Craig Fugate FEMA AdministratorWashington, D.C.
mergency Management is a team effort, and a key in responding to future disasters is continuing to build, expand, and strengthen that team. It is critical we maintain and strengthen our relationships, not only with law enforcement, but with tribal, state, and local governments; private-sector entities; faith-based groups; and the general public.
Under President Obama’s leadership, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have worked to engage their partners in an effort to expand and solidify our national emergency response team.
Every police chief knows emergencies can happen anywhere and at anytime, and no community is immune. As a critical and indispensable component of the team, today, I need you to help engage another, often overlooked part of emergency management: the public.
Police chiefs know, as well as I do, that getting the public to prepare for emergencies is a year-round effort. Our ability to respond to and recover from emergencies is directly influenced by how well prepared we are as a community. Limited resources can direct emergency responders to focus attention where it is most needed, but if we can make individuals personally prepared, together we can help not only your community, but the nation as a whole.
This is a good time to work with families in your area to help them understand how they can prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate future emergencies. For most Americans, preparedness will only involve a few simple steps: develop a family emergency plan, put together an emergency supply kit, and become better informed about hazards that may exist in the community. As you work with the citizens in your community, feel free to direct them to the Ready.gov website to learn more.
Next-door neighbors are often the first to come to the aid of a neighbor in distress. They are also often more familiar with the needs of the family living next door. These relationships can become an asset to responders if they understand their important role in emergency preparedness and response. My message to the public is this: Once you have taken care of you and your family, check on a neighbor. Being prepared and looking out for one another will make our communities stronger, our nation stronger, and our emergency response stronger.
Your personal experience can help make FEMA a better agency and a better member of the national emergency management team. Expertise from law enforcement, firefighting, emergency medical, public health, and others reminds us of the need to work as a team, to ensure a resilient nation.
I would like to encourage the best and brightest within your ranks who are retiring or leaving law enforcement to consider working for FEMA on a full-time or part-time basis. My vision for FEMA is to incorporate the experience and expertise of former first responders who have worked directly with the public during emergencies and who understand the emergency management team approach.
The arrival of the 2010 hurricane season will remind a portion of the American public to reexamine their emergency risks, but we know strengthening the entire emergency management system must be a year-round effort. Again, I ask for your assistance in spreading this message.
I thank the International Association of Chiefs of Police and each of the police chiefs individually for your commitment to building and maintaining a safe and well-prepared community. ■
Please cite as:
Craig Fugate, "From the Administrator," The Police Chief 77 (June 2010): 76,
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/CPIM0610/#/76 (insert access date).