Ok. So everyone here has had days to criticize the President, The Gov, the Mayor, the police the National Guard etc etc etc with regard to the "post event response"
Granted there is probably an equal amount of blame to all of these people.
However, there is a common thread in all the problems here.
It amounts to communication and authority.
Over and over again you here rescue workers telling us they are waiting for authorization to go in... you here officials claiming they cannot communicate to others... you here police and security saying they have no idea whats going on...
As I have explained in a number of posts, every govt agency on every level is tasked with producing plans that confront these exact issues among other things.
[B]DELEGATIONS OF AUTHORITY[/B]. To ensure rapid response to any emergency situation requiring COOP plan implementation, agencies should pre-delegate authorities for making policy determinations and decisions at headquarters, field levels, and other organizational locations, as appropriate. These delegations of authority should:
(1) Identify the programs and administrative authorities needed for effective operations at [U]all organizational levels having emergency responsibilities[/U];
(2) Identify the circumstances under which the authorities would be exercised;
(3) Document the necessary authorities [U]at all points where emergency actions may be required[/U], delineating the limits of authority and accountability;
(4) State explicitly the authority of designated successors to exercise agency direction, including any exceptions, and the successor’s authority to re-delegate functions and activities as appropriate;
(5) Indicate the circumstances under which delegated authorities would become effective and when they would terminate. Generally, [U]pre-determined delegations of authority would take effect when normal channels of direction are disrupted[/U] and would terminate when these channels have resumed;
(6) Ensure that officials who may be expected to assume authorities in an emergency are [U]trained to carry out their emergency duties[/U]; and,
(7) Specify responsibilities and authorities of individual agency representatives designated to participate as members of interagency emergency response teams.
So what does this all mean? Well, it would have made sure that there are people with executive decision making authority IN THE FIELD where it is needed. It means there would have been people with authority to order the support services into the area IMMEDIATELY even in the event of total communication breakdown. It means there would have been a contingency plan in place should critical personnel be lost / missing / killed as well.
Had these steps been implemented and trained, which is a NATIONAL STANDARD, you would have seen response and aid much, much sooner.
If you want to learn a little more about what I do and what it all means, please feel free to visit my website at:
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You'll find this article interesting- it goes hand-in-hand with your astute, almost prophetic comment about the buses being locked up:
[B]Firefighting gear stockpile unused
From CNN Producer Mike M. Ahlers[/B]
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Nine stockpiles of fire-and-rescue equipment strategically placed around the country to be used in the event of a catastrophe still have not been pressed into service in New Orleans, five days after Hurricane Katrina, CNN has learned.
Responding to a CNN inquiry, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Marc Short said Friday the gear has not been moved because none of the governors in the hurricane-ravaged area has requested it.
A federal official said the department's Office for Domestic Preparedness reminded the Louisiana and Mississippi governors' offices about the stockpiles on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither governor had requested it. (See the mayor blister feds for requiring formal queries for help -- 0:34)
The gear -- including generators, radios, breathing apparatus, cots and other items -- is stockpiled by DHS in nine locations. The three closest to New Orleans are College Station, Texas; Columbia, S.C.; and Clearwater, Fla. The gear is intended to replenish or sustain up to 150 first responders.
Contractors who maintain the gear are required to transport it to a disaster site no later than 12 hours after the initial request is made by local authorities and approved by DHS.
Short said that while the stashes contain some items like generators, much of the gear would not be useful in the circumstances faced by the Gulf Coast region.
But Steve Beaumont, a retired contract manager for Homeland Security's Prepositioned Equipment Program, said the gear would be helpful for fire departments wiped out by the hurricane. Each pod has 200 radios, including sophisticated equipment to make radios inter-operable, tying different communications systems together. (Watch the video of first responders in 'hell' -- 3:25)
"The concept was basically, if you had a major incident, this equipment could be brought into the city and reconstitute the local first responders. So they get fresh bunking gear, breathing apparatus," Beaumont said.
Each stockpile consists of a tractor-trailer filled with $2.2 million in gear, he said. Contractors are on call 24 hours a day to move the gear.
"There has been no movement of this equipment to this emergency. As of now there's been no movement at all," Beaumont said. (See the video of the mayor demanding feds to 'get off their asses' -- 12:09)
"I think it's sad because you've got almost ... $20 million worth of gear that's ready to be distributed. You've firefighters (in New Orleans) fighting fires in shorts. That tells me they're running out of stuff."
The project is run by DHS' Office for Domestic Preparedness.
Another point is that the bigger an organization is the harder to get things done efficiently--our Fed gov. is such a huge bureaucracy it's a wonder as much has been done as it it. Actually any other Fed program other than military would still be holding committee meeting to decide what to do.
That's why the mayor has the greater blame b/c he failed to use all his available resources to get things rolling.
[quote]The House approved Thursday a $23.6 billion measure for water and energy programs, with sizable increases for several New Orleans area flood-control projects. The Senate will vote Monday, but it may be a while before the bill is enacted.
President Clinton is promising to veto the annual appropriation for the Energy Department and Army Corps of Engineers, not because it is $890 million larger than he proposed, but because it does not include a plan to alter the levels of the Missouri River to protect endangered fish and birds.[/quote]