Case Study: EMAC & ASFPM's CFM Certification Helped Support Disaster Response Following Hurricanes Katrina & Rita
EMAC, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, is a congressionally ratified organization that provides form and structure to interstate mutual aid. Through EMAC, a disaster impacted state can request and receive assistance from other member states quickly and efficiently, resolving two key issues upfront: liability and reimbursement.
Since its inception, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) has become an increasingly familiar component of the Nation's emergency response portfolio as governors look to one another for the resources best suited for State and local operations.
Hurricane Katrina made landfall for the first time on August 25, 2005, in Florida before making its second and third landfalls on August 29 in southeast Louisiana. Katrina was followed by Hurricane Rita on September 24, resulting in EMAC personnel deployments that exceeded the combined deployment of all previous EMAC activations several times over. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita together generated a total of 2,181 mission requests resulting in 65,929 personnel deployed from 48 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This volume of activity stressed and tested EMAC's capabilities. In some cases, the descriptions of skills needed could not be easily matched with volunteers available.
State of Mississippi requests CFMs via EMAC
The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) has established a national program for professional certification of floodplain managers. The program recognizes continuing education and professional development that enhance the knowledge and performance of local, state, federal, and private-sector floodplain managers.
By specifically requesting Certified Floodplain Managers (CFMs), the State of Mississippi was able improve EMACs ability to locate volunteers that met the State's needs in the aftermath of Katrina. Not only did it make it easier for EMAC to locate potential volunteers, it helped ensure that volunteers had a solid understanding of the National Flood Insurance Program and would not require training prior to be deployed.
The ASFPM Executive Office assisted State floodplain staff interested in volunteering in the use of EMAC by:
- Putting up a web page for volunteers with information on how to use EMAC, training available and what they should take with them if they were deployed.
- Sending out routine emails to all State Floodplain Managers providing information on how State and local government employees can sign up to volunteer using the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).
- Compiling contact information and technical skills for all floodplain managers that expressed interest in volunteering along with a preferred schedule for all volunteers so that States needing assistance could go to their EMAC coordinator and request specific people for specific time periods.
Information on EMAC is available at: http://www.emacweb.org/
Information on ASFPM's CFM program can be viewed at: /index.asp?menuid=426&firstlevelmenuid=180&siteid=1