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What IS The Plan - I : NRP - the Mother of All Plans

by: SusanC

Wed Aug 29, 2007 at 21:35:48 PM EDT


( - promoted by SusanC)

An overview of US government planning for pandemic influenza, as part of the overarching, all-hazards National Response Plan (NRP).

SusanC :: What IS The Plan - I : NRP - the Mother of All Plans
Two things - the need to gain some concept-of-operations understanding of optimal conditions for CMG implementation, and a good deal of puzzlement as to the source of generalized inertia at the local level - have led me, reluctantly although not quite kicking and screaming, to conduct my own mini-review and investigation of the institutional structures behind the US government's pandemic plans, and the bigger picture framework of where panflu stands in the grand strategic workings of the USG.


Boy, I have to tell you I had no idea what I was letting myself in for!  In the past week, I have gone through not less than a couple of thousand pages of documents, some in great detail, others skimmed at whatever speed I could drag my over-stuffed brain along without totally losing it, and I believe I have barely scratched the surface!


I need to make a disclaimer right up front, that this is only my very preliminary understanding, based solely on what I can find on the internet.  Having been unsuccessful in securing help from anyone, I'm sure somewhere down the road I'm going to find my writing to be full of errors and my opinions misguided.  That said, since when have you known me to let ignorance stop me from making observations anyhow, right?  LOL!


The other thing that I want to make clear before I start, is that there is no hidden agenda or outcome in my writing this, except as an attempt for all of us to explore some pretty important issues, many of which probably have no clear answers or solutions, but nevertheless still need to be brought to the public's attention if only for our education.


In addition, I'm mindful of the absolute need on this forum to steer clear of partisan politics, so if in the process of this exploration I/we come across issues that inevitably will have political undertones, I would like to suggest that it is enough that we go no further than just noting that these issues exist, and focus our attention instead on the implications for pandemic preparedness and planning, and how we might circumvent problems that we manage to identify.


This first diary is going to be entirely descriptive, my intention being to provide some understanding of the historical background behind the Federal disasters response and assistance to State and local entities, and how evolving expectations have put us at a crucial turning point where the old relationships are no longer sufficient but new ones have yet to take root.  Part 2 will explore more fully the implications for current policy, with specific examples and hopefully leading to some lessons to take away to be used as appropriate.


To begin at the beginning, we have to take a look at the founding of the country. 

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined.  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."  The Federalist No. 45.
As we have noted previously on this forum, preparing for and responding to disasters have always been not just the responsibility but the domain of State and local government, the Feds having no right to intervene even to assist a State except at the request of the governor.  Over the course of the 20th century, the federal government became increasingly involved in disaster responses as requested by states, so much so that it has become more-or-less the expectation that in any large scale disaster, some federal assistance will be forthcoming.  Nevertheless, the principle that State and local resources need to be utilized first before federal assistance can be requested was reiterated firmly by various administrations, notably Truman in 1952 and Nixon in 73. 


The main legislation providing for federal disaster response is the Stafford Act, which establishes a mechanism for state governors to request assistance from the Feds when they are overwhelmed.  It authorizes the President to declare disasters/emergencies and to appoint a Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) who is responsible for coordinating the delivery of resources from other agencies and entities and generally to administer disaster relief, as requested by the State. 


The important points to note here are that:


  • the states have to identify what they need and make specific requests

  • the FCO (and FEMA, after it was formed in 1978) is not the operational provider of federal support.  Rather FEMA coordinates the response and resources provided by other federal agencies.

  • such aid is delivered to the State who is then responsible for distributing it locally to those in need.  There is no mechanism for FEMA to directly administer aid on the ground.


This 'pull' system, ie States drawing resources from the feds as needed, works for most situations when state and local governments are sufficiently functional, but broke down completely in the case of Katrina, when there was basically no functioning government on the ground for this mechanism to work. 


