Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 1, 2009

Fargo resisted FEMA recommendation to evacuate

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on April 1, 2009

Dave Kolpack and Frederic J. Frommer with the Associated Press have written an important story on intergovernmental relations in consequence management.  Especially given the happy ending to this story, it is worth a full case-study with lessons learned.  See the whole story from the Associated Press.

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1 Comment »

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 2, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

There is a theory articulated sketchily by EM/HS practioners that “evac orders” stem from police power authority vested exclusively in local government. This is NOT my opinion and misreads the debates and adoption of the Constitution by the founders. Butextensive efforts to document STATE and LOCAL government liability in a variety of circumstances has NEVER revealed a case involving liability of STATE or LOCAL officials on an evac order or even recommendation. Remember that the tort regime in the US is premised on STATE law, wherein there must be first a duty owed; second, a breach of that duty; third, the breach caused the damage or loss; and finally the measure of the damage or loss. Only if a state has enacted strict liabilty regimes that cover flood stage and its fighting as an ultra-hazardous activity, which it is, do I see there likely to be legal developments in this arena. Otherwise the courts will just defer to those who reasonably exercise their discretion. I would argue in this instance given the risk (threat) the evac order was too late and uncoordinated and basically the citizens of the impacted area lucked out. Never rule out lady luck except that it does not seem to fit the principles of risk management.

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