the relevant stakeholders in the process. Stakeholder involvement requires coordinating the various groups as emergency operations and recovery operations plans are drawn up and exercised, as well as during an event. Most of an emergency manager’s work should be conducted between disasters and behind the scenes, as he or she seeks to facilitate relationships among the stakeholders that will strengthen horizontal linkages within the community and vertical linkages of the community with outside resources in higher levels of government (Berke, et al., 1993). These strong linkages will improve the flow of information, services, and supplies during a disaster. Nonetheless, emergency managers should not work in silence or in isolation. Such a mode of operation produces inadequate plans that are not used during disasters. The only way to produce usable emergency operations and recovery operations plans is through consultation and cooperation with all the relevant agencies—taking their needs, resources, and missions into account. Similarly, good emergency management policies are produced through consultation. How is this to be done?

One important way to involve stakeholders is to work with other government agencies. As will be discussed in the next chapter, Local Emergency Management Committees (LEMCs) can become valuable forums for input from other agencies on the emergency management process. Many of these were originally formed for the specific purpose of improving community right-to-know and preparedness for toxic chemical emergencies, but some have expanded their scope to address chemical emergency management and all of them can contribute to the management of other environmental hazards faced by their communities (Lindell & Perry, 2004). Such committees will be discussed in greater detail in the next chapter.

Another important way to involve stakeholders is to work with citizens’ groups. Fostering citizen involvement requires emergency managers to initiate contacts throughout the community. Since it goes almost without saying that budget and staff constraints limit the extent to which such initiatives may be taken, the following paragraphs will sketch a few techniques that can be used with modest resource expenditures. To be successful, the process of community participation must be carefully organized and managed (Glass, 1979). Least likely to be effective would be to simply invite community residents to comment on local disaster plans in the absence of a structured program for presenting the plans and an orderly mechanism for evaluating and accommodating comments. When considering how to involve citizens in emergency planning, one must address four distinct tasks. First, affected residents must be notified that planning is underway and informed who is responsible for planning. In some cases, emergency managers can identify which residents will be affected by their functional relationship to a policy. For example, all homeowners in a watershed are relevant stakeholders for flood hazard management. Second, information must be provided to citizens that describes (as free from technical terminology as is reasonably achievable) the nature and severity of local hazards, the types of mitigation actions that are being taken to reduce these hazards, the assessment actions that are being taken to monitor the hazard, and the types of protective actions that can be implemented in an emergency. Educational contacts include hazard awareness programs intended to familiarize the public with the nature of the hazards to which the community is vulnerable and the basic provisions of the emergency plan. As a method of community involvement, educational contacts have the advantage of reaching large audiences at moderate cost, and the disadvantage of using essentially one-way communication. The emergency services officials get their message out but, except in rare circumstances, the audience cannot respond.

Third, techniques for information exchange involve seeking feedback from citizens, especially about specific planning efforts and emergency management policies that might be used in the operations phase. Fourth, citizen feedback must be incorporated into the preparedness process through support-building in which one seeks to enhance the credibility of the plan (and of the planners and response personnel) in the eyes of the public. Achievement of these information exchange and support-building objectives requires two-way communication, especially direct personal contact.

Specific Techniques for Community Involvement

One very simple technique for obtaining feedback and support requires nothing more than for emergency management staff to “talk up” their work to friends, relatives, and neighbors—describing community hazard vulnerability and emergency plans in general terms—and seeking informal reactions. Such grassroots interaction can, of course, be extremely limited in its access to ethnic groups and socioeconomic classes if there are no emergency planners that are members of these groups. In light of their negligible cost, however, the long-run value of such exchanges should not be underestimated.

A second technique for interacting with the public involves setting up a “hazard hotline” telephone number. This hotline need not be any more elaborate than advertising an office phone number and training existing staff to handle inquiries or using a recorded message. Citizens could be informed of the information line, perhaps via a mailed brochure, and staff could develop a procedure for promptly responding to questions. This type of phone-in arrangement is quite useful in that it serves to gather and disseminate information on a routine basis and has the potential to be expanded into a rumor control or warning confirmation line during times of disaster (Perry, 1982). Over the course of the year, one would not anticipate a large volume of inquiries. Such nonemergency calls probably would tax neither the ability of staff to respond nor the capability of telephone equipment to handle calls.

