EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — October 11, 2006

Can We Ever Be Ready Enough?
A Group Discussion on Measuring Disaster Preparedness

Dan Robeson, CEM
Homeland Security Planner
Johnson County Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone and welcome to the EIIP Virtual Forum. Our topic today is the National Preparedness Goal and we are going to try something a little different.

We have pre-posted a list of ten discussion questions, which you can access at http://www.emforum.org/vforum/HSPD8questions.doc. Please note that you can also access the questions from a link on today's Background Page, and there are other links to related documents as well.

I will be pasting in the questions one at a time. After each question, our guest will input his comments, and then we will open the floor for YOUR comments.

Dan Robeson currently works for the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Department in Johnson County, Kansas. As the Homeland Security Planner, he coordinates a variety of emergency planning projects for the County. Before moving home to take his current position three years ago, Mr. Robeson had worked in emergency management in the private, non-profit, and public sectors including work on the city, County, State, Regional, and Federal levels.

Dan holds an undergraduate degree in Emergency Administration and Planning from the University of North Texas and is currently working on his Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas.

Dan had put some comments together on this topic which sparked our interest in doing today's discussion. There is a link to his comments on our Background Page as well. Welcome Dan. Please say hello to everyone.


Dan Robeson: Hello to everyone and thank you, Amy. I look forward to today's discussion.

Amy Sebring: To start us off, I will input the background information and our first question.

As you should recall, HSPD #8 was issued by the President December 17 2003, setting forth requirements of federal agencies, and certain conditions for states and local governments receiving preparedness grants.

What you may not be aware of is that the Congress incorporated the National Preparedness Goal into the recently passed appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security (see link on Background Page). HSPD #8 mandated: "To help ensure the preparedness of the Nation to prevent, respond to, and recover from threatened and actual domestic terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies, the Secretary, in coordination with the heads of other appropriate Federal departments and agencies and in consultation with State and local governments, shall develop a national domestic all-hazards preparedness goal."

The Homeland Security Appropriations bill that was just passed and signed by the President mandates: "The President, acting through the Administrator, shall complete, revise, and update, as necessary, a national preparedness goal that defines the target level of preparedness to ensure the Nation's ability to prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters."

Note the absence of any requirement in this language for consultation with State and local governments, (much less other key stakeholders or interested members of the public). Note also that the current HSPD #8 documents do not currently state an overall goal. Instead, a vision is stated: "To engage Federal, State, local, and tribal entities, their private and non-governmental partners, and the general public to achieve and sustain risk-based target levels of capability to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from major events in order to minimize the impact on lives, property, and the economy." From there the documents go on to describe selected priorities.

Question 1. Assuming that articulation of a National Preparedness Goal is fundamental to any base-line or future preparedness assessments, what process should be used to formulate a truly national preparedness goal (as opposed to a federal preparedness goal)? What is your experience with the process that has been used to date? Dan?

Dan Robeson: Defining "preparedness" for our nation and developing a system to achieve and maintain it at appropriate levels is a tremendously complex and challenging undertaking. Essentially, this is the mandate of HSPD-8. While establishing such a mechanism is paramount to effectively managing risk in our country, successfully implementing this policy is a particularly daunting task. This is especially difficult in the current environment where the system is being developed in the wake of two national tragedies and led by a newly established federal department.

In terms of what would be the most effective process in program formulation, it would have to be a process that embraces the all hazards approach and engages key stakeholders throughout the process. These stakeholders should include subject matter experts from every level of government, the non-profit and private sectors, and academia as well.

There is more than half of a century of research on this subject that already exists and can be built on. To DHS's credit, as stated in the TCL document (August, 2006), they have "adopted a "consensus of the community" approach, eliciting the active involvement of local, State, and Federal agencies, over 100 national associations, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Stakeholders participated through national stakeholder workshops, working groups, and broad national reviews." I can attest to this as I am currently participating in workgroup development of the new capabilities to be added to the TCL in its next update. However, it has been a concern of many that key players were left out of the initial policy development of the National Preparedness Goal and they have only been utilized as "reviewers" after the core policy had already been established.

Some have suggested that this exclusion has led to terrorism being the major focus of the National Preparedness Goal, as opposed to the all hazards risk based approach described in the HSPD-8 mandate. I am interested to hear what everyone else's thoughts and experience with this are.