Even before Katrina, however, after 911, there was increasing recognition that in more severe or catastrophic scenarios there is a need for the feds to take a more proactive stance.  The Homeland Security Act of 2002 established the Department of Homeland Security, and the day before DHS opened for business, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 5, which, among other things, tasked the secretary of DHS to develop

  • a National Response Plan (NRP) - to "integrate Federal Government domestic prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery plans into one all-discipline, all-hazards plan.", and


  • a National Incident Management System (NIMS) - to "provide a consistent nationwide approach for Federal, State, and local governments to work effectively and efficiently together"  and to "provide for interoperability and compatibility among Federal, State, and local capabilities,".


The NRP was written and adopted in December 2004, although at 400+ pages, with 150+ acronyms, and written in the worst of 'bureaucrat-ese', it is so convoluted as to be almost impenetrable in some places.  There were major flaws which became painfully clear after Katrina.  It has been under review since, with the most recent draft version (somewhat mysteriously called National response 'framework' instead of plan) being apparently leaked earlier this month.  Nevertheless, it IS in force, and there are some basic components and considerations that are relevant to pandemic planning:


  1. The NRP is the overarching 'mother of all plans', and the primary mechanism for coordination of federal responses, including in a pandemic.  Thus, the NSPI (National stategy for pandemic influenza) Implementation Plan is more-or-less an extension of the NRP in the context of a pandemic.


  2. According to the NRP, the Secretary of DHS is responsible for coordination of the overall federal disaster response.


  3. The NRP defines 15 different Emergency Support Functions (ESP) to be headed by different agencies.  ESF#8 is the main one we are concerned with, where the HHS is designated the lead agency for delivering public health and medical responses in an emergency.


  4. The NRP is triggered when there is a 'Incident of National Significance' - which according to the NSPI will immediately be declared by the Secy of DHS at WHO phase 4.  This declaration, among other things, triggers the various ESFs which will become operational according to need.


  5. In addition, the NRP also contains a series of 'Incident Annexes' which address incidents that require specialized application of the NRP.  Under 'Biological Incident Annex' which contains pandemic influenza as one scenario, the HHS is designated the coordinating agency, but DHS still retains the overall coordinating role under the overarching NRP structure.


  6. There is also provision for catastrophic scenarios in the 'Catastrophic Incident Annex' (NRP-CIA) which provides a mechanism for an 'accelerated, proactive national response to a catastrophic incident', basically switching to a 'forward-leaning' 'push' instead of 'pull' system of operations.


  7. Unfortunately, even though various parts of the NRP was operational during Katrina, the NRP-CIA portion had not been operationalized, so the Katrina response was basically still based on the old 'pull' approach.


Finally, let's turn to the NIMS, and note a few points here:


  1. One big issue that the NIMS seeks to address is the lack of interoperability between different parts of the federal government as well as state and local responders, the consequence of which was painfully demonstrated in the loss of 300+ firemen in the World Trade Center due to incompatible communication systems.


  2. It has as its core the Incident Command System (ICS) which describes a structure that is scalable and can be adopted by all federal, local, and non-government entities involved in disaster response.


  3. Starting in 2005, all parts of the US government are obliged to make their operational plans gradually NIMS compliant as part of the conditions attached to funding. 


  4. The initial phases involved self-certification, but starting 2007 and even more so in 2008, they are moving into metrics-based assessments.


  5. FEMA offers various training programs which are required as part of compliance.


Having gone through all that, we are now ready to look at how pandemic plans at the national, state, and local level relate to each other and to the NRP and NIMS, and the implications arising from these relationships.  To whet your appetite for part 2, I'm going to put up this chart from the CDC operational plans.  I can't count how many charts I've looked at in the past few days, but I believe this particular one, although still not completely representative of the whole picture (nothing is, it's too complicated!) manages to capture the relationships brilliantly!  I will explain and discuss this in part 2, particularly in relation to the challenges to implementation, and lessons to be learnt.



