People typically consider FEMA to be the agency who handles natural disasters like hurricanes and massive flooding’s, especially within the last few years with major hurricanes devastating parts of the US. Yet, it should be known that FEMA was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 but could be traced back to as far as 1803’s Congressional Act, which was considered to be the first portion of disaster legislation after an extensive fire in a New Hampshire town (FEMA.gov, 2019).
In November 1988, the amended Disaster Relief Act of 1974 created the system in place used today where presidential disaster declaration of an emergency triggers financial and physical assistance through FEMA (FEMA.gov, 2019). This act gave FEMA the responsibility for coordinating government wise relief for natural disasters affecting the US by an orderly and systematic approach (FEMA.gov, 2019).
Fast forward to March 2003, FEMA became a part of the DHS bringing in the following agencies with it:
After joining the DHS with 22 other agencies, FEMA began to focus on issues of national preparedness and homeland security where billions of dollars where directed to FEMA to support communities face terrorism threats, adopting an “all-hazards” approach (FEMA.gov, 2019). In October 2004, President Bush signed the Post-Katrina Emergency Reform Act, which reorganized FEMA by providing it new authority for remediating apparent gaps found with the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and included a more robust approach for preparedness for FEMA (FEMA.gov, 2019).