Posted by: Rachel Racusen, Director, Public Affairs
Yesterday, Administrator Fugate spoke at the National Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness Disaster Management Summit, “Private Sector Resources in the Emergency Management Plan; The Public-Private Partnership Conference” in New Orleans. The Administrator’s remarks focused on the importance of engaging the private sector as part of the emergency management team.
As the entire team and the Administrator often say, it takes the whole community to respond to and recover from a disaster - this includes the entire federal family, state, local and tribal governments, faith-based and non-profit communities and the public sector. Businesses in the private sector contribute unique capabilities that allow us to better serve the public during an emergency.
Whether it’s helping share our preparedness messages with the public or staying open during a disaster to provide survivors with water, food, and other needs – it’s been proven that the private sector is a critical team player in emergency management.
Here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press regarding the Administrator’s remarks from the conference:
Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, says the government needs to stop thinking it can handle all aspects of a disaster and make sure the private sector is included in disaster planning and response.Read the full story from the Associated Press.
He told emergency planners to engage chambers of commerce and the business community in general to see what the private sector can do to help in the wake of a disaster.
Fugate said, “helping businesses open after a disaster fills in critical needs — such as getting food, water, gasoline and other essentials to people.”
If you are in government, you've got to get out of this mindset that we can manage no matter how big the disaster is.
Here’s another excerpt from a local New Orleans newspaper:
Public officials should make it as easy as possible for retailers -- who have a profit motive, as well as a desire to help their communities -- to get back up and running. That could mean relaxing curfews so stores can restock at night or suspending zoning rules so operators can do business in a parking lot. Such steps, in turn, would help ensure a speedier return of normalcy.Read the rest of the story at The Times-Picayune.
Why is it one minute after the disaster, we think government is going to do everything? The more goods and services that the private sector is able to provide to meet the needs, then (government) can focus on the most needy and vulnerable areas.
I think this is a hard lesson for us to learn in government: The bigger the disaster is, the less likely you're going to control much of anything. It takes a team. It doesn't take a dictator.