UPDATE


After writing this diary, I found a draft updated version of the National Response Plan, now re-named National Response Framework.  There are major changes, so some of the points that I made earlier may no longer be valid.  Please see part 2 here http://www.newfluwik...



Other parts in this series are here:

Part II : The 'Born-Again' National Response Framework.

Part III : Why 'All Hazards'?.

Part IV : Is the US Government in danger of being swamped by a "PLANdemic"?.

Part V : Pandemic Preparedness 101 : Who IS In Charge?.

Part VI : The Missing Piece.
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thank you, SusanC
Anyone wanting an online training course in ICS so as to 'speak the language', go here:

FEMA Independent Study Program:
IS-100 Introduction to Incident Command System, I-100

http://www.training....


you're welcome
I'll add links tomorrow...



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
and, you are right about the training course
I did go over that, and it was useful for my understanding.  The NIMS is actually quite a good idea, forcing everyone to get compliant.  The only concern, and it comes with the territory, is the amount of time and effort it's going to take for everyone to get there, and whether such efforts, like the ongoing efforts to get DHS and the NRP to work the way they should, will occupy so much energy that there is not much left to do anything else.

As I said, more in later diaries!



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
cross posting from the September preparedness month diary
From Jane's diary
anon.yyz brought this up in the open diary on July 24, but I couldn't find a follow-up.  How many locales are participating in this?  It's a good excuse to rock some boats in our various cities and states, [quietly] encouraged by the Department of Homeland Security.  Probably if we don't do something, there's not a much chance something will go on in any particular place.

We have to understand their imperatives as well as their competence.  If you look at where DHS might be coming from, and the fact that 4 years after they were tasked to write the National Response Plan or NRP, they still have not been able to put together a coherent document, the question arises not just as to why that is the case, but more importantly what implications there are for actual preparedness to take place. 

The NRP is important for many reasons, not just cos it's the overarching plan of which pandemic plans are but a subset, but the many issues arising from it may give an accurate indication of how well we can expect the overall pandemic efforts to work, if there was no political will from elsewhere to make things happen despite all the flaws of the NRP. 

As I said in the intro to my latest series on these plans, that's not the reason why I started to look into these issues, but that's where I'm ending up right now, realizing how by focusing only on pandemic-related topics, we on this forum have missed out huge chunks of the system that have tremendous effect on ultimate success or failure of what we want to see happen.

We need to run very fast, to try and learn about this kind of back-drop of what pandemic preparedness is placed on, in order to find ways to make change happen.  That is my latest and evolving revelation.  Just to share my 2C here.




All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


More info please
To quote you from above:  "we on this forum have missed out huge chunks of the system that have tremendous effect on ultimate success or failure of what we want to see happen"

I'm not following you as far as to what you are referring.  Could you elaborate?  Thanks.


[ Parent ]
I suppose that's the DHS national preparedness piece
that pandemic preparedness fits into. They are both integrated and separate, however. And there are always larger issues than pandemic preparedness going on within the Fed system.

So, since at the state and local level there are pretty close integration efforts (for example, as I posted here, the state version of DHS and HHS where I live run joint exercises), I'd be interested in hearing an expansion of that thought as well.


[ Parent ]
what I meant is
we have been looking at the activities coming out of the feds, such as the publication of the CMG guidance, or the purchase of vaccines, but we have not connected all the dots as to how the whole system works.  For example, CMG is just a guidance, a bit of advice for state and local authorities to give them an idea as to what to do.  Whether they will do it depends on many imperatives.  Right now, we are seeing very little action on the ground.  Well, if you look at the CDC chart, implementation is firmly the domain of state local territorial and tribal, what they call SLTT authorities.  Why should they do what they are told?  Not that they won't but we have to investigate some more as to what drives them.  Not everyone thinks pandemic is the most important thing on this planet, not everyone puts saving lives on the top of their list of priorities.  My observations at the OSDFS conference for example left me with a sense of profound ignorance.

