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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 5, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT

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two or three of the gaps that you identified and what you're doing to close them? .. moi kim en and explained what capabilities of the mabey requesting and then summarized the table top exercise.
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i would tell you that the biggest shortfall of this current hurricane season probably is in the brigade structure with the national guard because the brigades deploying. even though it is a shortfall in certain regions and it's not a short fall across the nation's it's a matter of reallocating forces and the national guard is working closely right now with the state general to identify the forces that can fill the shortfall so the brigade structure was one area. another was the number of rotary wing aircraft that could be depleting. again we looked across the states and there's plenty of assets available. it's identifying those in advance who would back up to in the states and on top of that we looked up the active component both army air force marines working with coast guard through dhs to see where the assets would be available as rotary wing would be called in to the emergency. the last area that leavitt mention that is of concern to us
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and we worked closely last week with u.s. transportation command, dhs, fema, health and human services and veterans administration is aeromedical deactivation. and i did we have improved greatly since the last hurricane season on the ability to identify patients that may be moved, how to receive them on the outbound end and the problem i think that we will face and we have brought about and discuss it at great length is the release time of the patients at local and state level because if you wait until the last moment we can only move so many patients so we are trying to have defense cordon in officers working closely with minister fugate's federal coordinating officer is to talk with locals and give them that time line and say if you make the decision and 40 hours years the number of patients we can still get aircraft in. >> i'm going to ask my staff of the next hearing to design a chart along the gulf coast from
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texas to new york and indicate how many nursing home patients live with than 30 miles of the coast and by going to provide those numbers for you because as you know in katrina we had a very unfortunate incident of dozens of patients drowned in those nursing homes. and of course, it was quite traumatic for the families as well as the victim's obviously. but i don't think people realize, like senator gramm just said, how many people live near this coast. and not everyone that lives near the coast has an automobile, not everyone is well, not everyone is strong enough or young enough to move out. they've got to have help moving out or be wealthy enough to afford the several thousand dollars at a minimum that it costs to leave your home for
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several days even if you managed to just find shelter in a tent there is some expense associated with this. and i just don't think people have an idea of this that have not recently gone through what some of our states have gone through, and lighting that you have identified this meant that situation as something the national guard and northcom can be very helpful because as you know, states normally governors might have one helicopter that move them around but we don't have helicopters that move like all the citizens of around so it would be helpful to have these duralast it's being able to do this evacuation. did you have a comment or question? >> very quickly. general, it's not a question of lack of capacity in terms of overall numbers for the guard. it's just the resources may not be in the right spot; is that
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correct? >> yes. >> i hear that recruiting retention as pretty good right now? >> they are over strength right now. >> how important is the guard and assistance in terms of the different agencies involved? how important as the guard -- what role do they play? >> i can't talk for the national guard being eight title x satloff search right now serving its northern command the iger opening guard so i will talk about my experiences from the past but they are the first responders in the fire departments, emergency responders and the governor and so they are going to be their first and it behooves us at northcom to understand their capability, look at their response times because of the are successful with the local level that is less federal assets we have to put forward. >> you don't see need for this committee of the armed services committee to plus up anything, it is just to redistribute and
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reorganize what we have got? >> yes, senator. the congress has been very gracious with the department of defense and our ability to look at the ten essentials we use in the homeland as capabilities we respond to disasters and we are coming along very well and proving that capability especially in equipping of the ten essentials. >> thank you. mr. fugate, would you comment from your perspective on the national guard, the role of the national guard and do you find the to the central? how do you want to position your organization with it and if you could do that in one minute or less or two and also comment on this idea that has been moving up around here about a sort of civilian ready reserve that could supplement both fema and the national guard in terms of trained personnel that could be called out in the event of a
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catastrophic disaster which obviously we can't maintain on call every day, but it would be nice to maybe have something like that. maybe we don't need it. maybe that is what the red cross is going to do or the role the national guard plays but if there is a gap, comment on the national guard and is ready reserve idea. >> thank you. national guard is a key component of any ability to respond to disasters. they are a force multiplier for the local and state responders and again, after with your leadership upon my confirmation one of my first visits with general mckinley having worked closely with my tag knowing that relationship and again, we have a very strong statewide mutually system and we leverage that national guard so that as the unit's rotate in and out we have capability and identify with other states and in addition there's a lot of work done within the tax to make sure
