The Evolution of Emergency Management
functions of emergency management have been performed for decades by government
and private organizations; it was only recently that broader ideas about
managing emergencies were discussed.
The Civil Defense Act of 1950 provided for
a joint responsibility to carry out civil defense that rested with the federal
government, the states, and all local jurisdictions. Each level of government
had specific responsibilities. However, all had a responsibility of
preparedness for nuclear attack.
The formation of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) in 1979, and ultimate name change to Emergency
Management, was an indication of a change away from specialized preparedness for
single hazards and a move toward an all hazards approach; attack, natural, and technological,
to potential threats to life and property. This reflects not a reduction in
security, but an increased emphasis on making the nation's emergency management
capability responsible for any major emergency or disaster.
A merger of 20
federal agencies took place in March 2003, forming the Department of Homeland
Security. Today's Emergency Management is an intricate part of Homeland
Security forming the Preparedness and Recovery Directorate. As an agency not
aligned with law enforcement, fire protection or medical services, it provides
a strong association with all three while mitigation, preparedness, response, and
recovery remain major responsibilities.