Put it in another way, whenever someone on this forum gets outraged and says "why are they not doing this" whoever the 'they' and whatever the 'it' we are talking about, instead of just using that sentence to rant and leave it at that, I would suggest with respect to everyone that perhaps we need to go and figure out REALLY why 'they' are not doing 'it'.

And when we start doing that, we discover a whole set of issues that we haven't even begun to discuss here.  Like for example what are the implications if any of having DHS be the agency with ultimate responsibility for NRP and that NRP is the overarching plan UNDER which pandemic activities happen?  This is a big question which I have only just started looking at.  Now, as I said, these are preliminary thoughts, more like questions than answers.  It;s more like I'm thinking out loud and hoping y'all will think out loud with me.

A big example, the activities from the NRP are triggered on the declaration of an Incident of National Significance or INS, which can only be done by the Secy of DHS, who for the purpose of the response (or someone he delegates from inside DHS) becomes the Principal Federal Officer PFO in charge of the overall incident management.

Under the NRP, I see 2 different pieces that puts HHS in charge of public health and medical responses.  First is ESF8, which is an emergency support function that is activated when there is an Incident of National Significance INS to support the overall federal response to a incident.  The other piece is in the Biological Incident Annex, again HHS acts as the coordinating agency for the federal response, but still in support of DHS as the overall authority.  Neither cover critical infrastructure (nor personal preparedness).

But all that is incident management and response, not preparedness.  Right now, at the phase of preparedness, who does SLTT answer to for their plans?  For answers to that question, the only thing I can come up with is to follow the money and any compulsion written into the granting of such money.  And right now, what I can find are the NIMS compliance requirements tied to funding.  I haven't seen any  funding tied to CMG for example that says to the SLTT, "you have to do this or else".  Given the mandatory need to convert their current system for NIMS compliance with deadlines and funding involved on the one hand, and such 'advisory' documents as CMG, which do you think carries more power in deciding how SLTT staff spend their energy and time?  If for example planning for school closure affects their manpower commitments under NIMS compliance, would that affect their decisions to go with where the money is ie NIMS compliance rather than follow best practice from the CMG?  I'm not saying that is what's happening for sure, but it WAS the sense that I got from some of the meetings that I've gone to, that conflicting requirements from different federal programs (another example No Child Left Behind, for educators) may affect their willingness to adopt CMG best practice.

If, and I'm still trying to find the answer to this, during the preparedness phase, HHS has no or minimal statutory power to oversee SLTT plans and/or use the giving or withdrawal of grants as incentive to SLTT, how can tptb make sure that public health guidance such as CMG is adopted?  If right now, there aren't any grants (that I can find, except for hospital preparedness ones) coming out of HHS for community pandemic preparedness, and all the grants for community preparedness (All Hazards preparedness from NRP and NIMS) come from DHS, then we have to start looking at how DHS prioritizes all the different preparedness issues, where pandemic sits in their minds, and what if anything their actions with regards to pandemic tell us.  This I intend to explore in later diaries, but since DHS was formed very much in reaction to anti-terrorism not natural disasters, their focus is going to be very different from ours here!

If ultimately the feds can only fall back on the Stafford Act, ie wait till SLTT are overwhelmed AND request help before they can intervene, there is at least the theoretical risk that with regards to pandemics nothing will take place at the local level till TSHTF and such requests are made!

Take antivirals, as another example.  The Feds can buy some, and offer 25% subsidies to states for them to buy their own stockpile, but if states do not take up the offer, is there anything in the 'rule books' that the feds can use to either make them ie mandatory compliance or to entice them ie using incentives?  States have not fully utilized the money available to purchase antivirals.  What powers or mechanisms are available for the feds to push them to do so?

These are things that I'm trying to find out.  I'm till working on it as you can see.  We may find very positive answers, or we may find negative ones, but what I'm saying is we have to start digging!



