STATEMENT OF MARIANNE JACKSON, FEMA
Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. I am Marianne Jackson, Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the World Trade Center disaster. I thank you for this opportunity to update you on FEMA's disaster response operations in New York City, especially related to health concerns and clean up, since the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001.
The events of September 11 have become indelibly etched in our collective memory because of the unthinkable and evil terrorist acts perpetrated against the citizens of this great nation. The twin towers at the World Trade Center complex collapsed and nearby buildings either partially collapsed or suffered extensive collateral damage. The sheer magnitude of this disaster caused untold suffering and generated thousands of tons of debris.
I appreciate being invited here today to give you an update on FEMA's continuing activities and the types of assistance we are providing, along with our partners, to help alleviate the suffering of the residents of New York City, to deal with the clean up, and to monitor the potential health effects on the emergency responders. As you know, until you have seen the devastation in person, you can't even begin to appreciate the enormity of this disaster and the recovery that is involved. But I can assure you that tremendous work has already been accomplished.
The level of cooperation and professionalism exhibited by all of the Federal, State and local personnel and emergency responders has been outstanding. I am especially moved and deeply humbled by the heroic and unselfish efforts of the many emergency responders from right here in New York City and of those who came in from around the Nation to assist in the response and recovery. These people placed themselves in harm's way to help others in their time of need and I am forever grateful to them for their ultimate sacrifice and bravery. Many of these policemen, firemen, and emergency medical technicians tragically lost their own lives while doing what they do best, putting everything aside to rush to the scene to save lives, rescue the trapped and injured, and be the first responders. We will never forget what they did and are committed to doing everything we possibly can to ensure that any potential health effects they may encounter are monitored and followed up. Just as they gave for us, we must in turn reach out and do whatever we can to help them.
Some 3,500 Federal workers were deployed to New York to support the disaster response, about 1,300 from FEMA, and almost 2,000 from other Federal departments and agencies. All of these responders are caring people working together toward a simple goal to help the victims recover from this terrible national tragedy. There are still 491 people working on the recovery in New York at the Disaster Field Office.
As background, I want to describe how FEMA works with other agencies in responding to disasters. As you know, our mission is to reduce the loss of life and property and protect our Nation's critical infrastructure from all types of hazards. Our success depends on our ability to organize and lead a community of local, State, and Federal agencies and volunteer organizations. Our experiences in responding to natural disasters have taught us who to bring to the table and what questions to ask so that we may facilitate managing a wide range of emergencies. We provide the management framework and the financial resources to help State and local governments meet the needs, of their communities.
The Federal Response Plan (FRP) forms the heart of that framework.. The FRP lays out the process by which interagency groups work together in Washington, D.C., and in all ten FEMA Regions, to enable the Federal government to respond as a cohesive team to a wide range of natural and manmade disasters and catastrophes. This team is made up of 26 Federal departments and agencies, as well as the American Red Cross, and is organized into interagency functions based on the authorities and expertise of the members and the needs of our counterparts at the State and local level.
Since 1992, and again in response to the tragic events on September 11, 2001, the Federal Response Plan has proven to be a solid framework time and time again for managing major disasters and emergencies regardless of cause. It works during all phases of disasters, including readiness, response, recovery and mitigation. The framework is successful because it builds upon the existing professional disciplines and relationships among the participating agencies. Among Federal agencies, FEMA has the strongest ties to the emergency management and fire service communities. We plan, train, exercise, and operate together to prepare for and respond to all types of hazards all of the time. That puts us in a position to manage and coordinate programs that address their needs. Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services has the strongest ties to the public health and medical communities, and the Department of Justice has the strongest ties to the legal, law enforcement, and victims' assistance communities. The Federal Response Plan respects these relationships and areas of expertise and relies upon them to define the decision-making processes and delivery systems so that we maximize the use of all available resources.
We received tremendous support from some our partners: transportation of assets and movement support provided by the Department of Transportation; telecommunications assistance from the National Communications System; logistical and managerial support provided by incident management teams from the U.S. Firefighting Service; mass care, feeding, and mental health support from the American Red Cross and other volunteer organizations; resource support from the General Services Administration; food stamp program support from the Department of Agriculture; assistance in resolving power restoration problems from the Department of Energy, a medical screening tool to assist in evaluating any potential medical outcome related to worksite exposure has been developed U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; invaluable support from the various branches of the Department of Defense; and extensive environmental monitoring and sampling support from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Immediately following the attacks on September 11, the importance of air quality, emergency responder health, environmental degradation, and related issues emerged as critically important, in addition to responding to the immediate needs of the victims of the attacks. Right away we began working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EP A), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor and address air quality concerns. Under the FRP we mission assigned and provided funding to EP A to conduct air sampling throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Air quality monitoring continues today with numerous monitoring sites providing data that can be used to evaluate health and safety standards. Our funding will permit this monitoring to continue through September 30, 2002. .
The health and safety of emergency responders is always a paramount concern of ours. Right after the attacks numerous government. agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), EP A, and State and City agencies dispatched representatives to the site to provide advice on health issues and establish appropriate safety measures and protocols. In fact, a comprehensive Health and Safety Plan was developed with input from numerous Federal, State, and New York City agencies. FEMA is a strong supporter of site safety. Our experience in disaster responses has taught us the importance of ensuring the safety of the emergency responders so that they do not themselves become disaster victims.
