Hurricane season is the perfect time to discuss emergency management and preparedness, although here on the Gulf Coast, one should be prepared no matter the season. When a disaster strikes, there is no time to consider or contemplate; many decisions and responses must be immediate. Attorneys Ernest B. Abbott and Otto J. Hetzel have compiled a book, Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A Legal Guide for State and Local Governments, to assist state and local governments and the lawyers that advise them in keeping the public safe, mitigating any damages, and formulating and implementing a recovery plan.
The first part addresses the source of legal authority in emergency and catastrophic events, the role of the military and the National Guard, the National Response Framework issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security and supported by the National Incident Management System, and public disclosure of information. A discussion of hazard mitigation makes up the bulk of the second part of the book. It also includes a primer on the National Flood Insurance Program. Cybersecurity, public health emergencies, and immigration issues are at the heart of Part III, as these topics have gained greater significance over time. The last section focuses on response and recovery, including legal issues associated with emergency management when dealing with vulnerable populations, such as the disabled and elderly. Another topic of interest in this last section is managing emergency evacuations.
It is said that “hindsight is 20/20,” so why not focus on having the foresight to handle a disaster before it happens? Before the next disaster strikes, have a look at Homeland Security and Emergency Management: A Legal Guide for State and Local Governments.