State-Managed Disasters: Another Perspective


...level of reservists or mutual aid or EMAC (Emergency Management Assistance Compact) to supplement your staffing.

But you have to make sure that you have leaders and subject matter experts trained, built and ready within your staff. I think that’s incredibly important. In terms of any changes in how we’re to implement now with this new guidance — virtually none. I’ll say we were pretty successful in the process of writing this guidance. We were very intimately involved, so a lot of the ways that we were operating in the past are what’s been written into the guide. And since we have some of this authorship, it will not significantly change how we operate.

In terms of what we’ll do now that this guide and process have been released — and maybe you’re going to touch on this in one of your next questions —we have to continue to advocate for more state management, not so much for the dollars, but for flexibility and the ability to roll those dollars over from one disaster to the next. I think that’s going to be incredibly important for states: to be able to sustain capabilities between disaster declarations.

Andrews: The State-Led Public Assistance Guide allows recipients to choose their level of involvement with three key functions: customer service, site inspections, and scoping and costing — and there are “shared” and“plus” levels in each category. What level of involvement do you think most states will choose, and why or why not?

Schulz: That’s a tough question to answer. It’s going to be as diverse as the states’ operations and capabilities are right now. I think you’re going to see a range from top to bottom of what states will do. The nice thing about this model is that it’s flexible, it’s scalable. There’s really no template of what a state should or shouldn’t do.

It depends both on the state and its capabilities, as well as the nature, size and scope of a particular disaster.

One state might assume all of these functions in a medium-sized disaster; however, if the following year they have a catastrophic disaster, they’re going to have to hand some of those things off to the feds just because the capacity isn’t there. So I think it’s going to run the gamut in what states choose. North Dakota will continue to do all three. We believe we’ve got the capacity to do that in virtually any...

“There’s probably going to be some incrementalism for states that have not been doing state-managed up to this point. They may get their feet wet with one of the three main areas in their first disaster and continue to build capacity.”