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
the issue of HHS grants
is illustrated by the announcement of extra money from HHS today, reported in the news thread here http://www.newfluwik...

The money is all for hospital and medical preparedness, nothing for CMG and personal preparedness. 

http://www.hhs.gov/n...

  • Establish or enhance stockpiles of critical medical equipment and supplies;
  • Continue development of plans for maintenance, distribution and sharing of those resources;
  • Plan for and develop pandemic alternate care sites; and
  • Conduct medical surge exercises.

Go check out the ASPR office , there is nothing in there that funds anything other than medical countermeasures and hospital preparedness.

Think about what that means.



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
Thanks SusanC
I appreciate the explanation.  I was reminded of an earlier discussion here on the fluwiki (one which was somewhat heated), in which my argument was that we were seeing and aware of only a portion of what the government was doing to prepare.  I believe a lot is going on behind closed doors, but likely there is much being missed too and slipping by.  Helping identify these things and bringing them into the light is a positive and good work.

[ Parent ]
another thing about the Stafford Act
and the 'pull' vs 'push' issue.  The issue was recognized in hspd5, that the feds need to be proactive in some instances.  But existing legislation then did not have such provisions.  The Homeland Security Act that created the DHS might have added some provisions, I don't know, cos legislation is even harder to read and interpret than policy documents.  But at least in the NRP they started to make such provisions via the Catastrophic Incident Annex NRP-CIA, where the feds can be more proactive before the states request their help.  However, since even up to now the NRP-CIA has not been operationalized, and the review of NRP process started after Katrina is still ongoing, there is very little authority or mechanisms that the feds can use to 'lean forward' for a catastrophic incident.

And thats only in response.  What about preparedness?  I haven't been able to find anything that tells me that NRP-CIA may, when it is finally written up, include mechanisms to do so pre-incident!  Nor have I found anything that says the definition of what constitutes a catastrophic incident allows such hypothetical incidents as pandemic to be classified as catastrophic incident BEFORE it happens!



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
speaking of 'follow the money'
from TFAH: the HHS budget
http://healthyameric...

State and Local Preparedness  2006 in millions

State and local preparedness activities  350
Antiviral-subsidies to states (25% subsidy) (OPHEP) 170
Subtotal State and Local (Proposed one-time funds)  520 

State and Local Preparedness  2007 in millions

State and local preparedness activities  0
Antiviral-subsidies to states (25% subsidy) (OPHEP) 0
Subtotal State and Local (Proposed one-time funds)  0 



that puts this in perspective
http://www.hhs.gov/n...

HHS Announces $75 Million in Supplemental Funding to States for Pandemic Flu Preparedness

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today announced that the Department is making available another $75 million to states, territories and four metropolitan areas to help strengthen their capacity to respond to a pandemic influenza outbreak.

"The additional funding will provide our nation's health care community with a means to continue planning, training and acquiring needed equipment for an effective pandemic response,"  Secretary Leavitt said. "It will also help keep the momentum we have generated over the past year in this important public health area."

The supplemental funding will be used to:

  * Establish or enhance stockpiles of critical medical equipment and supplies;
  * Continue development of plans for maintenance, distribution and sharing of those resources;
  * Plan for and develop pandemic alternate care sites; and
  * Conduct medical surge exercises.


[ Parent ]
now the question that I have
is what was the 2006 $350 million in 'state and local preparedness activities' designated for?



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
same as the 2007 supplemental
* Establish or enhance stockpiles of critical medical equipment and supplies;
* Continue development of plans for maintenance, distribution and sharing of those resources;
* Plan for and develop pandemic alternate care sites; and
* Conduct medical surge exercises.

[ Parent ]
thanks! n/t




All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
Next week - "new world order"
Adm Agunwonbi will be working for Walmart.

Dr. Jeff Runge, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer of DHS will coordinate with the HHS ASPR RADM W. Craig Vanderwagen and start a new leaf.  It will be interesting to watch...what they do.