Federal personnel and teams deployed into the disaster area, such as the Urban Search and Rescue Teams, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel, and medical personnel from the Department of Health and Human Services, arrived with the necessary protective gear and as a result of health and safety advisories that were issued were able to adopt the required safety protocols. In the first weeks, FEMA's Safety Officer closely coordinated with and participated daily in the New York City Interagency Health and Safety Meeting and, as a result, was able to pass on advisories and provide training from the meetings.
We took measures to address immediate health concerns involving emergency responders through our coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services and its Public Health Service. Five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams, four Disaster Mortuary Teams, one Veterinary Medical Assistance Team, and one Mental Health Assistance Team, were dispatched to New York City to provide health care and related assistance. The Naval Hospital Ship USNS Comfort and burn nurses were also deployed to support the response.
Long term health monitoring was funded by FEMA for medical surveillance of 11,000 firefighters and 4,000 State emergency responders working at Ground Zero. As of December 31, 2001, blood samples had been drawn by local clinics coordinated by the FDNY Medical Office. These samples are being used to help establish a health baseline. Follow-up and additional testing is to be completed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) over the next 12 months. We provided $9 million for immediate testing, analysis and program management with CDC as the lead agency.
In an effort to be cautious, we have asked the Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Task Forces that deployed to the World Trade Center to notify us of any medical problems/illnesses resulting from or related to their deployment. We have encouraged them to use the Workman's Compensation Program as applicable and complete and provide us with copies of the Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claims for Continuation of Pay/Compensation Form (Form CA-l).
A Centers for Disease Control doctor took voluntary blood samples from members of the California-8 and Florida-l US&R Task Forces to study long-term effects and will provide FEMA the results of that study. In addition, another doctor who is a member of Indiana Task Force-I, created a database of medical problems he was seeing while in New York at the Jacob Javits Center. Also, the Ohio Task Force developed a survey for their members to capture any illnesses that they may have and provided the survey to the other Task Forces.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements are incident specific and the US&R Task Forces and Incident Support Teams (1ST) are trained on evaluation and detection to determine the level of appropriate gear. PPE requirements for this incident were briefed to the Task Forces and 1ST during deployment. The standard equipment was P-IOO APR's (respirators) and an ample stock was maintained at the Jacob Javits Center for 1ST and Task Force members to use.
FEMA will continue to encourage the 28 US&R Task Forces to monitor their World Trade Center deployed personnel for any medical issues and to use the Workman's Compensation Program.
In another critical health area, we provided support to address the long-term mental health of responders and others who may have been affected by this tragedy. We coordinated and facilitated the actions necessary for the National Association of Fallen Firefighters to work directly with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) in providing immediate and long-term crisis and grief counseling to fire fighters and their families. We also funded Project Liberty, a long-term mental health disaster recovery program administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health. To date almost $23 million has been approved for this program.
As you know, because of the amount of dust and debris that resulted from the building collapses, clean up of residences and the surrounding area has been a major priority. We provided housing assistance grants to be used for clean up of residences. In addition, the New York State-administered Individual and Family Grant program provided grants for items such as High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuum cleaners, air filters, and other eligible items to help residents with reentry into their homes. In many cases landlords and/or insurance companies funded clean up. I should also mention that voluntary agencies were very active and helped with clean up for Special Needs residents.
We also supported the New York City Department of Health through their Community Teams and our own Outreach Teams in distributing to residents flyers containing recommendations on actions needed in order to be able to re-occupy buildings and homes. This flyer addressed clean up and safety and health concerns and was developed to facilitate individuals moving back into their homes.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) was on site September 1.2 and opened their first office to serve the public on September 14. Through SBA, low interest loans are available to homeowners, businesses, renters and non-profit organizations to repair or replace damaged property. Additionally for businesses Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) were available to pay necessary obligations until business operations returned to normal. SBA assistance for physical loss has provided home loans for 306 individuals totaling nearly $4.7 million and 428 business loans totaling over $26 million.
Eligible government clean-up costs and monitoring activities are being funded 100% through FEMA's Public Assistance program. For example, the New York City Board of Education's clean up of schools near Ground Zero is an eligible expense as is the clean up of city vehicles such as fire trucks and police cars.
We learn from every disaster experience and incorporate these lessons learned wherever possible into our planning and processes to improve the next disaster response. The World Trade Center and Pentagon disaster responses are no different. We have learned from both. We recognize the need to have alternate operating facilities and flexible response and operations plans that provide for actions such as establishing a Fire Support Branch, an External Logistics Team and robust and redundant communications networks. I should add, however, that the Federal response to the World Trade Center attack clearly reinforced the soundness of the Stafford Act and once again validated the effectiveness of the Federal Response Plan and current FEMA policies and procedures for responding to a disaster event.
All of FEMA's work, the response and rescue efforts, the recovery programs, and plans to prevent future events, have been created out of the authority the Environment and Public Works Committee has provided through the Stafford Act. This legislation has served us well and has provided the necessary authority and flexibility to empower us to do our best. You can be proud of your work and its results. All of us at FEMA thank you for your leadership. We believe current enabling legislation and resources are sufficient for FEMA to respond appropriately. There is no doubt that the disaster response and recovery in New York City will be a long-term process, but the President has said that we will provide whatever assistance is needed to get the job done. I can assure you that FEMA will be there as long as needed.
Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have