A third technique for communicating with the public is to establish direct contact with citizens in the community. Such contact is often achieved by speaking at meetings of school, neighborhood, and community organizations. Neighborhood meetings can deal with very specific and timely topics; they can reach otherwise difficult to contact groups; and they provide both face-to-face contact and an opportunity for dialogue. For example, a community or neighborhood club might welcome a speaker who describes how to prepare for a hurricane at the start of the most vulnerable season. Emergency managers could explain to residents how warnings will be disseminated, when and how to shelter in-place, what roads will serve as evacuation routes, and what procedures will be used to secure evacuated areas. Such meetings also afford an opportunity to ask citizens if they have a family emergency plan that provides for what to do if the family is separated when an evacuation is initiated, where the family plans to seek refuge, what they will pack to take with them, what vehicles will be taken and what route will be followed. Other questions that can be asked include their willingness to use services provided by authorities, such as warning confirmation numbers, public transportation, willingness to use a family message center, concerns about looting, and willingness to participate in emergency response support activities such as citizen patrols. Discussions at this level of specificity can not only provide emergency managers with an assessment of what the members of their community think about such issues, but also stimulate citizen thought, discussion, and preparedness for emergency response. Once again, it is important to remember that neighborhood groups and community organizations tend to have fairly homogeneous memberships. In order to communicate with all segments of the community, one must make contacts with many different types of groups.

Finally, sustained citizen involvement can be achieved by creating citizen advisory committees and citizen cadre opportunities. Advisory committees are usually small in size and attached to departments to provide general guidance, but they can be used for such specific topics as emergency planning. When an advisory committee is created, a significant commitment of time is usually required. At a minimum, officials must devise a schedule for periodic (monthly or bimonthly) meetings and an acceptable mechanism for soliciting information, evaluating it, and then either using it or explaining why it was not used. A properly administered citizen advisory committee can provide timely and accurate information on specific points of planning interest and can also mobilize strong support within the community.

While citizen advisory committees tend to involve people in the administrative aspects of emergency planning, citizen cadre opportunities tend to involve volunteers in selected operational duties. Citizen cadres require some degree of training and usually function as auxiliary personnel acting in support of regular emergency personnel. Citizen cadres have been used to fill sandbags on flood levees, direct traffic, serve on search and rescue teams, provide security in evacuated areas, and help administer family locator services. Citizen cadres incorporate volunteers into the emergency response process in ways that are commensurate with the skills they bring to the emergency response organization. Such auxiliaries can be used to ease the tremendous demands placed on regular personnel during the emergency response phase. Moreover, appropriately trained volunteers are familiar with emergency procedures and the logic behind them. Such persons can build support within the community by explaining emergency procedures to others.

In summary, the purposes of these techniques are to allow emergency authorities to better anticipate the reaction of their community in a disaster and to familiarize citizens with emergency response planning and operations. It might not be necessary or cost-effective to use all of these techniques in the same community. They are identified here as alternative programs from which to select the ones that best meet the emergency preparedness needs and budgetary constraints of a given community.

Forming coalitions with groups interested in related issues can be a valuable strategy for an emergency manager. Emergency managers can join other groups to ensure the adoption of policies that perform multiple functions and, thus, have a larger base on which to build support for emergency management. For example, environmental groups are interested in preserving wetlands or riverine corridors for their aesthetic value and other reasons. These same lands can perform valuable hazard mitigation functions by absorbing the effects of floods or avoiding an increase in community vulnerability by keeping housing out of a floodplain. Emergency managers can be more effective in an increasingly competitive political climate if they work collaboratively with other groups to promote policies meeting the objectives of multiple stakeholder groups.

Sources of State and Federal Assistance

State and federal emergency management agencies are extremely valuable sources of assistance to local emergency managers. These agencies can provide technical guidance on hazard/vulnerability analyses, hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, emergency response, and disaster recovery. Of course, the types and quantities of state assistance vary from one state to another, so it is important for local emergency managers to contact their state emergency management agencies and to join their state emergency management associations to obtain information about the available resources.

Emergency managers can also take advantage of resources from other states. In a disaster, they rely on the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC, see www.emacweb.org), which was established in 1996 by an act of Congress. Since then, EMAC has been joined by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. EMAC facilitates direct mutual aid from one state to another in response to any type of disaster. Because they are located closer to the impact area, these resources from neighboring states are likely to reach a stricken area faster than federal resources. Like other mutual aid agreements, EMAC provides for financial reimbursement, legal liability, and workers’ compensation for any injuries incurred during the disaster response. In addition, EMAC recognizes the credentials of out-of-state emergency responders.

