February 5, 2003 |
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been designated as the lead federal agency for the search, find, and secure efforts in response to the loss of space shuttle Columbia. Michael Brown, Deputy Director of FEMA and Acting Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, will lead FEMA’s efforts.From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security:FEMA to Lead Search, Find, and Secure Mission Following Space Shuttle Tragedy
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been designated as the lead federal agency for the search, find, and secure efforts in response to the loss of space shuttle Columbia. Michael Brown, Deputy Director of FEMA and Acting Undersecretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response, will lead FEMA’s efforts.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the astronauts lost in this tragedy,” said Brown. “FEMA has been asked to lead the federal effort to search, find, and secure debris from Columbia so that NASA can move forward with a full investigation. We are working closely with several federal agencies as well as state and local officials in Texas and Louisiana to make sure that all available resources are coordinated and used effectively in this important mission.”
Brown has been in contact with Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe and U.S. Defense Department officials throughout the day, and is working through the emergency management offices of Texas and Louisiana to determine what response assets have already been deployed and which additional assets might be available for the mission.
FEMA is an independent federal agency with more than 2,600 full time employees. They work at FEMA headquarters in Washington D.C., at regional and area offices across the country, at the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, and at the FEMA training center in Emmitsburg, Maryland. FEMA also has nearly 4,000 standby disaster assistance employees who are available to help out after disasters. Often FEMA works in partnership with other organizations that are part of the nation’s emergency management system. These partners include state and local emergency management agencies, 27 federal agencies and the American Red Cross.
FEMA will become part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Division for Emergency Preparedness and Response on March 1, 2003.