Federal, Commonwealth Disaster Officials Stress Openness With Public

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Release date: 
September 29, 2011
Release Number: 
4025-040

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- In the aftermath of the horrendous flooding so much of Pennsylvania has endured in recent weeks many, disaster recovery officials are surveying damages to roads, bridges, water control facilities, and thousands of private residences to help put Pennsylvanians back on dry land.

Officials of both the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency often find themselves conducting disaster recovery business that draws public interest -- especially from those who have been directly affected by the disaster.

“These officials all have photographic government identification badges to insure that all interested parties know who is working on their behalf,” Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas J. McCool of FEMA said. “FEMA’s policy is that all employees must carry their photo IDs with them at all times when they are working, whether inside government facilities or in the community, and show them when requested,”

“It’s our policy as well, Commonwealth Coordinating Officer John Forr of PEMA said. “We expect our representatives to identify themselves when asked and to state who they are and what they are doing.”

In addition to photo IDs, the disaster officials said, FEMA and PEMA employees working in the community wear items of clothing, such as hats and jackets that clearly identify them as disaster workers. However, clothing items alone, the officials point out, are not the equivalent of the official photo ID.

“We encourage each and every disaster recovery worker to be open with news media reporters and members of the community,” McCool said.

“It’s important that Pennsylvanians know that both PEMA and FEMA encourage our disaster recovery workers to be completely transparent regarding their activities, and that we welcome public attention,” Forr said. “Such attention helps to instill public confidence by giving our agencies an opportunity to demonstrate that government really is successfully working on behalf of Pennsylvania residents.”

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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