Discussion question


Emergency Management Policy

Most disasters change not only the direct environment in which they occurred, but also the policies and sets of standards meant to prevent them. Policy changes, practice considerations, and integration of lessons learned from the all hazards approach to emergency management serve to improve response and recovery activities for future disaster events. However, emergency managers must determine the effect to which lessons learned may or may not influence emergency management practice. In promoting policy changes and practice considerations for the field, the concept of standardizing response and recovery operations is useful.

Although the concept of standardizing emergency management is not new, the events of 9/11 unambiguously demonstrated lags in standards for terrorist prevention and preparedness. Because of the lack of coordination between several government agencies for information dissemination and execution of standard protocols, prevention of the attack failed. Similarly, Hurricane Katrina revealed inconsistencies with fostering intergovernmental relationships for evacuation considerations, safe relocation of victims, and delivery of federal assistance across all government levels. Flawed legislation for mitigation and preparedness presented immense challenges for recovery and response efforts after the storm.

The integration of lessons learned into the all hazards approach for emergency management and the subsequent legislation to address challenges for coordinating response and recovery operations is a recurring theme in the field of emergency management.

For this Discussion, review the media and Learning Resources for this week. Then consider how disasters may alter federal to state relations for response and recovery. Select two disasters and reflect on how federal and state relations might impact the field of emergency management. Do not choose 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina as your disaster. Think about different disasters that might have had an impact on different governmental levels.


Post a brief description of each of the two disasters you selected. Then explain the specific policy that resulted from these disasters and their impact on the field of emergency management. Finally, describe the challenges that these disasters might present to emergency managers in establishing intergovernmental relationships for response and recovery.

Be sure to use the Learning Resources and current literature to support your response.



Canton, L. G. (2007). Emergency management: Concepts and strategies for effective programs. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Chapter 10, “Managing Crisis” (pp. 305–333)

Sylves, R. (2015). Disaster policy and politics: Emergency management and homeland security (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: CQ Press.

  • Chapter 6, “Intergovernmental Relations in Disaster Policy” (pp. 157-192)

Walsh, D. W., Christen, H. T., Jr., Callsen, C. E., Jr., Miller, G. T., Maniscalco, P. M., Lord, G. C., & Dolan, N. J. (2012). National incident management system: Principles and practice (2nd ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

  • Chapter 4, “Operations” (pp. 35–49)
  • Chapter 9, “Multiagency Coordination Systems” (pp. 85–98)
  • Chapter 15, “National Response Framework” (pp. 161–171)

United States Department of Homeland Security. (2008). National response framework (FEMA Publication P-682). Retrieved from http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-core.pdf

  • Chapter 3, “Response Organization” (pp. 47–53)


Required Media

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012d). Intergovernmental and interagency relations. Baltimore, MD: Author.


Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 6 minutes.

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