The Federal Emergency Management Agency should be an independent agency
There are many people advocating against Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) convergence into the Department of Homeland Security because of FEMA’s poor response to Hurricane Katrina. FEMA should become an independent agency to avoid confusion with state and local officials. FEMA’s only mission is to be the first responders for catastrophic events and it shouldn’t be burdened with waiting for authority from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and advocate for their share of funding.
Speaking hypothetically, if you were ever involved in a natural disaster you would like to know that FEMA’s only mission is to help your family and your community to recover from a tragic event, where you have lost everything you hold dear. As an independent agency, FEMA would be one of the first organizations to respond to disasters because their sole purpose would be to help recover and mitigate, while other organizations hold their priorities in other matters.
Since the Federal Emergency Management agency converged with the Department of Homeland Security, it has become more difficult for state and local officials to know who to contact to receive immediate help. FEMA should not have to rely on the DHS for authority or funding. “You have agencies within DHS all trying to vie for their piece of attention from the secretary, for their piece of pie from the budget, and I just think it’s not a good culture for FEMA to be in,” says Russ Decker, the emergency management agency director for Allen county in northwestern Ohio.’
FEMA needs to become an independent agency to regain their authority and their previous funding. FEMA’s new priority since 2003 is focusing on increasing their funding to prepare for any possible acts of terrorism. Letting FEMA become an independent agency again will only help it become fully prepared for a natural disaster. In allowing the agency to become independent again, FEMA could be prepared to face an event like the terrible disaster that was witnessed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina without any hesitation to respond.