Illinois (ECWd) -
As Illinois Governor Pritzker thrust's himself into the national spotlight by attacking the President and the federal government's handling of the China Virus "COVID-19", and implying it is the President's job to protect Illinoisans, we must ask, does the Governor not know his own responsibilities?
The Secretary of Homeland Security at the request of the President in 2004 created the "National Incident Management System" (NIMS) which integrates effective practices in emergency response into a comprehensive national framework for incident management.
Everyone in the emergency response business is familiar with the NIMS system and the responsibilities laid out in the program. We suggest Governor Priztker take a crash course on it.
"State, tribal, and territorial entities are responsible for supporting local response and recovery activities. The key state official is the governor, who is responsible for the general welfare and safety of the local governments and citizens within a state." (Directly from NIMS Principals and Practice)
"Elected and appointed officials are key players in incident management. They are responsible for the safety and welfare of their constituents and the overall effectiveness of incident management efforts. Governors, tribal leaders, mayors, city managers, and county commissioners, for example, typically comprise the policy level of incident management and provide guidance regarding priorities and strategies for dealing with incident response and recovery." (NIMS 2017 Edition -from page 50)
So it appears, based on the very well established and adopted set of standards in place, the Governor is responsible for the safety and welfare of the people of Illinois as well as being responsible for the effectiveness of incident management efforts in Illinois, not the President.
When does the Federal government become involved?
"When state governors or tribal leaders request Federal assistance and the requests are approved" (see page 51)
While the Governor is making claims the President wasted precious months when he could have taken action, what did Governor Pritzker do during those same precious months? It's not like we did not know about the China Virus "COVID-19" and there was nothing stopping the Governor from acting. Considering the very NIMS system we are under spells out it is the Governors that are responsible for the safety and welfare of their constituents, it appears we have the pot calling the kettle black.
In today's highly politicized environment, it appears the blame game is pointing to a President as the problem, rather than the agencies actually responsible during a declared Federal emergency. Yes, I understand the buck stops with the President on Federal issues, however, we must not ignore the well-established protocols in place, both Federally and at the state and local level.
For example, FEMA leads and coordinates Federal response and assistance when the President declares a major disaster or emergency under the Stafford Act. For those that missed it, FEMA leads and coordinates, not the President. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leads Federal public health and medical response to public health emergencies and incidents, not the President.
So if there is a failure to act or problem in the established process at the Federal level, maybe Governor Pritzker could focus on contacting the FEMA Director Pete T. Gaynor or the HHS Secretary Alex M. Azar II instead of going political and blaming the President for what appears to be failures of his own.
It is not the Federal government's job to handle emergency operations for state and local governments. Our system is well defined and it appears few have read or even understand the obligations set out by law.
"In carrying out the provisions of this Act, each political subdivision may enter into contracts and incur obligations necessary to place it in a position effectively to combat the disasters as are described in Section 4, to protect the health and safety of persons, to protect property, and to provide emergency assistance to victims of those disasters. If a disaster occurs, each political subdivision may exercise the powers vested under this Section in the light of the exigencies of the disaster and, excepting mandatory constitutional requirements, without regard to the procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law pertaining to the performance of public work, entering into contracts, the incurring of obligations, the employment of temporary workers, the rental of equipment, the purchase of supplies and materials, and the appropriation, expenditure, and disposition of public funds and property."
Our system of Government is based on a bottom-up approach as well as a shared approach, especially during a declared disaster. Here at the local level, we ensured our Ambulance had the necessary personal protective equipment on hand during the Ebola crisis several years ago. It was our statutory duty to be prepared by purchasing supplies and materials needed. If we failed to plan, we planned to fail and that falls on us locally, not the government at a higher level. The same planning applies to the current disaster. We took steps to ensure our safety and the safety of those in our community. We did not wait for Governor Pritzker to act, nor would we blame him for any failures on our part such as not having the Personal Protective Equipment we need.
Directly from the book on National Incident Management:
"The National Response Doctrine includes the five principles of engaged partnership; tiered response; scalable, flexible, and adaptable operations capabilities; unity through UC; and readiness to act". (UC- Unified Coordination)
Part of a Unified Coordination is applying the basic understanding of the words "partnership" and "unified". In order for there to be an engaged partnership, we must have unity. There is little hope of establishing that unity when petty politics is brought to the public forum with accusations of blaming someone else for something that frankly was supposed to have been prepared a long time ago by the one casting the blame. Nevermind the fact the general public is sick and tired of the petty political grandstanding that goes on in this country every time a camera is in front of a politician, Pritzker included.
Most Incident Commanders dealing with an actual emergency would remove a person from the operations if their focus is on fault-finding in the middle of the emergency rather than solving the problem. We urge the Governor to stop playing politics and focus on what's right for the people and solve the problems that are presented during this emergency.
Successful Emergency Management only works when the plan in place is followed (assuming there is one), and it involves a shared responsibility, which includes Governors of states all the way down to each and every individual. We note that the shared responsibility for such emergency preparedness in the NIMS program points downward, not upward.
The National Incident Management Principles and Practice spell this out quite clearly.
Individuals and households have a shared responsibility for emergency preparedness that must complement emergency response efforts. Households should partner with public officials to accomplish the following:
• Remove hazards within homes and surrounding property.
• Maintain a home emergency kit and critical supplies.
• Monitor communications related to public emergencies.
• Serve in volunteer support entities.
• Participate in citizen emergency response training.
Preparedness is the keyword.
If the Governor and those on the front line dealing with this emergency have failed to prepare properly, that is on them, not the Federal Government or the President. Identify the deficiencies and correct them. When our Nation faces an Emergency we used to all come together as one, however, now it appears the vitriolic behavior of the radical progressive movement has destroyed all sense of civility and makes each and every issue a political matter and frankly it's destroying this country.
It needs to stop as we are One Nation Under God!
We urge everyone to read the National Incident Management System currently in place to better understand the way things are supposed to be handled during an emergency. When deficiencies are identified we address them and move forward. We learn from mistakes and take appropriate corrective action to ensure future emergencies don't have the same mistakes made. The NIMS booklet can be downloaded at this link or viewed below.