DomesticPreparedness met with Glenn Cannon, Assistant Administrator for Disaster Operations, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA’s assistant administrator for disaster operations discusses the “New” FEMA, reorganized in accordance with the 2006 Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act, and the reconfigured agency’s operational, pro-active, and situationally-aware orientation.
Overview Of The FEMA Reorganization
New FEMA efforts to “operationalize” its responses, for both “notice” and “no-notice” events; the establishment of national and regional incident management assistance teams (IMATs); bottom-up New Madrid Fault planning with the American Red Cross; planning liaison with the Department of Defense and U.S. Northern Command.
Command And Control
FEMA’s engaged-partnership philosophy and its “leaning forward” posture for incident command in advance of a declared disaster; the increased importance of situational awareness.
Authorities Within The Disaster Operations Directorate
How FEMA’s new “gap analysis” tool is generating requirements, influencing funding, and translating into specifics in emergency management assistance compacts (EMACs); the common operational picture provided by the directorate’s National Coordination Operations Center; FEMA’s deployable disaster communications suites.
Operational Liaison With Other Agencies
The sequential interface between FEMA’s Disaster Operations Directorate and its Logistics and Disaster Assistance Directorates; the interface between FEMA’s urban search and rescue (USAR) task forces and Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMATs) – which are now under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Glenn Cannon, FEMA's assistant administrator for disaster operations, previously served at M/A-COM Wireless, the well-known provider of public safety communications equipment. He has both a legal and firefighting background and has served both in county and city governments, as well as at the state level. In Pennsylvania, he was Allegheny County’s manager and chief operating officer, and also served as director of the county’s emergency-management and public-safety departments. In Pittsburgh, he made his name serving as head of the water and sewer authority and the city’s emergency medical services and public-safety departments. As public safety director he introduced the first computers to the Pittsburgh police, implemented the city's enhanced 911 system, re-engineered the fire service, and established the city's first river-rescue unit, first specialized rescue units, and first hazardous materials response team. The numerous improvements recorded during his tenure, one authority commented, brought Pittsburgh’s public safety services “out of the dark ages.”