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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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Donovan Hearing Provides Recommendations to Strengthen FEMA

February 14, 2017
Press Release
Donovan, emergency management experts identify ways to improve disaster recovery and resiliency capabilities

Washington, DC—February 14, 2017....Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, today hosted a hearing entitled, The Future of FEMA: Stakeholder Recommendations for the Next Administrator, on Capitol Hill. The hearing focused on providing the next FEMA Administrator with recommendations from emergency management experts to improve agency capabilities.

Congressman Donovan said, “FEMA has made significant improvements to strengthen its emergency response capabilities over the past decade, and we must continue to build on this momentum. Testimony from today’s hearing will help improve FEMA disaster recovery and resiliency efforts. It’s crucial that the next Administrator has the information needed to effectively lead and improve our nation’s ability to plan, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.”

Captain Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security for the Michigan State Police, described the critical role FEMA plays in instituting sound preparedness, response, and recovery activities to minimize the impact of disasters. Kelenske’s testimony highlighted the importance of “maintaining strong state-federal partnerships, supporting state and local grant programs fully, and embracing innovative solutions to both emerging and chronic emergency management challenges.”

Chief John Sinclair, President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, discussed challenges faced by first responders and the need for stable funding for programs that support training and preparedness measures. Sinclair highlighted how limited budgets have sometimes affected the ability of fire and EMS departments to provide responders with the tools necessary to effectively respond to emergencies. His testimony went on to state the importance of FEMA grants, such as the Urban Areas Security Initiative – which Congressman Donovan protected from proposed budget cuts – in addressing these funding gaps and providing departments with the equipment and training they need.

A representative from Save the Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting children during disasters, also highlighted the need for a permanent Children’s Needs Technical Expert at FEMA.

This event is part of a series of hearings focused on providing the next FEMA Administrator with ways to streamline and improve agency effectiveness. The second hearing – which is scheduled for February 28th – will include testimony from former FEMA Administrators Craig Fugate and David Paulison. Donovan has made improving disaster response and resiliency a priority. Last year, Donovan introduced and passed the Flood Insurance Mitigation and Policyholder Protection Act, legislation that reforms the disaster recovery process by streamlining the claims appeals process and eliminating the opportunity for damage inspectors to fraudulently alter their reports after a disaster.

Testimonies from each witness, as well as a full recording of the hearing, are available at homeland.house.gov.

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