NEMA President Testifies before Congress
Washington, DC – On Thursday, May 12, 2016, Bryan Koon, Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives on behalf of the National Emergency Management Association.
Before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, in a hearing titled, “Controlling the Rising Cost of Federal Responses to Disaster”, Mr. Koon explained that meaningful cost reduction should impact all levels of government and the private sector and not simply shift the cost between stakeholders.
Mr. Koon explained, “The government practice of spending more money on disaster recovery than risk reduction must be changed. Hazard mitigation is a cost-effective effort with a documented return on investment. Mitigation reduces response costs and speeds recovery. Integrating mitigation meaningfully into recovery can be the catalyst for a community-wide focus on preparedness in the future.” He highlighted that mitigation and resilience activities by state, local and tribal governments should be recognized and incentivized by the federal government.
Mr. Koon ended by providing the Committee with some recommendations. He explained, “The federal government should continue to offer incentive programs that allow states to pursue innovative ways to strengthen their communities. We recommend FEMA and other agencies continually evaluate these programs to better understand the things that deter or prevent communities from fully leveraging these opportunities.” Mr. Koon also explained that NEMA recommends that a study to determine the true costs of disasters be conducted that captures not only those direct financial costs borne by FEMA, but also those costs, both direct and indirect, that are paid by other federal agencies, state, local, and tribal governments, and the private sector.
The full witness list is provided below:
· The Honorable Carlos Curbelo, U.S. Representative, 26th District, Florida
· The Honorable Joseph L. Nimmich, Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
· Ms. Sallie Clark, Commissioner, El Paso County, Colorado; President, National Association of Counties, International Association of Emergency Managers
· Mr. Bryan Koon, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management; President, National Emergency Management Association
· Mr. Eric Nelson, Senior Vice President of Catastrophe Risk Management, Travelers Insurance, Build Strong Coalition
· Mr. Kevin Mickey, Chair, Multihazard Mitigation Council, National Institute of Building Sciences
A full video of the hearing and copy of Mr. Koon’s testimony can be found below:
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NEMA is the association of professionals dedicated to enhancing public safety by improving the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from all emergencies, disasters, and threats to our security. NEMA is an affiliate organization of The Council of State Governments, headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky.