7 Application of FEMA’s Community Lifelines

Decision-making within a complex, multi-agency environment can be encumbered with several challenges for private businesses, local emergency managers, state emergency operations centers, and federal agencies. Large disasters often require support from and coordination with external agencies. In order to ensure a productive working relationship and successful outcomes, emergency managers need to effectively communicate their needs and attain alignment with supporting agencies. Alignment of goals, strategies, operations, and objectives is critical to ensuring an efficient and effective response. Without proper alignment and coordination, each organization may pursue different response lines of effort according to their respective priorities and mission as each organization deems important. Crisis leaders need to avoid loss of focus and distraction from minor urgencies that arise during a crisis, and stay focused on moving the needles toward lifeline stabilization.

In the previous two chapters, we explored situational awareness and decision theory which left off at decision implementation. This chapter will explore how FEMA’s Community Lifelines structure and toolkit can be used to enhance decision-making and implementation to achieve incident objectives with the support of external agencies. While attempting to strike the balance of theory and practice, I have attempted to present this material in a way that operationalizes a federally ...

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