FederalPreparedness and Mitigation Programs
TheFederal Emergency and Mitigation Agency (FEMA) plays a significantrole in protecting the public and property from disaster events. Itachieves this through federal and preparedness and mitigationprograms. Federal preparedness allows FEMA to provide efficient andtimely response to help the local and state governments to prevent orreduce threats from disasters. Also, it offers support efforts tofirst responders to ensure that are well prepared to provide responseservices to major disaster events especially those related toterrorism. The federal preparedness aims to foster protection,preparedness, recovery, mitigation and response. It involves fundingtraining, planning, interoperable communications, equipment andtechnical assistance. Preparedness is a continuous process thatinvolves channeling efforts from all levels of the governmentincluding private, public and non-governmental organizations todetermine threats, vulnerabilities, and the required resources.Therefore, preparedness is important in that it helps minimize thecosts of unpreventable disasters. FEMA supports response and recoveryfrom disasters by providing grants, emergency services, low-interestsloans and technical assistance to individual families and repair ofpublic facilities. Mitigation programs are also important ineliminating the cycle of reconstruction, disaster damage, andrecurring damage. Examples of programs administered by FEMA includethe Flood Mitigation Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation, HazardMitigation Assistance and the Public Mitigation Grant program.
Thispaper seeks to study the reasons for the establishment of FEMAprograms, their history, and effectiveness in working towardsachieving their goals (Noonan,2016).
Reasonsfor Establishing FEMA’S Programs
ThePre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program was established to offer thelocal communities, Federally-recognized tribes and the territories inthe United States with assistance in implementing a maintainedpre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program. The aim of the PDMprogram is to minimize the general risk to the structures and thepopulation from the hazards occurrences in future. Additionally, thepurpose of the PDM program is to reduce dependence on funding fromthe Federal Agency in future disaster events (Iuchi,2016).
FloodMitigation Assistance (FMA) program was established with theobjective of minimizing or eradicating declarations under theNational Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It also provides localcommunities that belong in NFIP with grants for developing a fullflood mitigation plan and to facilitate flood mitigation projects. Inaddition, FMA aims to decrease the rate of repeatedly or significantdamage to structures and the claims related with NFIP. Furthermore,FMA is focused on establishing a long-term and broad mitigationplanning and support other relief programs in the state or federalthat share common goals. Consequently, the FMA is aimed at respondingto the needs of the people in local communities that belong to theNFIP (King,2013).
HazardMitigation Grant Program (HMGP) was designed to provide funding forappropriate mitigation activities to protect populations and propertyfrom damages caused by hazards in future. It administers itsemergency activities by providing states and local governments withgrants for implementing long-term mitigation measures against risks.The aim is to minimize disaster losses. Other goals of the HMGPprogram include funding the mitigation measures that were identifiedinitially, which benefited a specific disaster area, implementing thehazard execution plans for the State or local government and toenable mitigation measures to be administered during and after therecovery period (Berke,Lyles & Smith, 2014).
PublicAssistance Grant Program was established to provide assistance to therelevant groups such as the local, Tribal and State governments topromote swift response to the major disasters to get rid of theimmediate threat to the public safety, life, and health. Also, itfocuses on helping the communities to recover quickly from thedisasters and offer benefits to the general community. Additionally,it undertakes emergency protective measures to protect the privateand public property by enhancing cost-effective measures. It providesgrant assistances that are used to implement protective emergencymeasures, to remove debris and to repair public and privatefacilities that are damaged by disasters (Brown & Richardson,2015).