An EMAC operation begins when the governor a requesting state declares a state of emergency. An authorized representative who has the legal power to commit the requesting state’s funds asks for assistance from the EMAC National Coordination Group. This unit is the nationwide point of contact for activating EMAC in response to a declared emergency.

An A-team deploys to the requesting state where it conducts a needs assessment, alerts EMAC members about these needs, and receives offers from assisting states that provide resources under the compact. The requesting state and the assisting state negotiate the availability and cost of requested resources and, after reaching agreement, dispatch the requested resources.

To facilitate this process, each EMAC member state has a designated contact who is an expert on EMAC procedures. There also is an EMAC National Coordinating Team that can be activated by DHS/FEMA to coordinate federal response and recovery operations. This team deploys to the National Response Coordinating Center, located in Washington, D.C., so it can help to coordinate with any EMAC teams responding to the incident scene. The EMAC National Coordinating Team can be complemented by an EMAC Regional Coordinating Team, which mobilizes at a Regional Coordination Center to coordinate regional response and recovery operations. From there, the EMAC Regional Coordinating Team coordinates with any EMAC field units providing assistance at the incident scene.

There is also an enormous amount of assistance available from federal agencies. Many types of technical and financial assistance are addressed throughout the remainder of this text, particularly the chapters on hazard/vulnerability analysis, hazard mitigation, emergency preparedness, emergency response, and disaster recovery. There is an almost bewildering variety of technical support that the federal government makes available during disasters. The appendix to this chapter lists the emergency support functions (ESFs) into which federal emergency response activities are organized and the assignments of federal agencies to ESFs.

Case Study: The Politics of Hazard Mitigation

St. Louis, Missouri lies in the New Madrid Fault Zone and most of its buildings are vulnerable unreinforced masonry structures. In 1976, the Department of Housing and Urban Development escalated the seismic standards for Federal Housing Authority and Veterans Administration loans in this region from the Building Officials and Code Administrators’ (BOCA) Basic Building Code to the more stringent Uniform Building Code (UBC) Zone II requirements (Drabek, Mushkatel & Kilijanek, 1983). Concerned about the effect on new construction, local developers, contractors and officials sought technical assistance in challenging the policy. HUD officials viewed local opposition as a threat to their entire policy, which they felt was more than adequately justified by the safety threat to local residents. However, technical experts attacked the scientific basis for HUD’s policy with the assertions that inclusion of St. Louis in Zone II was a cartographic error, the assumed 300-500 year return intervals were in error, and projected damage from a repeat of the 1811-1812 earthquakes was overestimated. The city lobbied the local HUD office to request that the HUD Secretary exempt St. Louis from the seismic requirements and asked its congressional delegation, the Home Builder’s Association, and public interest groups to support this request. By 1981, the BOCA I Code was used for all structures except multifamily housing rehabilitation projects, where the UBC Zone II requirements were applied. Even the impact of this requirement was minimal because it was enforced by the HUD regional office in Kansas City and the local HUD office in St. Louis, not by the city or county of St. Louis. Consequently, most engineers and developers contacted by Drabek and his colleagues were uncertain about which standards should be applied.


Appendix 2-A: Federal Agencies and

Their Responsibilities Under the National Response Plan


The NRP defines 15 emergency support functions (ESFs) that span the types of activities federal agencies can perform in response to an event that overwhelms the resources of local and state government. Table 9-5 lists the ESFs by number and name together with a brief description of the activities involved in each of them.

Table 9-5. Emergency Support Functions.

ESF Number  

Function name



ESF #1 Transportation Provides transportation support including reporting damage, coordinating alternate transportation services, coordinating restoration, for air, water, road, rail, and pipeline
ESF #2 Communications Provides alternate telecommunications support and assists in the restoration of infrastructure for telecommunications and information technology
ESF #3 Public Works and Engineering Provides pre- and post-incident assessments of public works and infrastructure as well as engineering and construction management expertise
ESF #4 Firefighting Provides for the detection and suppression of wildland, rural, and urban fires
ESF #5 Emergency Management Provides for interagency planning and coordinated operations
ESF #6 Mass Care, Housing and Human Services Provides sheltering and feeding of victims, short- and long-term housing, and support for victim counseling and benefits claims
ESF #7 Resource Support Provides emergency facilities, equipment, materials and supplies, as well as contracting and transportation services
ESF #8 Public Health and Medical Services Provides assessments of public health/medical needs, medical care personnel, and medical equipment and supplies
ESF #9 Urban Search and Rescue Organizes, deploys, and supports teams to extricate trapped victims from collapsed buildings
ESF #10 Oil and Hazardous Materials Response Detects, contains, and cleans up releases of oil and hazardous materials
ESF #11 Agriculture and Natural Resources Provides nutritional assistance, controls animal and plant diseases, assures food safety and security, and protects natural and cultural resources and historic properties
ESF #12 Energy Assesses energy system damage and its likely effects
ESF #13 Public Safety and Security Provides force and critical infrastructure protection and technical assistance to state and local government
ESF #14 Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation Provides financial and technical assistance to support the recovery of state and local governments, including mitigation actions to prevent disaster recurrence or limit its magnitude
ESF #15 External Affairs Provides coordinated dissemination of information from federal agencies to the general public, the Congress, state and local governments and tribal authorities, and international governments


