FEMA: First Responders Urged Not to Respond to Hurricane Areas Unless Authorized by State, Local Authorities

The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today urged all fire and emergency services departments not to respond to counties and states affected by Hurricane Isabel without being requested and lawfully dispatched by state and local authorities under mutual aid agreements and the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

“The response to Hurricane Isabel must be well coordinated between federal, state and local officials to most effectively protect life and property,” said Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary for Emergency Preparedness and Response.

The U.S. Fire Administration, part of FEMA, asks that fire and emergency services organizations remain in contact with their local and state emergency management agency officials for updates on requirements in the affected areas.

“It is critical that fire and emergency departments across the country remain in their jurisdictions until such time as the affected states request assistance,” said United States Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. “State and local mutual aid agreements are in place as is the Emergency Management Assistance Compact and those mechanisms will be used to request and task resources needed in the affected areas.

Paulison also noted that self-dispatching volunteer assistance will complicate the response and recovery effort.

For more information on Hurricane Isabel go to the FEMA Web site at www.fema.gov

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