TheHistory of the Mitigation Programs
Inthe 1950s, during the Rise of Civil Defense and the Cold War, the U.Sexperienced a major shift in the emergency management of disastersthat showed some significant improvement in mitigating disasters. In1960s, the U.S faced a series of major natural disasters that causedsignificant damages to the population. For instance, the AshWednesday Strom that took place in 1962 caused massive damagesamounting to $300 million. This resulted in increased need forchanges to be conducted in the emergency management. In 1970s, aNational Emergency Management was developed to facilitate effectiveresponse and management of disasters. In the 1980s, FEMA experienceda variety of challenges due to some problems such as lack of the needof a logical Federal response to disasters. In the 1990s, theleadership in FEMA was changed and this fostered successful responseto events. FEMA as well developed different programs to managespecific disasters such as flood, fires and other hazards. Examplesof the programs developed include the Pre-Disaster ManagementProgram, Flood Mitigation Assistance Program, Hazard Mitigation GrantProgram and the Public Assistance Grant Program. The histories ofthese programs are discussed below (Olonilua,2016).
ThePre-Disaster Management Program was approved in the Robert T.Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, provided inSection 203. The program was established in 1997, as a pilot program,known as the “Project Impact’” to test the idea of investing inemergencies before disasters occur. The aim was to minimize thevulnerability of the population to future hazards by establishing theroots of the emergency management in local communities. It focused onincorporating the decision of the community into emergency managementto create a resilient community towards disaster. The ambitious goalsof the project were widely acknowledged by the Congress and over theyears, the program developed from “Project Impact’ to the currentPDM program where it has increased its resources, and it conducts itsactivities nationwide (Iuchi,2016).
TheFlood Mitigation Assistance program was sanctioned in the NationalFlood Insurance Act of 1968, in Section 1366. It was established aspart of the 1994, National Flood Insurance Reform Act. The goal wasto minimize and remove the claims under the NFIP. During 1903, thehistorical crisis of disaster and risk management resulted in thecreation of the Tennessee Valley Authority, as an emergencymanagement legislation, to provide hydroelectric power in order tominimize flooding in the region. In 1934, a Flood Control Act wasdesigned to provide the U.S Army Corps with permission to create andbuild control projects. Over the years the National Flood InsuranceAct of 1968 was established, and this created a Flood MitigationProgram address the flooding problem in the region (King,2013).
TheHazard Mitigation Grant Program is provided in the Robert T. StaffordDisaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, under Section 404. Itwas created in November 1988 under the Stafford Act to providesupport to the State and local government in the implementation oflong –term mitigation measures after the declaration of a majordisaster. The Hurricane Mitch that occurred in the Caribbean anddifferent parts of Central America caused devastating effects. Thisresulted in significant changes in the American foreign policy thatincluded the development of community-based mitigation projectsincluding the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (Berke,Lyles & Smith, 2014).
ThePublic Assistance Grant Program is authorized under the StaffordDisaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which is provided undermultiple sections if the Act. The emergency work is provided undersection 502, 407 and 403 for offer emergency protective measures andremoval of debris. Permanent work is authorized under Section 406that provides restoration, replacement, and repair ofdisaster-damaged facilities. The management costs are provided underSection 324 to compensate the administrative expenses of theapplicants that they spend when managing the projects and grants.During historical times, the population used to experience adverseeffects from disaster events. This generated the need to develop apreventive measure to alleviate suffering and damage from individualsand the governments from hazards. A Congressional Act was passed in1803 to provide financial support for the damages caused by fire inthe New Hampshire town. The Act was later amended, and the StaffordAct was established to address the increasing threats of naturaldisasters (Brown & Richardson, 2015).
HowWell They are Working
ThePre-Disaster Management Program provides grants and technicalassistance to the local, state and tribal governments for mitigationplanning and implementation of projects. Moreover, it createsopportunities for increasing awareness to the members of the publicon how to reduce losses in future before the disaster occurs. The PDMprograms receive funding from the appropriations of the Congress andare rewarded nationally on a competitive base. It provides funding tothe Indian Tribal government, the local communities and the state tofoster implementation of realistic and cost-effective mitigationactivities on disasters. It enables individual communities to workwith their states to develop comprehensive plans and implementprojects as well as participating in emergency management (Iuchi,2016).