Lloyd Colston: As I see it, the National Response Plan deals with National disasters or attempts to do so. In reality, all disasters are local. In our County, the last Federally-declared disasters were NOT on the 15-Scenario list. Therefore, I don't know how the Federal government can plan for all hazards when their 15-scenario document does not address all hazards.

Amy Sebring: We will come to that issue specifically in a moment Lloyd. We are looking for process comments. For example, the related documents are posted on a restricted site. Should they not be openly accessible?

Tina Field: I have to agree with the others - I represent a healthcare org and terrorism is the least of our worries.

Carolyn Harshman: Historically there have been numerous major events that have "distracted" us from watching for all hazards. I believe this legislation is another one of those distractions.

Lloyd Colston: For definition purposes, should not the Federal Response Plan and the National Response Plan be the same or at least parallel?

Dan Robeson: I think many of the components of the NRP reflect what was in the earlier FRP. There just seems to be more of a focus on terrorism in the NRP.

Lloyd Colston: Then, there needs to be clear articulation of that fact.

Question 2. What structure should a National Preparedness Goal have, that is, should there be long-term goals, interim goals, and objectives before getting into the details of specific strategies?

Dan Robeson: Yes, short-term goals and objectives have to be linked to our desired long-term outcomes. This ensures that our actions are based on and prioritized by our measured risk and our capability to effectively manage it. Without adherence to long-term goals, it is too easy to shift our focus and resources in reaction to the last disaster. This is not to say that we shouldn't re-prioritize our actions if our actual risk changes over time.

The structure of the National Preparedness goal should allow for the evaluation of the risks and the resultant needs of every jurisdiction. These assessments should help define risk and establish priorities at the regional, State, and Federal levels. This bottom-up evaluation will help determine effective strategies to ensure effective mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. Only through addressing each of these areas can we ensure that we are managing our risk at an optimal level.

Lloyd Colston: All hazards planning, preparedness, mitigation, and recovery have stood the test of time. I suggest we continue in that vein.

Tina Field: Can/how can we protect against the impact of changing administrations over a longer term perspective?

Dan Robeson: I believe we need to institutionalize a long-term strategy.

Rich Vandame: The terrorist incidents need the most work to plan and control. First on-scene probably is EMS or fire. Law enforcement incidents become more specialized due to possible crime scene requirements. Also, the FRP is replaced by the NRP.

Carolyn Harshman: I believe this hits at the core of the problem. In longer standing professions, such as engineering and medicine, there are core beliefs and standards. We are a young field and changing political agendas tend to stunt our growth.

Tina Field: Talking about all hazards, in the short, mid-term, what about pandemic planning? Much more likely I think than a bio attack.

Lloyd Colston: I would offer that Homeland Security has institutionalized a long term strategy to the exclusion of all hazards. That’s why we are having this discussion today. All disasters need command and control. That’s why there are incident management teams.

Jill Bushnell: For the nation to have a lasting long-term preparedness (or any) goal, it would have to touch upon how we define ourselves as a nation. It would have to reflect lasting American values, and our Constitution. If we could articulate what that appropriate, lasting goal is, we could figure out how to institutionalize it and break it into a series of short-term goals (that can evolve and change priority).

Question 3. What are some key elements that should be included in a long-term National Preparedness Goal? How comprehensive should the goal be in terms of hazards? Should local, State, and regional goals inform the national goal as opposed to the current practice of requiring the States to reflect the federal goal?

Dan Robeson: If you open any emergency management textbook, you will find that each of them describe some form of a risk analysis as the geneses of all activities in emergency management. The importance of this process is reiterated throughout academic literature and highlighted in the NFPA 1600, FEMA's Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR) program, and FEMA's SLG-101. It is a main tenet of emergency management and the first step to effectively managing risk. This is where we should start.

Risk Analysis: There should be a standardized mechanism for jurisdictions to assess their risk. This assessment should take into account the frequency and probability of occurrence of all hazards, the vulnerability to the hazards, and the consequence of the exposure. Federal, Regional, and State assessments should also be performed, taking into account the local assessments.

Capability Identification: Upon completion of the risk assessments, jurisdictions should identify the capabilities needed to manage their risk at optimal levels. These target capabilities would fall into two categories, those essential capabilities common to all hazards (core emergency management functions) and capabilities specific to relative risk. I make this distinction because maintaining an all-hazards comprehensive emergency management program is an essential capability that is routinely overlooked.

