PIERRE, S.D. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of South Dakota have invited incident commanders from five tribes included in the winter storms public assistance declarations to participate in the Unified Command System at the Joint Field Office in Pierre from March 22-26.
The reservations designated as disaster areas under the severe winter storm disaster declaration during the period of Dec. 23-27, 2009, include those of the Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes. The three reservations designated for the Jan. 20-26, 2010, winter storm include those of the Cheyenne River, Sisseton-Wahpeton, and Standing Rock Sioux Tribes.
The primary goal is to ensure that tribes have the opportunity to be active participants in the leadership team and engaged in the decision-making process.
“As partners, we hope to take full advantage of the opportunity to increase our awareness and educate each other regarding tribal, state and federal policies and procedures related to disaster recovery,” said State Coordinating Officer Kristi Turman. “This effort represents a greater degree of cooperation, coordination and involvement during times of recovery between our governments than ever before.”
“We look forward to gaining a better understanding of the unique challenges tribal communities face during this recovery,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Nancy Casper.
The Unified Command System allows agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional authorities and responsibilities to work together effectively without affecting individual agency authority, responsibility, or accountability.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.