David Grant, partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting and former acting deputy administrator of FEMA, discusses what this year’s busy hurricane season means for the agency, and how they can manage multiple disasters at once.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is having a busy fall. With multiple hurricanes striking the east coast within weeks of each other, FEMA has to juggle resources between several areas. According to David Grant, former acting deputy administrator of FEMA and partner at Potomac Ridge Consulting, the agency is fully prepared for these situations. FEMA has plans to deal with the fallout from several disasters at once, but Grant says it’s important to remember the role the agency plays. “FEMA is not a first responder. In a disaster, it is federally supported, state managed and locally executed. The local community is the best at first responding… the state then manages it, and we’re there to support them when those assets get overwhelmed,” Grant said. Grant said that even between hurricanes, response can be incredibly different, and FEMA has to deal with the quirks of each one. “When Hurricane Harvey came in and parked over southeast Texas, it was more of a flooding event than it was a hurricane event. Some hurricanes will come in with much stronger winds and move fiercely through the area… spawning tornadoes downstream,” Grant told Government Matters. “Every disaster is different, and you have to be prepared for all of them.”