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things such as joint operation center training are ready to go and support each other so i think is a good team and it is a key component of the national defense strategy but best important they are the first of the assets on the governor's authority and those governors can request from other state governors additional guard units as part of their authority managing a disaster. as far as the reserve component there's actually requirements that have been provided in the reformat for the bill and take existing structures and build more professional response force and provide more training capabilities within our reserve force and so we are looking at that. as far as a standing reserve, that would be something i would like to further research plan think there are elements of that we are seeing in some of the programs where we are not creating so much a formal research process but building communities response teams at the training and in many cases
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it is building capabilities that are more adequately leveraged at the local level by enhancing through community emergency response team through the capitol of these people stand ready to help in their neighborhoods and calamities when disaster strikes. >> thank you. general, i have one more question for you and then one more for mr. fugate and we are going to move to the next panel and a minute. brandt you all did your assessment of the joint task force were the significance of particularly the coast. all of the coast have port assets, port assets that of course must be maintained not just for the benefit of those communities but in the nation's economy depends and in some measure you could say the world's economy depends on the continued operations of these major ports. many of them obviously if you start from houston and work your
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way up are many major airports that can be affected. and we saw when katrina hit one of the largest by volume port in the nation was shot down a long period of time and gas and oil operations of the gulf coast came precariously close. had retek hit houston, which it did not, it hit close to houston, it's, you know, it was very interesting as someone might want to write what could have happened to the price of oil and gas had both the port of new orleans and port of houston and almost all offshore operations at that point would have been shot down for quite some time. that didn't happen but it would be an interesting research project. but what is your responsibility to the ports keeping them open and how did you will discuss that at your exercise and could
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you testify to that point, please? >> madam chairman, again, working with fema and i will give you an example what we did during hurricane ike last year we worked with coast guard through dhs and fema and fema requested an fabius ship be deployed into the gulf and the port of galveston was devastated by hurricane ike and there was 100 obstacles in the channel, and so the uss nassau was deployed there. we have any given day two ships on the east coast and to on the west coast primarily amphibious ships that can take on the tight q1 load, vessels out the back that can respond and we had navy seabees on board that went ashore and worked with locals. again working at the request of fema. >> you said you have two ships on the east and west coast.
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do you have any on the gulf coast? >> i'm not at this point but the two on the east coast would respond if you had enough notice? >> yes, ma'am, if we've received a notice from fema we are prepared to move those and as we move those we are looking at the path to try to get as close into a port as we can in the storm passed. >> last question, mr. fugate and i'm going to submit several about pets, about community disaster loans and other things, trailers, alternative housing, but because my time is short and the season is now in a storm will hit this debris removal for local communities is a nightmare and it causes and medicated pain and suffering on the part of local officials that one of the first things they have to do is remove debris. and we had just one headache after another about fema's rules
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and regulations that when something like this, if the tree limb was more than 5 inches around you got reimbursed at 100%. if it was 4 inches you got 80% and if it was 2 inches, you got 30%. i make saturating a little bit but for the purposes of this hearing what has been changed about debris removal and a catastrophic or major storm? what hope could you give these local officials that that is one of their immediate headaches torian to clear the streets, clear the roads so that people can get back? obviously with debris no one can move, that has to be done. and it seems to me we keep making mistake after mistake after mistake. so what can you do as the fema director to put a system in place that's clear, easy-to-use and cost-effective? we are not asking the federal government to pick up 100%, but
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we are asking the federal government to have clear rules and regulations so the local officials can actually begin the recovery because without the debris removal there is no recovery. >> madame chair, diprete and emergency protective measures are those things i think we have to make sure we know what the outcome is so we can get there quickly and that is to get debris where we can get access and the community and number two we get the debris upsweep prevent the problems it creates and begin the recovery. there were some successful programs, they were pilots i would like to revisit that provide a better incentive financially to the local governments and states who went ahead and developed the plan said they had many of these questions answered and they knew what they were going to but i think it is also incumbent upon us to make sure guidance is providing clear direction without being a process that is a difficult as a local official