Watch Dr. Runge's presentation (10 a.m.) here to get a sense:

http://nmr.rampard.c...

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.


what is YOUR sense
of where Runge and Co are at?  Just curious.



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
Roll up their sleeves and start working together.
The demarcation is now very clear (the who does what question - watch the video above).

I suspect Adm Agwunobi's post won't be replaced.

There is one uncertainty coming up. DHS Sec Chertoff may move to become Attorney General (as per some news speculation). IMO, that would not be good for DHS continuity, at least for short term.



You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.


[ Parent ]
won't happen
it'll be someone else.

[ Parent ]
;-)




All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
I'm not sure it's that straight forward
For one thing, do we know that the DHS people are as focused on pandemic as Vanderwagen might be?  Check out this National Strategy for Homeland Security that gave birth to DHS.  It says

The strategic objectives of homeland security in order of priority are to:

  • Prevent terrorist attacks within the United States;
  • Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism;and
  • Minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do occur.

The other thing is, again if we were to follow the money, funding for departments comes from the myriad congressional appropriations committees that scrutinize and approve different parts of the budget presented to them, and allocates money to the different departments with specific indications as to what the money is to be used for.  Now in the case of DHS, it was formed by pulling different parts of 22 different agencies and departments, (which was one reason why it has taken and is IMHO going to take forever for it to get its act together) which before the reshuffle was the purview of some 88 different committees in congress.

Now, the thing about congress is that controlling the purse-strings is the most important bit of power that they have, and they are not going to let that go very easily.  As one senator was once quoted as saying "Hell hath no fury like a committee chairman whose jurisdiction has been taken away."  When DHS was eventually formed, it wasn't so much the formation of one integrated entity as a merger of 22 different agencies each retaining their own programs answering to all these different congressional committees, with few focused on natural disasters.

Without going into the why's and wherefor's of all this, let's just say that the experience in the private sector is most mergers fail, and those that succeed take at least 5-7 years to get back to where they were before.  In the public sector, it gets worse, since public sector organizations have to answer to multiple interests and bosses.  Suffice it to say that DHS at birth had overnight acquired 180,000 employees from 22 agencies with 650 different computer systems and 14 different payroll systems, or something on that scale. 

So when you say 'roll up their sleeves' it begs the question "Which sleeves?", "to do what?", and "where specifically in the budget does it say 'pandemic'?"

Because, no budget = no action.

;-(



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
this particular merger
is probably one of the most interesting for academics to study for many years to come, as to how government works and not work. 

For example, the National Disaster Medical System NDMS and the Strategic National Stockpile SNS of drugs and medical materiel were taken out of HHS and put into DHS, and it was only after the disastrous performance of well, just about everyone, during Katrina that the need to re-think some of this reshuffle was acknowledged.  To the credit of whoever pulled it off, the SNS was returned under the control of CDC, and now with the passage of the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act PAHPA in Dec 06, the NDMS was put back into HHS under the new office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response ASPR, who incidentally heads a whole series of pandemic related functions including BARDA for the development of medical countermeasures and the Hospital Preparedness Programm HPP



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
It never is straight forward. However,
Dr. Runge has been on the elevated position since March.

The DHS has been running many conferences with private enterprises, not sure if there has been any table top so far. The time line of the North American plan said June 2008 to December 2009. I expect in about a month, after the Chapter 4 has been synchronized among Canada, Mexico, U.S.A., work will begin in earnest on the DHS non-medical response and readiness. Dr. Runge mentioned in September the new Incident Management System will be ready (software and hardware). This indicates to me that DHS has done a lot of work behind the scenes. By nature, DHS's work do not get publicised, nor as much input from the public seeked as other agencies.

