Disaster Response: Criteria for Developing and Validating Effective Response Plans, Statement of William O. Jenkins, Jr., Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, Testimony before the Committee on Homeland Security, House of Representatives   [open pdf - 243KB]

"Among the lessons learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was that effective disaster response requires planning followed by the execution of training and exercises to validate those plans. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for disaster response planning. This testimony focuses on (1) criteria for effective disaster response planning established in FEMA's National Response Framework, (2) additional guidance for disaster planning, (3) the status of disaster planning efforts, and (4) special circumstances in planning for oil spills. This testimony is based on prior GAO [Government Accountability Office] work on emergency planning and response, including GAO's April 2009 report on the FEMA efforts to lead the development of a national preparedness system. GAO reviewed the policies and plans that form the basis of the preparedness system. GAO did not assess any criteria used or the operational planning for the Deepwater Horizon response. GAO is not making any new recommendations in this testimony but has made recommendations to FEMA in previous reports to strengthen disaster response planning, including the development of a management plan to ensure the completion of key national policies and planning documents. FEMA concurred and is currently working to address this recommendation."

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