National county survey looks at local preparedness
| 12.06.2006 | 06:50:00 | Views: 2669 | ID:
December 6 '06: More than seventy-five percent of all counties in the US have established an emergency management agency and have begun to implement a host of other preparedness-related initiatives according to a survey of counties released by the National Association of Counties and the National Center for the Study of Counties at the University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
Although many of the findings of the survey showed a general proactivitiy among first responders, law enforcement officials and government leaders, there were gaps in community-based cooperative efforts with schools, and private organizations.The survey reported, "Most collaborative activities have been limited to informal agreements and joint planning activities. Only about half of US counties have formal agreements in place, usually with a state agency or other county governments. ... Most county disaster plans do address special populations. This is especially true for minorities, non-English-speaking persons, homeless and indigent persons." However, despite those gaps, there were significant changes - post-9/11 - to local county preparedness and the ways by which local county leaders addressed and communicated their response and preparedness plans. The survey found that 78 percent of all counties across the US have established an emergency management office that operates separately from fire and police departments. Additionally, two-thirds of those counties who responded said they have conducted "some type of emergency management training exercise within the last year." The survey also found that many local emergency management budgets saw a raise their their annual operational fund and that the 2005 hurricane season did little to improve that funding. Thirty-eight percent of all counties do not have "a mobile operations command unit, and one in four has no alternate command center of any type," the survey reported.
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