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Saturday, February 27th, 2021

Bipartisan disaster preparedness legislation passes House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation – the Promoting Resilience and Efficiency in Preparing for Attacks and Responding to Emergencies (PREPARE) Act, H.R. 3583 – on Tuesday that would enhance the U.S.’s disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

The legislation was introduced by U.S. Reps. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Martha McSally (R-AZ).

“From major mass transit arteries and chemical facilities to homes and schools, my district is vulnerable to a variety of man-made and natural disasters,” Payne said. “Our community’s first responders must be prepared to respond to every worst-case scenario. That is why I was proud to work with Congresswoman McSally to author the PREPARE Act.”

The legislation would prioritize communication on the state level, and would require each state to appoint a statewide interoperability coordinator or to delegate activities related to achieving interoperability to other qualified individuals, as well as mandating that FEMA appoint an expert who can coordinate the technical aspects of preparing children for possibly disaster situations.

“In my capacity as ranking member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications, I have had the opportunity to hear from first responders and emergency managers across the country, as well as doctors, public health experts, and individuals advocating to ensure the needs of children are incorporated into disaster response plans,” Payne, said. “So I am pleased that the PREPARE Act includes my provision to improve the way the needs of children are integrated into emergency planning.”