National Preparedness: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Preparing for emergencies—on both personal and professional levels—has become a part of our daily lives. During National Preparedness Month, observed annually in September, “we refocus our efforts on readying ourselves, our families, our neighborhoods, and our nation for any crisis we may face,” said President Barack Obama in his August 30 proclamation.
On a personal level, we want to ensure our families and friends are well prepared to overcome any disaster that may strike. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has developed resources available through Ready.gov to help individuals and communities prepare for emergencies. The tips and tools available on Ready.gov throughout the year allow you to plan for emergencies at any time.
Professionally, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery are every agency’s responsibility. The National Planning Frameworks, part of our National Preparedness System, foster a shared understanding of our roles and responsibilities in national preparedness. They describe how we, as a nation, coordinate, share information, and work together to achieve our National Preparedness Goal: “A secure and resilient nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”
GSA’s Office of Mission Assurance (OMA) serves as the agency-wide lead for GSA’s responsibilities for:
• continuity of government operations
• disaster policy, planning, support, and operational coordination
• special security programs
GSA provides online Emergency Response assistance before, during, and after emergencies take place. On our website, government employees can find information on operational status of government facilities; resources to help purchase supplies, equipment, and services through GSAAdvantage!® Disaster Relief schedule contracts; GSA Office of Government-wide Policy bulletins that inform agencies if provisions of the Federal Travel Regulation are waived in emergencies; emergency authority for government charge card use; and exceptions to existing per diem rates for travel to impacted areas. Resources are also available for vendors offering relief supplies and service on the GSA schedule.
GSA also partners with other agencies to provide direct assistance and training for your emergency planning needs. GSA’s expertise in workplace solutions, technology, and supply can help you transition through any unforeseen circumstance. By working with GSA in advance of an emergency, you can proactively develop materials and expertise that will help your employees navigate through uncertain times. Please contact GSA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Emergency Coordinator Maryann Toniazzo at email@example.com or (215) 446-4911, to discuss planning and training options for your agency.
The Regional Emergency Coordinator also provides GSA's operational coordination for disaster response. Please contact Maryann any time your agency requires GSA's assistance during a declared emergency.