Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A state template for integrating federal mass care resources

I meet with representatives today from the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Florida Baptists, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, FEMA and the FEMA mass care contractor CH2MHill at the FSU Turnbull Conference Center here in Tallahassee. The purpose of the exercise was to develop a national state template of operational procedures for the reception of FEMA contracted mass care resources and the integration of these resources into the existing voluntary agency mass care infrastructure. Such operational procedures do not currently exist in the nation and must be developed with the cooperation of the various state, federal and voluntary mass care agencies involved.

The State of Florida faces a number of very plausible scenarios that would require mass care support in excess of the available national resources of the voluntary agencies. Furthermore, the state cannot assume that the full national capacity of the voluntary agencies will be available. Some portion of this capacity will be held in reserve for other disasters, and/or available resources may already be committed to prior events.

Requested federal mass care resources are deployed under the direction and control of FEMA in response to specific requirements identified by the state. In order to ensure the timely and efficient employment of these resources, State ESF 6, as the state lead for mass care, must have a thorough understanding of what type of information must be provided, when this information must be submitted, and how these federal resources will be integrated into the existing voluntary agency mass care infrastructure in the impacted area.

Development of the operational procedures will be conducted in a four-phase operation to include a Facilitated Discussion and a Tabletop Exercise, with the assistance of the Center for Disaster Risk Policy at Florida State University. The outcome will be an operational procedures document developed by the relevant stakeholders and tested in a tabletop exercise. This document will be validated in the 2012 State Hurricane Exercise and then distributed to the FEMA Regions for use as a Best Practices document.

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