tv [untitled] CSPAN June 6, 2009 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT
a disaster. as far as the reserve component, there's some requirement that is have been provided in the post katrina reform act to build a more professional response force and provide more training and capabilities within our eserve force. so we are looking at that. as far as a standing reserve, that would be something i would like to further research. but i think there's some elements of na that we're seeing in some of our programs that we're not creating so much a formal reserve process but building like community emergency response teams through the training. and in many cases building cape wrablets that are more adequately leveraged at the local level by enhancing through community emergency response teams, through citizen corps capabilities that people stand ready to help in their neighborhoods and communities. . .
in some measure, you could say that the world economy depends on the continued operation of these major ports. many, if you start from houston and work your way to new york, major ports could be affected. and we saw one of the largest by volume and katrina hit in the nation shutdown for a long time.
the oil and gas operations came precariously close. it hit close to houston. it is interesting but someone might want to write what happened. almost all operations would have been shut them for some time. that did not happen, but it would be an interesting research project. what is your responsibility to keeping the ports open, and how do you want to do that? could you testify to that point, please? >> working with fema, and that with it yet example of what we did with hurricane at ike, we went through the coast guard, with dhs and fema, and fema
recommended a ship pointed into the gulf. the port of galveston was devastated by the hurricane, and there were over 100 obstacles and the channel. the uss national was the point where -- we have at any given the date ships on the east and west coasts that can take over. also, the type you on load vessels out of the back and they respond. they work with locals to try and open the port. again, working on the request of fema. >> do you have any ships on the gulf coast? >> not at this point. but the east coast will respond. >> and they are able to get that time? >> yes. if we get a request from fema, we are prepared to move, and as we do, we're looking for the
excuse. >> last question. community disaster loans and other things. because my time is short, this debris removal is a nightmare, causing mitigated pain and suffering on the part of local officials. one of the first things they have to do is remove debris. we had one headache after another about fema's rules and regulations that went something like this. if a tree limb was more than 5 inches around, you got reimbursed 100%. 4 inches, 80%. 2 inches, 30%. i'm exaggerating a little bit. but what has been changed about
debris removal in a catastrophic storm? what hope could you get these officials that that is one of their immediate headache, to clear the road to people can get back with debris there. no one can move. it has to be done. and it seems to me that we keep making a mistake after mistake after mistake. so what can you do to keep a system in place that is clear, easy to use, and cost effective? we're not asking the government to do 100%, but we're asking for regulations so locals can begin recovery. without a greek removal, there is no recovery -- without debris removal. >> debris and protective measures are two things we have to make sure we know what the
outcome is. we can begin to recover from the problems it creates. there were successful programs started. i would like to revisit them. they provided a better financial incentive to other governments who went ahead and build a plant. seoul -- and had a plan. so it is upon us to make sure our guides provide clear direction, without the difficult process. the only way i can understand it is to hire former officials and contractors to explain to me the rules i will have to seek reimbursement from the federal government in my time of need. >> thank you very much. you have been wonderful. i wish we could spend more time.
you are asked to proceed with your opening remarks. we have the emergency response department of homeland security. the corporate crisis response is a new organization targeted to identify, train, and engage new officers as local contact for the public sector. i want to look to the private sector for better technology, operations, and technologies.