Capability Assessment: Once target capability levels are defined, jurisdictions should determine their shortfalls and prioritize what has to be accomplished to meet these target capability levels. In this assessment, primacy should be put on common capabilities, as they are essential to all disasters.

Implement Plan of Action: Jurisdictions should then seek to achieve their target capability levels through various methods (i.e., planning, increased collaboration, mitigation efforts, training, exercises, procurement, leveraging resources, etc.).

Evaluation: On a regular schedule, or after an exercise or live event, the capabilities should be evaluated.

Continue the Cycle: Then, on a regular cycle, we should analyze our risk again, and start the process over.

This process shouldn't be earth-shattering to anyone. It is a system that has been promoted in one form or another by many for a long time. While the methodology in the current National Preparedness Goal generally follows this process, it misses a few important pieces. Primarily, it overlooks the importance of a local risk analysis and needs assessment and the criticality of the common capabilities essential to emergency management. While federal guidance is needed to maintain and provide guidance for this assessment system, the assessments should roll up from the local level. This is the only way to determine our true risk and determine the needed capabilities.

As far as what hazards should be considered in our preparedness efforts, I don't see an advantage to using anything other than an all hazards approach. This ensures that we maintain two categories of capabilities, those essential capabilities common to all hazards (core emergency management functions) and the capabilities specific to relative risk.

Lloyd Colston: Bottom up. I think we should return our thinking to the Preparedness initiatives of the 80s. Hazard planning and mitigation funding to support LOCAL folks is superior to getting $$$ with no focus or plan.

Question 4. The now familiar '15 Planning Scenarios' have been used to identify priorities and Target Capabilities. These scenarios represent specific catastrophic events that may be geographically specific, such as major earthquake in California, catastrophic hurricanes on the coast, etc. How appropriate is this approach?

Dan Robeson: While scenario-based planning is a useful tool for conducting specific planning efforts and exercises, there is a concern that the current utilization of the National Planning Scenarios skews our preparedness capabilities to only address a limited number of specific hazards.

This could compromise our ability to consider and aptly prepare for the wide range of situations our Nation needs to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from.

Although the National Planning Scenarios are identified as "all-hazards scenarios", labeling them as such seems misleading and ultimately undermines the all-hazards concept. By definition, an all-hazards approach does not focus on specific hazards but concentrates on a solid framework that ensures jurisdictions will be better prepared for all disasters. From this framework, we can strengthen the functions common to most disasters and address those unique to specific hazards.

This idea is a main tenet of emergency management and is supported by decades of research in the subject and the leading scholars in the field.

If the scenarios continue to be used as the guide for our preparedness efforts, the scenarios at least need to be driven by a comprehensive risk assessment. Currently, the National Planning Scenarios are too focused on terrorism and catastrophic events, which limits our ability to adequately prepare for the hazards we are most likely to face. The 15 scenarios leave out significant hazards like tsunamis, wildfires, and of course flooding, the one hazard that causes more destruction and economic damage than any other natural hazard in the United States and is involved with over 90 percent of all presidentially declared disasters.

While the threat of terrorism is real and requires new and innovative solutions, it should not eclipse the need to prepare for other disasters. In the words of disaster scholar Dennis Mileti, "Our current national emphasis on the hazards of terrorism, although warranted, should not assume that the laws of nature were repealed on September 11th."

Out of the 1,659 declared disasters to date, four of them have been terrorist attacks. This means that while less than one quarter of one percent of the disasters we have experienced in our nation have been terrorist attacks, 80% of our preparedness efforts are focused on this single hazard. Again, focusing on the most recent disaster is not a rational approach to managing risk for our nation.

Also, each of the National Planning Scenarios describes catastrophic events rather than disasters, the events experienced most frequently. Although some argue that jurisdictions will be better prepared for disasters if they are prepared for catastrophes, this is not necessarily true. While the traditional emergency management framework and planning assumptions can be expanded to address catastrophes, catastrophic planning assumptions are not applicable to most disasters.

For example, included in most definitions of a "catastrophe" is the likelihood that state and local authorities will immediately become overwhelmed and unable to implement their plans. This assumption automatically leads planners to focus on limitations and barriers rather than the capabilities and coordination needed at the State and local level to leverage resources to meet the needs of most disasters.

In other words, when preparedness capabilities are discussed within the context of catastrophes, there is a tendency to disregard the capabilities of state and local jurisdictions and focus on what assistance can be provided by the federal government. Automatically planning to rely on federal resources will erode local capabilities and put even more stress on our national emergency management system.

