Everyone is in favor of "good government" (at a reasonable cost). But a clear, complete, and universally accepted definition of what constitutes good government is almost impossible to find. The same holds true of "resilience" - which all responders, emergency managers, political leaders, and everyday citizens approve of - and are even willing to pay for. Here is a "robust" analysis of the problem.
One of the nation's highest priorities in emergency preparedness has been, and will continue to be, the creation of vastly improved communications capabilities. Considerable progress has been made to date. But much more is needed, probably accompanied by additional funding at all levels of government: federal, state, and local.
A senior HHS executive, and world-class authority on medical-surge programs and requirements, discusses both the National Health Security Strategy the Whole Community FEMA approach - introduced earlier this year in that agency's 2011-14 Strategic Plan - mandated to maintain "truly integrated and scalable public health...in an environment of increasingly constrained fiscal resources." This is required reading for all grant applicants!
The guiding principle in emergency preparedness is virtually identical to one of the Golden Rules of good health: Prevention is much better, and almost always lower in cost, than recovery and rehabilitation. Which is why intelligent "grantsmanship" not only focuses first on the reduction of risks and vulnerabilities but also remembers that, somewhat like fingerprints, each grant program possesses "its own unique requirements and standards."
A distinguished national officer of the International Association of Emergency Managers provides a short but concise list of helpful recommendations that grant-seekers at all levels of government, and in the private sector, might be well advised to follow in preparing, reviewing, submitting, and following up on their own grant applications.
The current debate over the national debt is a stern reminder that, even in politics and economics, what goes up will almost always also come down. The same is true for the funding provided for DHS/HHS preparedness grants - which are now starting to decline in both size and number, and likely to continue on that path for several more years.
Before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, federal funding for preparedness grants was much lower than it should have been. Then it was increased exponentially. The nation is now better prepared than ever before to deal with mass-casualty incidents - and there are huge fiscal problems ahead. So major cutbacks in grant programs seem not just probable but inevitable.
There are many paths a community can take in search of a preparedness grant, but only one way to ensure that the search will be successful: Follow the Rules! This means advance planning, consulting, paying meticulous attention to all of the rules and regulations involved, and making sensible decisions every step of the way. The last requirement is the most important. Also the most difficult.
Every writer, amateur or professional, wants to be pleased with his or her own "copy." Every successful writer, though, knows it is much more important to please the readers. And/or the reviewers. And/or the political officials who make the final go/no-go budget decisions.
Contrary to what some citizens believe, federal preparedness grants are not "free money." Applying for such grants takes months of advance planning, hard work and close cooperation between and among numerous agencies, and a meticulous attention to detail at all times. Here is a helpful road map that may not guarantee success but will make it much more likely.