Intergovernmental Advisory Committee: Disaster Response Coordination

The FCC's IAC has published its report on emergency communication impacts of the various hurricanes and disasters in 2018 and early 2019. These include Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, Michael and Nate.

No surprises. I've seen essentially all of the issues and recommendations in other after action reports.

Intergovernmental Advisory Committee to the Federal Communications Commission
Advisory Recommendation No: 2019-3
In the Matter of Intergovernmental Disaster Response Coordination
November 7, 2019

The recommendations herein include best practices to promote resilient communications during and after an incident to help ensure first responders and the public have access to reliable communications when disaster strikes. The importance of maintaining resilient communications during and after a disaster cannot be overstated. Sometimes, the ability to communicate during and after a disaster is a matter of life and death.


In summary, in order to fine-tune preparedness, response and recovery between state, local, and Tribal governments, the IAC recommends:

• Regular training, coordination, and communication is a must. It must be conducted during “blue skies.” When an emergency is occurring, it is too late to start coordinating.

In addition to training for government workers, Training, outreach, and coordination must be provided for the citizens and “stakeholders” that we are trying to protect. A properly trained and informed community is a resilient community.

• A formal infrastructure must be identified with representatives from all stakeholders, who meet throughout the year to familiarize themselves with each other, identify common threats, and coordinate training and response. For example, the South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan is reviewed annually to ensure state agencies and voluntary organizations understand each other’s responsibilities and capabilities. At least twice annually, the South Carolina Emergency Management Division hosts workshops for counties to discuss issues and concerns. Further, regional workshops are conducted quarterly throughout the state.

• All involved parties must have open and redundant lines of communication during normal operations, as well as during emergencies. In order to be efficient and effective, state, local, and Tribal government must know what each other is doing. They must also be aware of the general capabilities and the available resources that each agency involved can contribute.