Rich Vandame: One must look at the response tasks and determine which are common and what extra capabilities are needed.

Carolyn Harshman: I think we need to stay focused on the fundamentals - that way when a new hazard or event comes along we'll be better able to execute an effective response. Like a good juggler, we can manage a lot at once if we train that way!

Mike Jallo: Addressing the 15 Nat'l Scenarios as a requirement to be eligible for federal assistance is one thing - but prudent emergency planning at the local level MUST also include planning for the "most likely" scenarios, and in many cases as already noted, those scenarios are not on the list of 15. If you live in the Mississippi River basin and do not plan for floods, then your are negligent. The Fed Government cannot foresee all contingencies.

Question 5. Although the Congressional language does not mandate National Planning Scenarios, if they are used, the legislation specifies that "In developing, revising, and replacing national planning scenarios, the Administrator shall ensure that the scenarios:
(1) reflect the relative risk of all hazards and illustrate the potential scope, magnitude, and complexity of a broad range of representative hazards; and;
(2) provide the minimum number of representative scenarios necessary to identify and define the tasks and target capabilities required to respond to all hazards."
To what extent should a national hazards analysis be used to identify preparedness priorities?

Dan Robeson: Only when risk is adequately assessed and understood, can we begin to manage risk at optimal levels. It enhances our ability to mitigate hazards, develop adequate plans, define needed capabilities, train, exercise, identify and advocate for needed resources, respond to and recover from disasters, and educate and prepare the public.

Unfortunately, now, during a time when tremendous resources are focused on bolstering our nation's preparedness, we do not have a national comprehensive all hazards risk assessment to guide our efforts. While the definition of the National Preparedness Goal states that preparedness should be "risk-based", our risk, and I suggest our goal, remains illusive. This is where we should start.

Carolyn Harshman: I absolutely agree with Dan. You've got to know the problem before you can fix it.

Question 6. The Target Capabilities approach has been developed to meet the requirements of HSPD #8. You may recall the earlier FEMA State-level Capability Assessment for Readiness (CAR), which focused on 13 program elements. The EMAP Assessment process, based on NFPA 1600, continues that approach. Dan previously mentioned these initiatives. The states and larger cities have also been through the National Plan Review this year. Other metrics have been suggested, such as numbers of response personnel available, planners per capita, etc. What are the indicators that are predictive of success in responding to actual disasters?

Dan Robeson: Disasters are dynamic events that create a myriad of challenges, many of which are completely unpredictable. However, through experience and research we have learned that there are many functions that are often essential for success in most disasters. These core functions (or capabilities) have been categorized and defined in different ways (by the CAR, NFPA 1600, the TCL, etc.), but most of them highlight the importance of a comprehensive emergency management program, coordination, risk analysis, mitigation, an effective organizational system, resources, the planning process, communications, logistics, training, exercises, public education, etc.

In addition to these core functions, jurisdictions need to identify and maintain capabilities that are specific to their risk. As an example, while jurisdictions in Kansas may need to maintain a higher capability to warn the public of a tornado, jurisdictions in California may need a higher capability to mitigate the impact of an earthquake.

It is true that a jurisdiction in California may need to warn their population of a tornado and that a bridge in Kansas may collapse due to an earthquake. However, with limited resources and a wide spectrum of possibilities, the best way to manage risk is to concentrate on the functions common to most disasters and then prioritize which additional capabilities are needed, based on the local risk assessment.

Joan Sterling: Dan brings up good standards within emergency management. Risk is a vital component of planning. Mitigation plans were directed to provide what is in place or could occur with the right funds and laws. Shouldn't this follow the same approach?

Dan Robeson: Yes, I agree. I think all of the phases should be guided by an analysis of our risk and needed capabilities.

Carolyn Harshman: In addition to the other "capabilities" measurements out there right now, I believe it's time to update SLG 101. In the "old days" that document provided emergency planners with some vital guidance on the "how to's" of emergency management. We need professional standards. Dan what do you think?

Dan Robeson: Yes, the federal guide on local emergency planning (Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning, SLG 101) is a decade old and while it highlights important tenants of disaster planning, it is outdated and presumably does not reflect current guidance.

Question 7. How do we frame those indicators to reflect actual capabilities vs. on paper capabilities?

