Daniel Kaniewski, deputy administrator for Protection & National Preparedness at FEMA, joins the program to discuss the agency’s new Strategic Plan, and how attaining the plans goals will help improve disaster response.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently established new goals for the agency’s next five years. The targets in the FEMA Strategic Plan seek to improve the agency’s response to natural disasters, as well as interactions with other responders, employees and citizens. “We want to have these conversations now and not during a disaster. We obviously faced major logistics challenges with the response to Hurricane Maria,” said Daniel Kaniewski, deputy administrator for Protection & National Preparedness at FEMA. “In this case, we’re setting a vision for a culture of preparedness. It means we need to be linked up with the contractors, citizens and communities now, to figure out what we are going to do when the bad day happens.” Kaniewski says that FEMA should be looking to provide logistical services for local disaster relief teams, as opposed to be the first ones on the scene. “Very clearly, FEMA is not a first responder. FEMA is there to support those in their time of need and it’s to help those governors in their time of need. To help local officials, who maybe need some of the planning expertise that they may not have right now,” Kaniewski told Government Matters. “Goal two, readiness for catastrophic disasters, includes a focus on FEMA integration teams. We will provide federal officials down at the state levels for now, perhaps in the future at the local levels as well. To help them build up their level of preparedness, so they are able to respond effectively without supplemental, federal assistance.”