we thank you very much, and we're anxious to hear your views and perspectives. next we will hear from arman maselli, vice president of disaster operations at the red cross. he is responsible for coordinating response to domestic disasters, and managing logistics technology and resource systems. the chain has gone through a major reorganization, and we're looking forward to hearing some of the outcomes today. and last but not least, janet burton, president of northeast louisiana united way who said she served as corny councilperson for louisiana 211,
a nationwide response system which can be very, very helpful in all of the issues we talked about this morning. so if you will again, thank you. pull the microphone closer. there you go. >> normally, my booming voice works wonders. thank you for the opportunity to be with you this afternoon and talk about the important work of the partnership. we provided testimony and request it be included in the record. the partnership is an initiative of the corporate crisis response officers association, seeking to identify and implement best practices and support improvements in public and private sector does after reports, response, and recovery efforts. this is grass roots, developed by a coalition who recognize the better prepared this does not so
we depend on the actions of the federal government alone. this is centered on a community- based approach which seeks to further galvanize resources of public and private sectors to address a large-scale presence to the community. these sectors depend on each other day today as they collaborate on how to improve their economic competitiveness, schools, and infrastructure. there is a tenant and that dependency should be just as strong, if not stronger, during crisis. yet today, and widespread cultural belief remains that crisis response and recovery during this critical 72 hours has been limited to those companies and nonprofit organizations that were essential services like electricity, debris removal, or disaster aid. the private sector is viewed as part of the population, rather
than a community of resources that will alleviate suffering and speed up recovery. the community partnership seeks to give managers a low-cost tool to improve private sector organization for. and post event management efforts well simultaneously in acknowledging that it must be accomplished in a manner that knowledge is initiatives for prepared this. the newest administrator provided a compelling updates. i cannot think of a better or more qualified professional police team. i would also operate someone associated for more than a quarter century, collectively the most diverse, qualified, and hands on the agency. this is bolstered by the talented group and parent organization, the department of
homeland security. this should give optimism to americans that the federal government continues to reform and improve its abilities in dealing with emergencies and disasters of all kinds. to be fair, even with this great team, the federal government is but one part of the prepared this equation -- preparedness equation. local and state governments, nonprofit, the private sector and private citizens have compelling an important role in all aspects of the community. in all aspects of community, we gotta make sure the entire community is ready for the hurricane season. our study provides anecdotal evidence that preparedness efforts are inconsistent. even with heightened attention to nationwide pandemic planning of the last four years, there
has been a surprising number of businesses large and small but have done nothing at the assumption that the local federal and state governments can do everything that when a crisis appears at the front door. at the same time, we have seen in to native -- innovative measures between local and state government and the private sector. unfortunately, these are not replicated across all states vulnerable to a hurricane strike. in light of both, we're left to conclude that mutual dependence is lacking. this committee knows that leaders make a difference. business and government. crisis prepared this is essential to physical and economic survivors.
there is little margin for error in terms of the efficiency apply to how we respond to and recover from the disaster. the community partnership has seen the value of business designating corporate response officers to work hand-in-hand with passion for crisis. these. -designated conference points in hats response -- and hence response, because we're talking at the right time about the right issues. thank you for coming today, and i look forward to your questions. >> senator, thank you very much. it is an honor to testify before you. we appreciate the opportunity to share details about responding.
i would like to take this opportunity to thank our new administrator for his work in florida and his appreciation of the red cross. we helped individuals respond to emergencies. from single-family house buyers -- fires to others, the red cross workers to provide services to those in need. we provide support. it relies heavily on generous contributions from the public, including donations of time, money, and blood. today i read about preparations for the upcoming season.
there is a constant cycle. we regularly participate in activities to build capacity to prepare and exercise, and we will evaluate our capabilities. typically, responding to traders and floods in one part of the country will prepare you for potential demands of the upcoming hurricane season. to meet expected needs, resources have been prepositioned for easy access and mobilization in our warehouses. we have tried to verify their readiness of our nationwide disastrously. the shelter system is ready with capacity information for over 55,000 buildings that could be used as shelters across the
country. the national shelter system is used for planning and operational decisions, reporting openings and closings and overnight decisions on a daily basis. we make the system available free of charge. it is also being used by 12 other national non-government partners. staffing for disaster operations is also a critical function, requiring advanced planning. we focus on the use of volunteers and when possible also have a cadre of people trained and available to go to disasters. the number is now 90,000, an increase from the 23,000 we had available for hurricane katrina. these workers are trained for specific jobs, and we are now in the process of evaluating their availability for disasters and the next several months.
her career and katrina it is a result of several reports -- hurricane katrina is a result of several reports. we have to focus more resources on cornish with state and local governments. with support from team up, -- fema, we got full-time representatives for offices and also have two additional staff working at the national headquarters. we also have passed a staff member to work with the housing task force. we have been working with governments, state governments, in improving planning. for example, the red cross in louisiana is working toward a single, unified sheltering plan. discussions continue with the state department of social services and the governor's office of homeland security emergency preparedness about mutual logistics' for people with transportation needs.