Dan Robeson: I believe one of the best solutions to this problem would be to provide a mechanism for local jurisdictions to assess their risk and determine their needs. Local jurisdictions are routinely asked to develop strategies to meet priorities that aren't their own. This muddies the water and makes it difficult for jurisdictions to communicate their true needs and promote risk-based decision making in their community. Lessening the ambiguity through the clear articulation of our local needs will allow our processes to become more meaningful and increase transparency and accountability.

This can also be achieved through the development of and adherence to specific quantifiable performance metrics (i.e. Have the appropriate local officials been involved with the jurisdiction's planning, training, and exercise efforts?). The TCL has incorporated such measures in its evaluation process and I think this is a good approach as long as the metrics truly measure the capability desired.

Lloyd Colston: More to the last question but also applicable here. One flaw in Target Capabilities, as I understand it, is the targets get money to insure their capabilities. However, when the target is hit and the toys that the money bought are toast, then we, in the rural areas, will be called upon to go help. However, where’s our toys and where’s our training? Where’s the money for the response from the rural areas? I think there should be balance in funding, rather than the yo-yo we are on now with Urban getting bucks one year and rural the next. Also, a balance in training

Question 8. Post-Katrina, DHS published a one-pager describing the impacts of the event on the National Preparedness Goal. "Strengthen Emergency Operations Planning and Citizen Protection Capabilities was added as a capability-specific priority to the Goal." It is clear that public expectations are essential to evaluating whether we are prepared 'enough'. How do we identify and integrate public expectations into performance metrics?

Dan Robeson: Let’s face it, we can do all the careful analysis and capability maintenance we want, but if the public's expectations aren't met, we have a problem. It is the government's responsibility to ensure that we are providing the public with the level of service they desire; it is a core democratic value.

Here, we see the tension between science and politics. I suppose if emergency management technocrats were going to truly mitigate the impact of hazards, everyone in tornado alley would have to live underground, there would be mandatory disaster awareness/preparedness classes, and we just simply couldn't go to California or Florida (just joking, Carolyn and other EM friends in these states).

Similarly, if those concerned with the burden of preparedness had their way, we wouldn't have those annoying public warning systems, no one would be inconvenienced by evacuations, and taxes might be a little lower (until there was an actual disaster and catastrophic expenses would be incurred). Of course none of these situations exist because we compromise and continually work towards an acceptable level of preparedness.

There are many methods to integrate public input when developing preparedness priorities. In our county we receive input from elected leaders, representative citizen groups, citizen surveys, community organizations, and from individual citizens. During disasters we have plans to establish more formal methods to exchange information with the citizenry through our website, Joint Information Center, and other forums such as public meetings.

One essential element to finding this "acceptable level of preparedness" is ensuring that the public understands their jurisdiction's risk and what is being done about it. This onus should be on the local government and specifically emergency managers. If emergency managers aren't educating the public about their risks and preparedness measures, somebody else probably will. In addition to preparing the public for disasters, discussing the realities of response and recovery will also help manage expectations when a disaster occurs.

Jane Kushma: I would just like to echo the notion of the importance of managing expectations and that our goal is to have an informed public who shares in our preparedness efforts. It has to be an ongoing conversation.

Lloyd Bokman: Public expectations are high, but I think that they can be addressed with programs like EMAP which ensures that a basic bottom line is being met by the local program or state program. This could also help with the earlier concern with paperwork and money through perhaps at least a two tiered approach in which an accredited program would have less paperwork or hoops to jump through and a non-accredited program would have to do more to get the grant money and meet expectations.

Carolyn Harshman: We talk as though self-reliance is necessary only in big events (i.e. you might have to take care of yourself for 72 hours). It seems to me we'd better serve the people by telling them to always be self-reliant. If the millions of citizens did even a little to help themselves, it would greatly reduce our burden as emergency managers.

Avagene Moore: Dan and Carolyn, you both mentioned preparing the public for disasters. I believe we have failed across the country in that regard and should put far more emphasis on a prepared public and officials who know their respective roles in disaster.

Carolyn Harshman: Avagene - absolutely! This is perhaps the most important skill for our leaders and they often fail because of lack of awareness and understanding.

Question 9. HSPD #8 defined preparedness as: "the existence of plans, procedures, policies, training, and equipment necessary at the Federal, State, and local level to maximize the ability to prevent, respond to, and recover from major events."

