Homeland Security Unveils New Resources For First Responders And Emergency Managers

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WASHINGTON The Department of Homeland Security's Federal EmergencyManagement Agency (FEMA) has developed two new resources for emergency managersand first responders to enhance mutual aid systems across the country and helpemergency response networks operate more effectively together.

"President Bush, Secretary Ridge and I are committed to firstresponders," said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of Homeland Securityfor Emergency Preparedness and Response. "The development of this commonterminology for resources in emergency response operations is necessary foreffective mutual aid arrangements and interoperability."

The new resources include The National Mutual Aid Glossary of Terms andDefinitions, which provides terms for equipment, teams and personnel used indisasters, and, Resource Typing Definitions I, which organizes equipment andteams by functional category and 'types' them according to capability and/orcapacity. Functional categories by which the resources are organized, includeEmergency Management, Emergency Medical Systems, Fire/Hazardous Materials,Health and Medical, Law Enforcement, Public Works, and Search and Rescue.

'Resource Typing' is a term used by emergency managers and responders todefine the capabilities of a particular resource. For example, the definitionfor an Urban Search and Rescue Team would specify the numbers and kinds ofprofessionals the team would require, the level of training and certificationthey must have, the specific equipment needed by the team, and the logisticalrequirements necessary to maintain the team.

Resource Typing Definitions I covers aninitial 60 resources; it is anticipated that by the end of FY 2004, a total of120 typed resources will have been completed and released. The glossary andresource typing definitions may be downloaded from the fema.gov website at: www.fema.gov/preparedness/mutual_aid.shtm.

The glossary and resource definitions are part of a Homeland Security andFEMA initiative to support the new National Incident Management System (NIMS),the nation's first standardized management plan that creates a unified structurefor federal, state, and local lines of government for incident response.

FEMA's resource typing initiative will provide states and local jurisdictionswith a basis to type, inventory, order, and track federal, state, and localassets. This will ensure that equipment and personnel deployed through NIMS arecompatible with those of neighboring jurisdictions that work together throughmutual aid agreements.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of HomelandSecurity. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead theeffort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federalresponse and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA alsoinitiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and managesthe National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.