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the only way i can understand is to hire former fema officials to explain the rules i am now having to seek reimbursement from the federal government in my time of need. >> thank you very much. thank you. the panels have been wonderful. i wish we could spend more time but we will follow up. thank you. if the second panel would come forward. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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if you all would take your seats, please. thank you very much for joining us. i would like to introduce all of you and then in the order i do so you're asked to proceed with your opening remarks. our first witness today on the second panel will be george foresman. mr. foresman co-chairs the advisory board for the corporate crisis response officers association. he's also the former undersecretary for preparedness and emergency response at the department of homeland security. the corporate crisis response offices association is a new organization chartered to identify train and engage crisis response officers and new
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corporate positions as local contact points for the public sector. so i am as the chair of this committee and you heard mr. fugate say we look to the private-sector for partners. we want to not only look to the private sector for partners but i want to look to the private sector for better technologies, operations and efficiencies that we can of course incorporate into the government response and we thank you very much for your testimony today. we are anxious to hear your views and perspectives. next we will hear from armand mascelli vice president for operations at the american red cross. mr. mascelli is responsible for cord meeting red cross response to major domestic disasters for managing organizations disaster logistics' technology and human resource systems. i'm very interested i understand the red cross since katrina has gone through a major reorganization and we are looking forward to hearing some
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of the outcomes today. and finally, last but certainly not least this is janet durden, president of north west united way serves as coordinating council person for louisiana 211 but this is a nationwide emergency response system that i think can be very helpful in all of the issues we have talked about this morning. so, mr. foresman, if you will begin. thank you. >> senator, thank you very much -- [inaudible] >> can you pull the microphone a little bit closer, there you go. >> normally might booming voice works wonders. senator landrieu, thank you for the opportunity to be with you this morning and talk about the important work of the community partnership. we've provided written testimony respectfully requested it be included in the record. the ready come into partnership is an initiative of corporate
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crisis response officers association six to identify and implement best practices that helps support improvements in public and private sector response and recovery efforts. this initiative is grassroots developed by a coalition of public and private sector leaders who recognize better prepared netz for emergencies and disasters could and so we depend on actions of the federal government or in fact government alone. this initiative is centered on community-based approach that seeks to further galvanize the resources of the public and private sectors to address large skill crisis in the community. these two sectors depend on each other on day-to-day life of the community as they collaborate how to improve economic competitiveness, schools and infrastructure. the partnership operates under a tenant that the dependency should be just as strong if not stronger during a crisis. it today even falling katrina and countless other disasters widespread cultural belief remains in visions crisis response and recovery during the first critical 72 hours has been
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government centric with private-sector engagement limited to those for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations to deliver essential services like electricity, phone, degree remove or disaster aid. as a result of broad private-sector is viewed as part of the victim population rather than a potential community resources to be leveraged to tva suffering and speed up recovery and communities return to normal. the r. dee community partnership seeks to give local political and business leaders as well as emergency managers and additional low-cost tool to improve private sector integration for postage and crisis management efforts while simultaneously acknowledging it must be accomplished in a manner that complements existing government centered community preparedness initiatives. specific to the challenges we face the up coming hurricane season america's newest fema administrator greg fugate provide a compelling update on the readiness for the upcoming season. i cannot think of a better or
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more qualified professional to beat fema. i will also offer as someone associated with the field more than a quarter century critic and his management team are collectively the most diverse qualified and hands on experience group to occupy the seats of the agency. this has bolstered by the talented group and organization the department of homeland security. it gives me optimism and should give optimism to americans the federal government is continuing to perform and improve its ability to support communities and states dealing with emergency disasters of all kinds. but to be fair however even with this great leadership team the federal government is but one part of america's prepared this equation. federal readiness shouldn't imply national readiness other parts, local and state government nonprofit, private sector and american citizens have equally compelling important roles in all aspects of communities. in all aspects of communities deal just government actions we need to make sure the entire community is ready for the
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hurricane season. our recent work with private-sector to the flu outbreak provides anecdotal evidence to suggest pipe was sector prepared eckert and consistent and not necessarily like were made with government officials and communities where these businesses operate. even with heightened attention to nationwide pandemic planning over the past four years there's been surprised at the number of businesses large and small who find nothing at the assumption their local state and federal governments will and can do everything in a crisis like a hurricane or pandemic appears at the front door. yet at the same time we have seen and of a hurricane preparedness efforts along the gulf coast and atlantic coast between local and state governments and private sector and in states such as florida. but unfortunately these are all replicate across all states will rebel to hurricane strike. in light of both we are left to conclude on the whole community preparedness with a mix of private and public collaboration
