This section provides background and a brief overview of emergency-management policy in the United States to give context for the findings and conclusions presented in the report. The committee makes no recommendations with respect to emergency-management policy. The committee briefly describes the importance of the private sector to disaster management; gives a brief history of disaster management policy—particularly as it relates to approaches to hazards and the role of community-level disaster-related private-public partnerships; and describes the role of local communities in emergency management and the relationship between local and federal emergency managers.

In the United States, the private and public sectors both play a role in disaster management and are integral to the governing policy framework. The private sector supplies many services—such as water, power, communication networks, transportation, medical care, and security—before, during, and after a disaster. The health of the U.S. economy depends on large and small businesses and, in turn, their roles in globalization and rapid technologic advances (Bonvillian, 2004). Critical infrastructure is owned and managed largely by private entities, but existing private–public collaboration related to managing risk and building resilience could be strengthened, and collaboration could be encouraged in communities where there is little or none.

Elements of U.S. disaster-management policy are reflected in legislation and initiatives, including the Stafford Act;9 the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000;10 the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act;11 such presidential directives as Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 and 8;12 and past and current federal disaster plans and initiatives, such as the Federal Response Plan,13 the National Response Plan,14 and the National Response Framework (FEMA, 2008). The legislation and plans reinforce the all-hazards comprehensive emergency-management approach (e.g., considering the full disaster cycle) that has been in effect for three decades. Current presidential directives, policy documents, the National Preparedness Guidelines,15 the National Response Framework, the National Recovery Framework,16 the National Incident Management System,17 and operational and implementing documents also reflect that longstanding practice.


See www.fema.gov/about/stafact.shtm (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1935 (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.dhs.gov/xabout/structure/gc_1169243598416.shtm (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1214592333605.shtm and www.dhs.gov/xabout/laws/gc_1215444247124.shtm (accessed June 20, 2010).


See biotech.law.lsu.edu/blaw/FEMA/frpfull.pdf (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.scd.hawaii.gov/documents/nrp.pdf (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=3773 (accessed June 20, 2010).


See www.fema.gov/recoveryframework/ (accessed June 24, 2010).


See www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/ (accessed June 20, 2010).

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