However, the question is now to judge whether what is on paper is as good when it is tested by nature. Based on the experience of Hurricane Andrew, the federal government and its local counterparts have implemented the need to formulize specific plans and operating procedures to cope with these calamities but the Andrew experience has now been overshadowed by another Hurricane. Katrina hit the Bahamas, South Florida, Cuba, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida Panhandle, and most of eastern North America on August of 2005 costing the US almost 82 billion in damages and the lives of 1836 people ("Hurricane Katrina", 2006). This happened after the requirement of each state to have its own emergency response systems and the institution by the federal governing bodies solely focused on did after preparation and mitigation. The devastation brought on by Hurricane Katrina most recently has further emphasized the need to have these disaster plans carefully examined, updated and monitored.
The Florida Fire Chiefs' Association has created the FFCA Statewide Emergency Plan (SERP) is an effort to coordinate and mitigate response during emergencies. It is not limited to situations brought on by hurricanes that frequent the state but also provides standard operating procedures for various types of emergencies either brought by natural or contrived circumstances. It is based on a collective of experience from emergency services and the methods that have been established during the ordinary course of their service.
The FFCA SERP covers local, county, state and federal level of intervention that delegates primary accountability with the lowest level of government and assistance can be requested following the same hierarchy the apex being Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM)Assessment of damages or calamity costs is evaluated by the Rapid Impact Assessment Teams(RIAT) which will also be the basis of declarations of state of emergency by the Governor which will in turn initiate the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) that will serve as the coordinating body of county-based emergency operations centers. In the event that local and state resources prove to be inadequate, the Governor may seek the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). At the same time, existing government agencies may be asked to extend their functions as may be required by the situation.
The other key elements that have been established through FFCA-SERP are deployment time frames, pre-identified strike teams, and pre-staged resources. Another key element to the plan is the considerable focus on the pre and post event concerns. As preparation for any event it is a requirement that a proper assessment of anticipated needs, both supplies and services, is done and that each level shall consider these as current requirements. However, even if emergency response primary follows a hierarchy, counties are encouraged to support and coordinate with each other closely at all times. Consequently, the manner of dealing with reimbursements, service rates of personnel, equipment rates and other expenses, has already been established.
Disasters and Realities
It has been claimed that Hurricane Andrew laid bare the