The Congressional language does add "mitigate against natural disasters" in describing the purpose of preparedness, (and defines prevention with respect to terrorism only). If the overall goal is framed in terms of reducing impacts of disasters on the nation, then mitigation clearly belongs in the mix. Case in point is the New Orleans levee failure. Had the risk been identified and mitigated, we would not have had the catastrophic event that it turned out to be. What is the appropriate balance between mitigation and operational readiness?

Dan Robeson: I was pleased to see that the new Homeland Security Appropriations Act highlights the importance of mitigation. To manage our risk at optimal levels, we must consider the capabilities needed to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

It has been confusing for all of us to discuss these traditional concepts in the context of the new terminology created by DHS. I have especially missed the term "mitigation", as it seems that it was divided into "prevention" and "protection", but only addressed terrorism.

Fortunately, I believe one of the 28 capabilities listed under "prevention" and "protection" is going to address "true mitigation" in the next update of the TCL. Ironically, I don't believe the current version of the TCL considers the need to construct or maintain levees or the need for any other traditional mitigation activity. This is a prime example of the type of egregious oversight that can occur when your capabilities aren't linked to your true risks.

Joan Sterling: Mitigation is a powerful tool. In the mitigation grant construction projects there have been several projects that resulted in capabilities for the community to continue yet the equipment would be purchased and no place to put it or training. There needs to be balance and mitigation can be part of the weight.

Victoria Melvin: I was going to say that doesn't this bring us back to concerns of change of administrations? Mitigation is an important standard.

Rich Vandame: The focus should shift to one of being resilient enough to quickly recover.

Christopher Effgen: The process has been driven by interest groups.

Lloyd Colston: One place where I have a passion is in public information. As I told the CERT class last night, "You are here as an effort to take ownership of your survival during a disaster." I’ve done and continue to try to do a good job of informing the public. My frustration is that the public does not heed the warning. IF ALL of New Orleans had been CERT trained, if ALL of New Orleans had 72-hour bags, if ALL of New Orleans had heeded the Get OUTTA Dodge announcement, then Katrina would have been much different. When ALL of the Citizens are prepared, then ALL of America is prepared, even for terrorism.

Amy Sebring: I would just like to input that we obviously need both mitigation and operational readiness, etc. but I believe that mitigation needs to be restored to some balance in the mix.

Victoria Melvin: I agree that individuals taking a role in that responsibility is important. The difficulty is finding the answers to socially motivate the public to do just that.

Question 10. Finally, would a consensus-based, clearly-articulated, all-hazards, long-term National Preparedness Goal help guide the Congress, state, and local governments in future years with allocating funding to support priorities and provide you with some long-term planning stability?

Dan Robeson: Yes. This question not only highlights all of the important components to identifying appropriate funding allocations, but describes what is needed to guide our approach to effectively manage risk in our nation. An incremental preparedness policy is too vulnerable to "knee-jerk" reactions to the most recent disaster. A classic example of this is the emphasis put on developing comprehensive mass evacuation plans throughout the country (irrespective to risk and need) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

This type of "one size fits all" mentality imposes an unnecessary burden on jurisdictions that are already going to great lengths to stretch and leverage their limited resources to meet their risk-based needs. We will never achieve our goal if we are continually reacting to the last disaster. A long-term strategy is needed to achieve and maintain preparedness at the appropriate level. Institutionalizing a long-term all-hazards approach to managing risk is key to reaching an optimal level of preparedness.

Mike Jallo: Amy - all, I like the format we used today. It invites more audience participation and provides for a range of views on complex subjects. Enjoyed hearing the speaker's view and the audience's reactions to the subject as well. It's like having an "e-panel of experts."

Ray Pena: This is the best forum we have. It matters greatly.

David Graham: Is there any evidence that Congress pays any attention to these goals since politics and passing out funds seems to be to benefit particular interest groups?

Christopher Effgen: We need a risk/threat management approach.

Lloyd Colston: Yes -- Project Impact – ‘nuf said.


Amy Sebring: Let's wrap it up for today. Thank you very much, Dan, for an excellent job and thanks to all our participants today. Please stand by a moment while we make a couple of quick announcements. The formatted transcript will be available later today. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page to subscribe. If your organization is interested in becoming an EIIP Partner, please see the link on our homepage.

Thanks to everyone for participating today in a lively discussion. For first-timers, we hope you enjoyed the program and will come again.

We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to Dan for a fine job.