the major disaster exercise emerges, with category 4 hurricanes affecting savannah, georgia. we also participated in a cabinet-level exercise that dealt with category three, making landfall in new york city. identifying new and strengthening existing partnerships continues to be a strong priority of my organization. on the local level, we partner with local community organizations and have stepped up efforts to ensure organizations have disaster in permission -- information. i would like to acknowledge the work done in this area. we called it a strong partner shops -- develop strong partner
-- developed a strong partnerships with various organizations. in addition, we worked closely with the national association of judicial interpreters and translators, the national virtual translation center, the national council of la raza, the disability rights network, and save the children. worked for groups such as u.s. humane society. seeing that my time is short, i will move on to say that the red cross is also involved in continuing to approve our response in a cost-effective way. the most vulnerable are magnified by disasters at the same time the charitable donations are decreasing. like many, we are faced with financial challenges. the major disasters of 2008,
wild fires, flooding, and hurricanes, created expenses that far outpaced the nation's. with that, i will conclude my presentation. if you have questions, i would be happy to answer them. >> thank you. it is a privilege to be able to speak today on behalf of united way and its system across america. as you are aware, 211 is a referral line connecting people to existing resources on rent and mortgage assistance, as well as food and utility assistance. however, 211 plays a vital role in disaster response and recovery. trained specialists to assist callers in times of natural disasters, providing real-time information on shelter location,
food and water, distribution, and important evacuation routes. 211 and december rates -- disseminates information and relieves the overworked 911 dispatchers ticking non- emergency calls. as you are aware, 211 was truly a bright spot during a difficult time in our state and responding to the 2005 hurricanes, katrina and rita. prior to landfall of katrina, the office had to close. our united way, northeast louisiana, monroe, began taking all calls directed from new orleans. overnight, we expanded from a four-person office center in monroe to a 65-per 211. we had additional support debt was outstanding -- that was outstanding from centers across
america. there were hundreds of local volunteers that responded. as a result of that, in monroe, 211 responded to more than 111,000 calls in two months. the volume peaked at 7000, 358 -- seven dozen 358. after 2005, -- 7358 respondents. we were even more prepare for 2008. we have a partially it to credit telephony, a statewide disaster plan, a central disaster database, and 24 hours out reached -- average. -- outreach. we answered calls between the 21st and 16th of september, 2008. at peak of that, we were assisted by the 211 system in
california, which was invaluable in expanding our capacity. in an eight-day window, the texas 211 answered 157,000 calls, an incredible response. inland, the aftermath of the hurricane caused unprecedented flooding and wind damage throughout the midwest. the 211 in missouri, indiana, and ohio played significant roles in recovery efforts. the 2009 effort is underway and i am pleased to report we have complete integrated telephony throughout louisiana, and an extended and it has its relationship with louisiana state government. i am pleased to tell you we have the red cross, 211, and national guard imbedded four months of planning that have been under way. third, i would tell you statewide, we have begun
response training for volunteers if called upon. however, there remain enormous vulnerabilities, and i would like to address them. the current economic climate has gone beyond capacity for system in many locations are around america. most 211s are in need. for example, generator, remote- control, calling ability, telephone service, and a significant concern to all but are the gaps along the u.s. atlantic coast. to properly respond, 211s across america need to unify technology and procedures serve to insure best responses. every american with any device, particularly cellular phones. 211s need a system of
interoperability with one another. we're in desperate need of congressional help to ensure a level response and meeting everyday needs. fortunately, congress can cure this will ability during this session by passing the 211 act before the next disaster. we are extremely grateful for your steadfast support of this legislation and a co-sponsor ship of the bill and ability to deliver on dedicated federal funding for louisiana this year. thank you for the opportunity, and i welcome the opportunity to answer questions. >> thank you very much. i appreciate the content and thoughtfulness that wanted to your testimony. i would like to start with a question here to you about this chart, the national shelter system. i know this was probably in your testimony, but could you take a minute to explain -- these are
the only official red cross shelters, and would you describe most of them as school buildings, or most of them as churches or places where people were shoot? -- were shipped -- worship? how can you describe the actual building that those dots represent. >> they have facilities there that can support a population. kitchens, bathrooms, etc. churches fill that bill readily. so most of them are churches or schools throughout the united states. we did have the shelters before katrina, but afterwards, we put them in a database, so for the
first time we could see where they were at short notice and, what could be available. and our local chapters report back to us on numbers, etc. >> the issue of school was interesting to me, because when people move into schools for a long time, it is hard to operate a school. and one of the essential ingredients of recovery for parents and children is to get their children appear -- children back as soon as possible. r