Emergency Communications: Effectiveness of the Post-Katrina Interagency Coordination Group Could Be Enhanced

During emergency situations, reliable communications are critical to ensure a rapid and sufficient response. The Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PKEMRA) was enacted in 2006 to improve the federal government’s preparation for and response to disasters, including emergency communications. Since that time, natural and man-made disasters continue to test the nation’s emergency communications capabilities. Given that states and localities are the first line of response following a disaster, states’ emergency communications planning is very important. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review the implementation of PKEMRA. This report examines (1) federal efforts to implement PKEMRA emergency communications provisions related to planning and federal coordination, and (2) how states’ emergency communications planning has changed since PKEMRA. GAO reviewed relevant reports and documentation from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other agencies; surveyed Statewide Interoperability Coordinators (SWICs) from 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 territories, receiving 52 responses; assessed the Emergency Communications Preparedness Centers (ECPCs) collaborative efforts; and interviewed federal and state officials selected for their emergency communications experience. GAO plans to review the implementation of other PKEMRA emergency communications provisions in future work. GAO is making recommendations to DHS aimed at improving the ECPC’s collaborative efforts, including defining its goals and tracking its recommendations. DHS concurred with the recommendations.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 54p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01608644
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO-16-681
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 2016 2:15PM