Ten years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left their mark on the U.S. Gulf Coast when they made landfall and devastated the region. In response, GSA provided more than $1 billion in supplies and services to the hardest-hit areas, answered more than 1.3 million hurricane-related inquiries, and dispatched staff to help citizens who, in many cases, had lost all their material possessions to killer winds, rain and subsequent flooding.
In the decade since, we’ve learned important lessons about disaster preparedness and the recovery process. We have made some adjustments, and GSA continues to support the National Response Framework (NRF) during a national emergency by providing resource support. In those situations, GSA helps FEMA get assistance to those in the affected communities as quickly as possible. We provide commodities, transportation services and emergency leasing support and much more.
GSA also agreed in 2009 to allow FEMA’s Logistics Management Directorate to become the co-primary agency and co-lead for Emergency Support Function #7 – Logistics under the National Response Framework. Since then, we’ve partnered to work with the Logistics’ community of partners, government and non-government alike, to better prepare and respond to any disaster.
Over the last few years, GSA transformed into a much more mobile workforce. Our work doesn’t stop with emergencies or bad weather. GSA, like many agencies, has a mission that requires mobile solutions. In an emergency or crisis situation, we’re positioned better than ever before to provide solutions and connect with our agency partners to arrange for supplies and services, space and other necessary resources.
GSA has worked hard over the last 10 years to build and sustain a comprehensive preparedness plan. To that end, we’ve made a few significant adjustments internally in terms of what we do for planning for and responding to major disasters. Previously known as the Office of Emergency Response and Recovery, GSA’s Office of Mission Assurance, headed by Associate Administrator Robert J. Carter, is the agency’s primary point of leadership and coordination for emergency management and security policy The office is an agency-wide team tasked with making sure GSA is well-prepared and capable of responding to natural and man-made emergencies.
Next week, GSA joins the numerous government organizations who’ll observe National Preparedness Month. It’s a great opportunity to learn more (or to get a refresher) on what you and your loved ones can and should do in an emergency.