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and mutual dependence is lacking. this will create requirements for government and federal government. this committee knows it preparedness efforts leaders make the difference. business and government making political and economic business case crisis prepare this is essential to the fiscal and economic survival in light of today's communities states and businesses there's little margin for error in terms of the efficiencies applied how we respond to and recover from disasters. the community's partnership has seen the value of businesses large and small designating corporate crisis response of the search you work hand-in-hand with government in preparation for and response and recovery to a crisis. these predicted contact points along with collaboration enhanced because when something bad happens to write public officials are talking at the right time about, mr. mascelli,
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am i pronouncing that correct? >> senter, thank you. it's an honor to testify before you on behalf of the american red cross. we appreciate this opportunity to share the details and ability to respond to the challenges that may face the american people during the coming months. before i begin my testimony i would like to take the opportunity to thank the new fema administrator for his work in florida and express appreciation of the red cross for his support to the disaster preparedness response efforts in the state. for more than 125 years the red cross has provided released to the victims of disasters help families and individuals prevent prepare for and respond to emergencies from single-family house fires to large-scale disasters like hurricanes to red cross works to provide essential life savings sustaining services to those in need. we shelter, feet, provide
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critical supplies and emotional support to those impacted by disasters in communities across the country. we rely heavily on generous contributions from the public including donations of time, money and blood. today the report on preparations for the upcoming hurricane season. our organization on the local and national level operates at constant cycle of responding to disasters preparing for the future. red cross regularly participates in activities to build capacity to partner to plant prepare exercise and evaluate our -- organization. if completed a detailed
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assessment of communications equipment inventory and verify their readiness of our nation wide disaster fleet. the national shelter system is ready and now contains shelter locations and capacity information for over 55,000 buildings that could be potentially used to shelter across the country. the national shelter system is used for planning and operational decisions and includes openings and overnight populations on a daily basis. we have made the national shelter system available to fema and to all the states free of charge. and it's also currently being used by 12 other national non-government partners. stephan for disaster operations is also a critical function requires that financed planning. while we focus on the use of local volunteers and when possible we also have a cadre of people trained and available to leave their communities to go to
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disasters. that number is now 90,000 which is a substantial increase from 23,000 we had available for hurricane katrina. these disaster workers are trained for specific jobs and we are now in the process of evaluating the availability for disasters over the next several months. since hurricane katrina is a result of several after action imports including one from the senate committee on homeland security and government affairs the red cross is focus more resources on coordination with federal, state and local government with support from fema we currently about four times read cross representatives in ten of the fema regional offices and we also have two additional staff working at fema headquarters. i've also asked the staff members to work with a national disaster housing task force. during the last few we've been working with governments, state governments and improving planning for example the red
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cross and state of louisiana working towards a single unified sheltering plan discussions are continuing with state department of social services and governor's office of homeland security emergency preparedness about mutual logistics and sheltering for people with critical transportation needs. we recently participate in the state of florida and emergency major disaster exercise and with fema with a table top exercise category four hurricane affecting savannah, georgia. we also were dissipated recently in a cab and a little exercise that dealt with a category three making landfall near new york city. identifying new and strengthening existing partnerships continued to be a strong priority of my organization. on the local level, chapters partner with local community faith based and civic organizations and we've also stepped up efforts to ensure
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communities to 11 organizations of current disaster information. i would like to acknowledge to ms. durden the good work united way has been doing in this area. in addition we cultivate its strength in partnerships with such diverse groups as help nationwide to national association of colored people to the legal services corporation in the buddhist foundation and an additional we've worked closely with national association interpreters, translators to national virtual translation center, national council of la raza, national disability rights network and save the children. we've also worked with pat rights groups such as u.s. humane society. seeing my time is short i will move on to say that the red cross is also involved and continuing to improve


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