The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) supports protecting homeland security and improving emergency preparedness through a regional approach with the inclusion of regional councils (RCs) in coordination, planning, response and recovery efforts to provide safe, healthy communities.
- Codify partnerships with stakeholders in government (local, state and federal) and across multiple policy sectors in formal, enforceable rules and protocols to maximize the utility of federal funds and to establish cooperative plans.
- Invest in creating multiple public-private partnerships, producing informal coalitions with greater resource capabilities.
ROLE OF REGIONAL COUNCILS
- Recognize the network of Regional Councils (RCs) for regional collaboration, maximizing governance, multi-level partnerships, and institutional linkages as effective in using federal funds to improve emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
- Support regional approaches and use of RCs in developing “all hazards” emergency response plans.
- Formalize the federal position on and leverage funding for RCs in emergency preparedness and response similar to that of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in transportation planning, implementation and capacity building.
- Incorporate regional emergency planning with the home care and aging industries for disabled and disadvantaged persons.
- Include RC representation on all ten FEMA Regional Advisory Councils and on the FEMA National Advisory Council.
- Recognize the RC role in emergency preparedness and response as an integral part of livable communities.
FUNDING & PROGRAM
- Ensure emergency preparedness, response and recovery funding is allocated to urban, suburban and rural localities.
- Fund key assistance programs, including fire, Emergency Management Performance (EMPG), Disaster Relief Fund, Pre-Disaster Mitigation, Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and Citizen Corps.
- Support federal efforts to improve homeland security grant programs by streamlining application and planning requirements, promoting flexibility and providing additional resources.
- Grant priority funding based on a regional or multi-jurisdictional planning and collaborative efforts.
- Support UASI grants, which set a strategic direction for the enhancement of regional response capability and capacity and is the most effective tool to recognize inter-jurisdictional emergency preparedness and response.
- Establish a competitive grant program for RCs to enhance emergency regional planning and response.
- Develop regional case studies to demonstrate RC best practices for emergency planning and response.
- Require states to pass-through a percentage of local funding to develop regional security assessments and plans, including upgrades in GIS or other programs or needed equipment, consistent with local and regional needs assessment.
- Include public safety and emergency preparedness as key elements of livable/sustainable communities.
- Provide funding on the basis of identified needs, particularly for critical infrastructure and multi-state regions.
- Promote interagency sharing of equipment and training opportunities via RCs among all levels of government.
- Allocate sustainable funding for interoperable communications between local governments, first responders and citizens.
- Continue with the deployment of a nationwide interoperable wireless broadband network for public safety through the D Block with strong participation and input from local elected officials and regional planning organizations.
Inconsistencies in preparedness efforts across state and local governments ultimately yield greater vulnerability to the terror hazard and less effective homeland security policy. For this reason, a major effort is needed to establish or fund planning on a multi-jurisdictional basis. Experience has shown that it takes the coordinated efforts of numerous jurisdictions to successfully protect America’s cities and counties, and the metropolitan and rural regions of the nation. A network of more than 500 regional councils of government throughout the country covering more than 35,000 of the 39,000 local governments are readily available to develop strategic assessments and plans for assuring communities are prepared.