My speculation of what is coming up next:

DHS needs to identify the gap between business preparedness to continue operation, much like what we are discussing in the Grocery Distribution diary. Based on that, DHS can decide on what level of preparation at the individual level, if any, are recommended.  This recommendation is to be communicated to HHS which would be tasked to "market" it to the public. This would explain why individual level is still 3 days at Ready.gov, 2 weeks at pandemicflu.gov, and hesitancy of Adm Agwunobi and Company to respond to our request to increase the prep level recommendation to 12 weeks and more importantly to raise the volume with the public.

My recommendation is to say 4 to 12 weeks, in line with CMG. If 10% of the population "volunteers to" prepare for 8 weeks average, and "marketed" as "those with more resources can prepare more so there will be less burden at the stores", then preppers won't be branded as hoarders but as civic minded saviors. Then there won't be a question of equity - the poor can't prep problem.

Sorry if I deviate too far from the theme.



You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.


[ Parent ]
Is it too much to expect someone in the business community to notice that
their Continuity of Operations Plans COOP depend entirely on a workforce that eats food and drinks water, and that these people need sustenance for the duration?  I'd expect someone to start a push for home prepping, unless the corporations are secretly stashing cases of Ensure, like in Deep Impact.  (Or there's behind the scenes resistance, lest employees start making plans to bug out.)

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
A lot of it
is probably that businesses are hand tied in some states by laws that prevent them from advocating "life style choices" and in some states that is what prepping falls under.  Had a couple of conversations about this over on PFI.  Small businesses especially can get caught in the middle of conflicting rules and laws.  Been there, done that.

The other thing is that businesses run on margins just like regular people.  I can tell you our business does not bring in enough money for us to prep for our employees too.  Heck, we are doing good to prep for ourselves and take care of the other necessary parts of our lives that we've budgeted for and the surprises that never get budgeted for.

I'm not saying that something shouldn't be done, but we need to be careful not to make the assumption that the money is there for the businesses to do what you are advocating them to do.  Even printing up flyers and holding training meetings cost money ... money that the business may not have. 

A few posters would be nice ... sort of like OSHA ... but I can gaurantee you if people can ignore something, they will.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead


[ Parent ]
I had forgotten your experience.
That criticism of your helpful action is so hard to swallow.  Tsk,tsk. (shaking head in sorrow that someone giving prep leaflets to tenants would result in an administrative slap from the government.) 

My idea was more that the corporations should get the Feds to push prepping of families, so there would be some willing workers.  It seems so necessary - and obvious.

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor


[ Parent ]
I agree
I'm not saying that something shouldn't be done, but we need to be careful not to make the assumption that the money is there for the businesses to do what you are advocating them to do.

I am concerned that every time the issue of critical infrastructure protection comes up, the 'answer' from DHS appears to take the form of talking to business.  I have a hard time believing that COOP activities by business is going to be anywhere near capable of protecting from catastrophic breakdowns.  Like you said, how much of a margin do they have, and how much are they willing or able to spend, whether to protect their employees or just to be more resilient in general?



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
DHS says 85% of critical infrastructure is operated by
private enterprise. So the logic goes if you engage private enterprise and discuss business continuity, then DHS has fulfilled its duty. In normal times, DHS cannot just take over private enterprise and change things, including improving resiliency.

You want perspective. I want perspective. Let's talk. We don't have to agree on every thing. If we do, one of us is redundant.

[ Parent ]
I understand
but that doesn't solve that problem, is what I'm saying.  There is a difference between doing something like talking to businesses and expecting that you'll get the result that you want.



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
Well this bothers me
http://news.yahoo.co...
snip
In an effort to provide better control and coordination, the federal government is launching an ambitious ID program for rescue workers to keep everyday people from swarming to a disaster scene. A prototype of the new first responder identification card is already being issued to fire and police personnel in the Washington, D.C., area.

Proponents say the system will get professionals on scene quicker and keep untrained volunteers from making tough work more difficult.

But they also know it is a touchy subject, particularly for those devoted to helping in moments of crisis.
snip
Many of those volunteers angrily dispute the notion they were a burden. They insist that in many instances they were able to deliver respirators, hard hats, and protective boots to workers when no one else seemed able.

