As you might guess, it takes a high level of coordination and skill to pull off an event where hundreds of thousands of people converge on a small area to watch many of the nation’s political leaders. Yesterday during President Obama’s public Inauguration ceremony, I jotted down some thoughts about FEMA’s role supporting our emergency management partners:
The President’s Inauguration is on the televisions at the front and along the sides of the room as 25 government employees watch attentively and monitor the situation. We’re here in the FEMA Region III Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Philadelphia, PA supporting the Inauguration and the surrounding events. The RRCC is where we monitor situations, work with our partners, and coordinate our response efforts.
There were employees here from several government agencies to support the Inauguration.
Staff members have been communicating with their federal and state partners and other FEMA employees throughout the day so they know what’s happening in DC and if there are any unmet needs. They’re talking to coworkers who are in the Washington, DC Emergency Operations Center, with the Secret Service, and with the FBI. They’ve spent months planning for this, for any scenario that could pop up, whether it includes consequence management, food, water, transportation, security or a myriad of other factors and scenarios. Team members include logisticians, planners, response, finance, media monitors and more. Because we train and plan together, serving together is easier.
Now that the preparations have all been made, everyone is able to pay attention to the televisions and listen in as the President is inaugurated and begins his address. One thing that seems to really hit home for everyone here is the President’s quote, “Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life's worst hazards and misfortune.”
It’s a statement that resonates throughout this room because that, too, is why we’re all here; to care for the vulnerable and protect the population from life’s worst hazards. A lot of people here have only recently returned home, many were deployed to help respond to Hurricane Sandy. These are staff members that have just returned from assisting the people of the affected states.
Upon hearing the President’s statement, we’re reminded that the sacrifices we make, the long hours we work, and the time away from home is worth it; we are here for the disaster survivors, not for ourselves, and we do it together. We have so many of our partners working with us today: federal agencies, state and local emergency management agencies, and all of our citizens. We truly are working to protect our citizens together.