RidgeRidge: DHS did not employ disaster plan in Katrina

Published 5 December 2005

FEMA’s disaster plan was never implemented — but it was untested, so it is not clear it would have made a difference

Former DHS secretary Tom Ridge said that U.S. officials failed to employ a national disaster plan before Hurricane Katrina struck, but even if they had, the plan was so untested that it would not have made a dramatic difference. Ridge said in an interview that more training is needed to unify disaster plans, managers and command systems at all levels of government. “There just didn’t seem to me to be any collaboration up front, any communication,” he said. “You don’t have to be a meteorologist to see a big red ball going to New Orleans to say, ‘Oh, my God, this is going to be big.’ Shouldn’t you be over-prepared, rather than under-prepared?”

-read more in this Washington Post report

MORE: Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco has released a series of documents showing endless friction and contention among federal, state, and local authorities before and during Katrina. Governor’s Web site