Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Unsolicited offers of help for hurricane relief compromise efforts
FRANKFORT, Ky. - Even before Hurricane Katrina hit Gulf Coast region, Kentuckians kept phone lines busy asking how to get involved and volunteer for the relief effort.
"We would like to thank the thousands of Kentuckians who are signing up to volunteer in the wake of this devastating hurricane," said General Maxwell Clay Bailey, director of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management. "But we also want to ensure these efforts take place in the areas that need the greatest amount of help."
To best utilize resources, state emergency managers, as well as FEMA, use the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) for formal requests from affected areas. EMAC representatives have received countless offers to provide assistance from local and state response officials of almost every discipline. It is critical that assistance be provided only when it has been requested. Louisiana and Mississippi have a finite capacity to support incoming assistance. Requests for assistance are carefully planned so this capacity is not exceeded. Self-deployments and unsolicited offers of assistance have compromised these efforts.
State officials strongly encourage emergency responders to work with their state emergency management agency to communicate offers of assistance. If an impacted state needs a specific type of assistance, they will issue a request through the EMAC system. EMAC states respond to these requests by matching available resources to requests.
EMAC protocols have been used to deploy more than 35,000 emergency responders to Katrina impacted states. These protocols were established to serve the interests of both requesting and assisting states. It is important that all mutual aid participants respect this process and wait for assistance to be requested before taking action beyond preparedness.
Those who travel without first receiving direction run the risk of being turned away, as well as hampering relief efforts.
People wishing to volunteer money and services should continue to call established volunteer organizations, which coordinate their efforts through the Emergency Management Hotline, at 1-800-618-1689.
The Governor joins the Emergency Management community in thanking everyone for the incredible outpouring of support during this disaster.