Ground zero volunteer Rhonda Shearer and her daughter launched a fast-moving supply system that bypassed regular channels, often infuriating city officials.
snip
Similar frustrations arose after Katrina, when people were shocked that the government struggled to take basic supplies such as water to the worst areas.

"They're more worried about keeping volunteers out than doing an analysis of what really went wrong," said Shearer. "Independent citizens need to be involved, where we have no ax to grind or cross to bear. But we will tell the truth, and we will tell what we see and bear witness to the incompetence."

I can tell you that when I was in Ocean Springs at my sis's destroyed house after Katrina, it was an experienced in disaster church group who snuck in that helped strip her house to the studs, bleach the mold, and help go through anything salvagable. They had roofers, construction workers, and just plain volunteers on the team and were a godsend. They came to town carrying everything they needed to camp and eat while they were there.
@@@@@@@@
If they depend on business or the govt alone and not utilize regular people who are not contrained by digging thru red tape, nor worried about lawsuits, nor thinking inside of a  beaurecratic box, more will get done and it will get done quicker.

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Ralph Waldo Emerson


[ Parent ]
definitely red tape is a problem
everywhere you go.  The various reports on Katrina showed this up time and again, how volunteers were made to wait for days to get ID'ed while their skills were wasted.  At least the latest evolution of plans has pre-credentialing of volunteers as part of the process.  But even there I doubt that it will help, because how many of those who will spontaneously start to help their neighbors would have been a) credentialed and b) planned ahead of time to be volunteers?  Many people are opportunists who in normal life would not consider themselves good samaritans in this way.  Like me with my FW stuff - I would not have gotten involved if I ever had to plan ahead of time and get 'credentialed', but I saw things that needed to be done, it was easy, it was there, and I went and did it.  I'm sure many here are the same.

I don't think we can cut through red tape overnight, but we CAN streamline a lot of processes by much better coordination, planning, and testing ahead of time.  The new version of NRP in part 2 of this diary has dramatically changed the process of coordinating incident management, specifically for pandemic.  The fact that they have now pre-desingated the PFO and regional PFO's and have DHS and HHS senior counterparts paired up to test plans should make a lot of difference.  The story is during Katrina Michael Brown was still drawing organizational charts 60 hours after Katrina made landfall, such was the mindset and the red tape.  I think at the highest level the will is very strong to learn from these lessons, and mechanisms are being put in place in NIMS to ensure lessons at every level are applied into the process and monitored. We'll have to see how well this would work, but it's definitely in the right direction.

As I said, go read up part 2, as it is substantially different.  That's why I called it 'born again' national response framework.  ;-)

It's becoming clear to me also that funding is following these changes, not immediately but coming down the pike, that state whose plans that do not fulfill the fed's recommendations will find their funding cut.



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
also situational awareness
will need to change.  Again, the new structure under NRF hopefully will improve things.



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
Go before Sept 1 or stay
A few days ago I heard on a news show that President Bush had told those in his cabinet (and I guess a few steps down from the cabinet members) that if they were going to leave the administration then they needed to do so before Sept 1.  Otherwise he would expect them to be there for the duration of the term.  This was said in reference to the late attorney general leaving, but it may also be the reason for the timing of Adm Agunwonbi's resignation.  This makes some sense out of the timing of his departure, if I have heard correctly.

[ Parent ]
yep, we'll have to see
how all those personnel changes will affect pandemic policy.  There are some people that personally I hope will stay in their jobs for a very long time...



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


[ Parent ]
UPDATE
After writing this diary, I found a draft updated version of the National Response Plan, now re-named National Response Framework.  There are major changes, so some of the points that I made earlier may no longer be valid.  Please see part 2 here http://www.newfluwik...



All 'safety concerns' are hypothetical.  If not, they'd be called side effects...


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