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Federal Emergency Management Agency

The federal government has been involved in disaster relief at the federal level since the Congressional Act of 1803 was passed to provide assistance to a New Hampshire town that had been devastated by a fire. In 1979, President Carter of the United States established by Executive Order the Federal Emergency Management Agency which was brought together from a group of separate disaster relief programs throughout the federal government into a single agency. In November 2007, FEMA became part of the Department of Homeland Security. Among its many functions, it is responsible for: service to disaster victims; integrating the preparedness of federal, state and local governments, volunteer agencies, private partners and the American public in response to terror attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies; operational planning and preparedness, providing 24-hour-a-day support in order to move swiftly in all hazardous situations; disaster logistics and procurement systems; hazard mitigation; emergency communications; public disaster communications; supporting the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System; protecting communities through the National Flood Insurance Program; and providing funding for a variety of hazard mitigation programs. Specifically, its Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Program helps state and local government by: identifying cost-effective means of risk reduction; focusing resources on the most prominent risks; creating the environment for various groups to work together; improving necessary education and awareness of hazards; and helping communities establish and communicate priorities. FEMA’s mission is to develop and apply knowledge to actual hazardous situations based on research, engineering, analysis of previous events, and the establishment of Best Practices, (See endnote 69.)

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