The United States is unprepared to respond to major natural disasters in part because of the federal role in disaster preparedness, according to a panel of experts who spoke this week at The Heritage Foundation.

“There is a moral hazard where the federal government continues to spend more and more money on preparing for disasters and the states rely on them instead of equipping themselves,” said Daniel Kaniewski of George Washington University. “Very few states set aside money to prepare for disasters.

The experts gave three recommendations to improve disaster response:

  1. Increase state responsibility for local disasters so the federal government can concentrate on being equipped for major national disasters.
  2. Educate the public on how to be prepared. The federal government or state agencies will never be able to respond immediately to disasters. It is vital that individuals know how to be prepared for a disaster.
  3. Integrate planning between local governments, federal agencies, and private organizations to coordinate responses to disasters.

Do you think that local governments should have a bigger role in disaster response?

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