TheFlood Mitigation Assistance Program isrecognized as a nationally competitive program that is aimed atmitigation floods to prevent or reduces damages. It fundsprojects and plans that aim in minimizing or preventing the long-termrisk of flood damage to structures that are covered under the NFIPsuch as manufactured homes and buildings. Additionally, it alsoprovides funds for management costs. The funding of the FMA isawarded annually by the Congress. It is working adequately inacquisition, demolition and relocating of residential structures inemergency disasters, it conducts mitigation reconstruction, supportsflood reduction projects in the local community, stabilizes soil,retrofit infrastructures and existing buildings and facilities (King,2013).
ThePublic Assistance Grant program offers critical services to thepublic including communication systems, medical treatment, fire oremergency rescue, water, power and sewer utilities during disasteremergencies. The program undertakes the above activities before,during and after disasters to protect safety and health of the publicand save life and to eradicate urgent threats that have substantialdamage. It provides hazard mitigation measures during the recoveryprocess to encourage the communities to protect their facilities fromfuture damage. Statics indicate that, between 2000 and 2013, theprogram has offered $52.6billion grants to assist communities in paying for the variety ofappropriated response and recovery activities. Additionally, theprogram provided disaster loans to affected individuals to conductrepair and reconstruction of public facilities damaged by thedisasters. Theprogram provides assistance through four major phases’ includingpreparedness, response, mitigation and recovery. Mitigation processaims at reducing the impacts of disasters on people and property. Inthe past decade, the U.S has been spending millions of dollars insocial and economic costs. Therefore, the mitigation program hasplayed a significant role in reducing the costs spend on disastermanagement. Preparedness has allowed the respond team to be ready torespond to disasters or any other type of emergency situation. Thisprocess has impacted significantly on the emergency management byenhancing the capability of the response team to address effects ofdisasters adequately. The program as well has been fosteredeffectiveness in response to disasters whereby, the team of replyalways provides assistance in timely and swift manner thereby savinglives and property from destruction. The recovery process has enabledcommunities and individuals to improve their safety and enhance theireconomic security after a disaster event. Individuals can return tonormalcy, and the future vulnerability are minimized significantly(Brown & Richardson, 2015).
TheHazard Mitigation Grant Program has been on the forefront inminimizing loss of life and property from disaster-damages. The HMPGfunding is spent on Individual and public Assistance Programs toenhance mitigation plan in disaster. For a mitigation plan to befunded by the program, it must contain the assessment of the needs ofthe community, identify the hazards and have a description of acommunity-wide strategy for eliminating risks related to naturaldisasters (Berke, Lyles & Smith, 2014).
TheFederal Emergency and Mitigation Agency functions to protect the lossof people’s lives and property damage from impacts of disasters. Itconsists of various prevention and mitigation programs that worktowards reducing or eliminating hazards and its effects. Examples ofFEMA’s prevention and mitigation programs include the PublicAssistance Grant Program, the Flood Mitigation Assistance, thePre-Disaster Management Program and theHazard Mitigation Grant Program. It uses these programs to addressthreats from disasters. FEMA provides first responders with supportthrough training to ensure adequate preparation to enhance theirability to offer effective response services. Additionally, itprovides technical assistance, funding, equipment, and planningbefore, during and after disaster events. The Pre-Disaster Mitigationprogram was designed to reduce risks of disasters future damages tostructures and the people in the local, tribal or states. The FloodMitigation Assistance program was established to provide grants tothe local communities participating in the NFIP to enable them todevelop a comprehensive mitigation plan and mitigating projects onflooding. The aim of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is to reducelosses of lives and property from future hazards through theimplementation of long-term mitigation measures. The PublicAssistance Grant Program works towards enhancing quick response tomajor disasters to alleviate immediate threats from disasters. Theseprograms have demonstrated effectiveness in their functioning towardspreventing and mitigating disasters in the U.S.
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