"Historically, governments have been created primarily to protect the lives and property of people. Everything flows from that imperative. To carry out that protection against hazards, known and unknown, Government is obliged to have in place a predictable, coordinated, multi-agency response that can come together on demand. When the emergency is underway, in a time of great stress, it is too late to begin building that mechanism for coping with the problem. The President has assigned the management and funding responsibilities for the civil defense program to FEMA. Formed in 1979 by merging five federal agencies with similar duties, FEMA is the central point of contact within the federal government for a wide range of emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery and hazard mitigation activities-in both peace and war. It works directly with state and local governments and others in the emergency management community to lessen the potential effects of disasters and to increase the effectiveness of emergency response programs. Coordinating federal action in disasters and emergencies is FEMA's primary mission. Among FEMA's responsibilities are: coordinating federal aid for presidentially declared disasters and emergencies; developing plans for the protection of the population of the United States and key industrial facilities; coordinating civil emergency preparedness for nuclear power plant accidents or nuclear attack; and providing training and educational programs to prepare individuals on the federal, state and local level for coping with emergencies."
Monograph Series Vol. 1
National Emergency Training Center Library: http://archive.org/