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Disasters Results

Disasters Results

Since 9/11, DHS has made significant progress in how we respond to a wide range of threats, from natural disasters to coordinated attacks.

Establishing and improving a unified incident command system

  • FEMA has established sixteen Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) that utilize the ICS as their core organizational management structure.
  • Using the authorities outlined under the Homeland Security Presidential Directive -5 and the Stafford Act, FEMA leads the federal interagency team in support of state governors. 
  • Throughout the devastating multi-state flooding and tornado response operations during the spring of 2011, FEMA-led teams successfully implemented the National Incident Management System and ICS to achieve fully coordinated interagency and intergovernmental operations to best meet the needs of survivors.

Enhancing Emergency Communication Infrastructure and Improving Interoperability

  • Emergency and Interoperable Communications Plans: In 2008, the DHS Office of Emergency Communications (OEC) developed the National Emergency Communications Plan in coordination with more than 150 public safety practitioners at all levels of government and across responder disciplines, which serves as the first nationwide strategic plan to improve emergency communications and drive measurable progress.
  • Urban Area Emergency Communications: In 2010, OEC worked with 60 urban areas to assess emergency communications during a real-world situation.  All 60 urban areas successfully demonstrated appropriate response-level emergency communications.

Building Nuclear, Radiological, and Biological Preparedness and Response Measures

  • State and Local Radiological Emergency Preparedness: DHS’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office has trained more than 23,000 state and local officers and first responders in radiological and nuclear detection. In addition, through the Securing the Cities initiative, nearly 13,000 personnel in the New York City region have been trained in preventive radiological and nuclear detection operations and nearly 8,500 pieces of radiological detection equipment have been deployed.  The Administration has proposed expanding the Securing the Cities initiative to additional high risk regions of the country.
  • BioWatch: BioWatch is a federally-managed, locally-operated, nationwide bio-surveillance system designed to detect the intentional release of aerosolized biological agents.  Through the BioWatch program, an environmental surveillance system that provides early detection of biological agents, DHS’s Office of Health Affairs has collected over 1.1 million samples in more than 30 cities nationwide over the past five years to enhance protection and preparedness for high-consequence biological threats.

Private Sector Preparedness

  • Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Accreditation and Certification Program (PS-Prep™): DHS created the PS-Prep™ program, a partnership between DHS and the private sector that enables private entities to receive emergency preparedness certification. Under PS-Prep™, DHS and FEMA adopted three industry standards to assist organizations in assessing their preparedness and resiliency.  In March 2012, DHS certified the first private sector company certified DHS-selected standards under the PS-Prep program.
  • Ready Business Campaign: FEMA promotes private sector preparedness through its Ready Business campaign, a nationwide initiative that provides materials to businesses to encourage continuity planning and crisis management.  Ready Business is part of larger preparedness outreach efforts by FEMA that include the Ready campaign and Citizen Corps, to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.
  • Risk Mitigation Training: Each year, more than 33,000 state, local and private sector partners participate in risk mitigation training on a range of topics including managing floodplain development, planning for post-disaster integrated management, conducting benefit cost analysis and emergency management planning, preparedness, training and education.

Allocating Homeland Security Funding Based on Risk

  • Since fiscal year 2003, DHS has awarded more than $36 billion in preparedness grant funding based on risk to build and sustain targeted capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from threats or acts of terrorism and natural disasters.
  • Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (THIRAs): Beginning in FY 2012, all states receiving homeland security grant funding are required to develop and maintain a Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment, which includes the range of threats and hazards faced by an applicant. Through the THIRA process, states will compare existing capabilities with target capabilities to identify potential gaps and focus grant funding accordingly. 
  • The National Preparedness Goal: In 2011 DHS announced the country's first-ever National Preparedness Goal required under Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 8. The goal sets the vision for nationwide preparedness and identifies the core capabilities and targets necessary to achieve preparedness across five mission areas laid out under PPD 8: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. To support this effort, DHS completed the first Strategic National Risk Assessment in 2011, which helped identify the types of incidents that pose the greatest threat to the nation’s homeland security.
  • FY 2012 Grant Allocations: All fiscal year (FY) 2012 grant funding was tied to the five mission areas and core capabilities of the National Preparedness Goal. Grant funding is provided to states, tribes, territories, and local communities to build preparedness capability at all levels.

See Disasters Overview

Last Published Date: November 1, 2013
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