In addition, the NRP assigns federal agencies three types of responsibilities within each ESF. The first role is that of coordinator, which is responsible for planning and coordinating the federal response in that function. The second role is primary agency, which is responsible for staffing the emergency response. The third role is support agency, which is responsible for providing personnel technical assistance as requested by the primary agencies. The remainder of this appendix lists each agency’s assigned ESF responsibilities.

Department of Agriculture. USDA is the coordinator and shares the role of primary agency with the Department of the Interior (DOI) for ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources) and shares the role of primary agency for ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation). USDA has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #12 (Energy), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Agriculture/Forest Service. USDA/FS is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #4 (Firefighting) and has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), and ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security).

Department of Commerce. DOC shares the role of primary agency for ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation) and has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Defense. DOD has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Defense/US Army Corps of Engineers. DOD/USACE is the coordinator and shares the role of primary agency for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering). DOD/USACE has secondary responsibility for ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation).

Department of Education. ED has secondary responsibility for ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Energy. DOE is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #12 (Energy). DOE has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Health and Human Services. HHS is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services) and shares the role of primary agency on ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation). HHS has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Homeland Security. DHS shares the roles as coordinator and primary agency for ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security) and coordinator for ESF #15 (External Affairs). DHS has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), and ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation).

Department of Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness and Response/Federal Emergency Management Agency. DHS/EPR/FEMA is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #5 (Emergency Management). FEMA is the coordinator and shares the role of primary agency for ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services). FEMA is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue). FEMA is the coordinator and shares the role of primary agency for ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation). FEMA is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #15 (External Affairs). FEMA has secondary responsibility for ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), and ESF #12 (Energy).

Department of Homeland Security/Information Analysis and Protection/National Communications System. DHS/IAIP/NCS is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #2 (Communications). NCS has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Homeland Security/US Coast Guard. DHS/USCG shares the role as primary agency for ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response). USCG has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), and ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security).

Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD shares the role as primary agency for ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation). HUD has secondary responsibility for ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Interior. DOI has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Justice. DOJ shares a role as coordinator and primary agency for ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security). DOJ has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Labor. DOL has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of State. DOS has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Transportation. DOT is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #1 (Transportation). DOT has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Treasury. TREAS shares a role as coordinator and primary agency for ESF # 14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation). TREAS has secondary responsibility for ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Department of Veterans Affairs. VA has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Central Intelligence Agency. CIA is a member of the Interagency Incident Management Group but has no responsibilities for ESFs.

Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is the coordinator for ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response) and shares the role as primary agency. EPA has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Federal Communications Commission. FCC has secondary responsibility for ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

General Services Administration. GSA is the coordinator and primary agency for ESF #7 (Resource Support). GSA has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA has secondary responsibility for ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NRC has secondary responsibility for ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Office of Personnel Management. OPM has secondary responsibility for ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Small Business Administration. SBA has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #2 (Communications), ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #4 (Firefighting), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #7 (Resource Support), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), ESF #10 (Oil and Hazardous Materials Response), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Social Security Administration. SSA has secondary responsibility for ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

Tennessee Valley Authority. TVA has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #12 (Energy), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

US Agency for International Development. USAID has secondary responsibility for ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #9 (Urban Search and Rescue), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

US Postal Service. USPS has secondary responsibility for ESF #1 (Transportation), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #6 (Mass Care, Housing and Human Services), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #13 (Public Safety and Security), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. OSTP is a member of the Interagency Incident Management Group but has no responsibilities for ESFs.

American Red Cross. ARC has secondary responsibility for ESF #3 (Public Works and Engineering), ESF #5 (Emergency Management), ESF #8 (Public Health and Medical Services), ESF #11 (Agriculture and Natural Resources), ESF #14 (Long-Term Community Recovery and Mitigation), and ESF #15 (External Affairs).

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