Sent on behalf of:
Robert Ezelle, Director, Washington Emergency Management Division
Jim Hall, Chair, Emergency Management Council
Dear Emergency Preparedness Partners,
Many are aware of the stipulation in the Federal Fiscal Year 2013 Homeland Security Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement to form a Senior Advisory Committee by December 31, 2013. The purpose of the Senior Advisory Committee (S.A.C.) is to integrate preparedness activities across disciplines, create a cohesive planning framework, and ensure resources are used in a manner that helps reduce duplication of effort.
We first heard of this requirement when the Funding Opportunity Announcement was released on May 24th, 2013. The following months were spent submitting grant applications and administering funding to stakeholders. In August, the Emergency Management Division (EMD), which serves as the State Administrative Agent (SAA) for Homeland Security grants, developed an informational paper that summarized the S.A.C. requirements. Homeland Security Coordinators and the Urban Area Security Initiatives Work Group were asked to review and provide feedback on the paper in September. The paper is merely a resource document summarizing requirements and is not intended to set policy.
The Emergency Management Council was provided the informational paper and a brief overview during a council meeting on October 3. At that point, it was unclear how best to proceed with establishing the S.A.C. It was shared that an ad hoc “committee to develop a committee” would be formed. Recognizing the challenge of forming a group, ensuring adequate representation and interest without being unwieldy, EMD sketched out a possible work group and engaged interested individuals. Unfortunately the outreach took longer than anticipated, and work did not begin until November, cutting into timelines to meet the December 31, 2013 deadline. In short order, the S.A.C. Development Work Group agreed to hold three outreach meetings with call-in options.
During the outreach meetings, information was shared on actions-to-date and membership of the S.A.C. Development Work Group. Also, feedback was solicited regarding how best to proceed. Adjustments were made and will continue to be made to the Work Group, as needed. Additionally, there was strong consensus that not only is Washington State already meeting the intention of grant guidance, but that in some ways we exceed the requirement because of the statutorily mandated Emergency Management Council.
The purpose of the S.A.C. Development Work Group will be to establish the committee’s mission; identify differences between grant requirements and the current EMC; develop a matrix to integrate new S.A.C. representation and additional requirements in the current EMC; conduct on-going outreach; and ensure the S.A.C. has a sustainable and quantifiable mission in emergency preparedness and is not just a group existing only to meet grant guidance. The Work Group is not the S.A.C.; however, it has porous boundaries–please continue to share all suggestions. As the emergency preparedness community moves forward in further formation of the S.A.C., this is a great opportunity to reflect a commitment to the “whole community” and the rich diversity of the communities in our state.
At the December 5th Emergency Management Council meeting, Ziggy Dahl (EMD) will provide an in depth briefing on S.A.C. work to date and will validate that the current EMC meets the intention of the grant guidance. Additionally the Council will be asked to establish the S.A.C. Development Work Group as a work group of the EMC with the identified and discussed deliverables.
Thanks for all you do and we look forward to your assistance as we work to improve the emergency preparedness system in Washington.