FEMA released the agency’s response to the National Advisory Council’s (NAC) annual report on Tuesday.
The “National Advisory Council’s Report to the FEMA Administrator,” was released in November 2020.
This report marked the first time the NAC members were charged with specific areas of concern to address in the field of emergency management, rather than open-ended topics. The report, and FEMA’s response, focuses on four main themes — equity, outcomes, coordination and what works.
“We value our NAC partners’ commitment to advancing FEMA’s mission by identifying opportunities in which we can improve and streamline the delivery of our programs,” said FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell. “We are proud of what the agency has achieved thus far, and we will remain steadfast in our pursuit of infusing equity throughout our programs, bolstering coordination with our stakeholders and focusing our efforts on delivering positive outcomes for communities nationwide.”
At the beginning of her tenure in April 2021, Administrator Criswell charged the agency’s leadership with reviewing and responding to the report through the lens of the Biden Administration’s priorities on equity, climate change and readiness.
While the agency’s formal response was delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination mission, FEMA did not waste time in implementing the report’s recommendations. The agency at the direction of the Administrator, implemented or began to execute on recommendations, including:
- Establishing an Equity Enterprise Steering Group, which created a definition of equity for the agency.
- Altering the individual assistance program to reduce barriers to access experienced by underserved populations.
- Implementing Risk Rating 2.0, which will drive more risk-informed and equitable rates for NFIP policyholders.
- Deploying the National Resource Hub, which provides a suite of tools to governments to assist their resource management preparedness.
- Launching a culturally competent National Preparedness Month campaign to reach Latino communities.
The NAC consists of up to 35 members, including a diverse cross-section of officials, emergency managers and emergency responders from state, local, tribal and territorial governments, the private sector and non- governmental organizations. Collectively, these members provide advice to the FEMA Administrator through recommendations on all aspects of emergency management.