Emergency Preparedness: FEMA Faces Challenges Integrating Community Preparedness Programs into Its Strategic Approach, Report to Congressional Requesters [open pdf - 387KB]
"Individuals can reduce their need for first responder assistance by preparing for a disaster. By law, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to develop a National Preparedness System (NPS) that includes community preparedness programs. These programs account for less than 0.5 percent of FEMA's budget. They include the Citizen Corps Program (CCP) and partner programs, e.g., Fire Corps, which provide volunteers to assist first responders. FEMA's Ready Campaign promotes preparedness through mass media. GAO was asked to review federal efforts to promote community preparedness. GAO was asked to address (1) challenges, if any, FEMA faces in measuring the performance of CCP, its partner programs, and the Ready Campaign, and (2) actions, if any, FEMA has taken to develop a strategy to encompass how these programs are to operate within the context of the NPS. GAO analyzed documents on preparedness plans and strategies and compared reported performance data with observations during 12 site visits, selected primarily on the basis of major disasters. While not projectable, the results add insight."
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/