First Responders and FEMA
On March 1, 2003, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) became part of the newly-created Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in what was the greatest reorganization of the Federal government since the end of World War II. FEMA is responsible for coordinating Federal, state, and local efforts in response to all emergencies, including terrorist events and natural disasters.
On September 11, 2001, after terrorist crashed commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, FEMA, then an independent agency, responded to the disasters, coordinating Federal, state, and local emergency relief efforts. Firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue personnel, and police officers from an astounding number of states and cities bravely traveled to New York and Virginia and worked tirelessly. These efforts saved many lives and made this Congress and this country proud, with many thanks to the men and women at FEMA.
Currently part of DHS Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate, FEMA has responded to disasters and emergencies of all types, including blizzards, tornados, and hurricanes. Congress must remain committed to keeping FEMA well equipped for all kinds of emergencies, terrorist-related and natural.