October 31, 2012
The Heritage Foundation has been arguing for years that local communities and individuals, not the federal government, should take the lead in disaster response. Hurricane Sandy should serve as a reminder of the need for these reforms.
In 2007, Heritage’s James Carafano, Jennifer Marshall and Lauren Hammond explained what this “grassroots disaster response” would look like:
The greatest advance that America could make in preparing for catastrophic disasters is to build better individual-based programs, a culture of preparedness, and resilient and self-reliant communities.
Achieving this goal requires thinking differently. Throwing money at states through homeland security grants or turning the responsibility over to the federal government entirely will not make Americans much safer. Instead, Washington should play a limited role, enabling and encouraging states and communities to take the lead by empowering individuals to care for themselves and others during disasters.
Do you think the federal government needs a different role in responding to disasters like Hurricane Sandy?