Disaster Preparedness Manual Available for AG Offices

In January 2012, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office hosted both a National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute (NAGTRI) workshop as well as the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Southern Regional meeting in Tampa. The subject of both was disaster preparedness with the ultimate goal of creating a manual specific to attorneys general offices.

Meeting presenters were Attorneys General Sam Olens (GA), James D. “Buddy” Caldwell (LA), Chris Koster (MO), Roy Cooper (NC), Wayne Stenehjem (ND), Alan Wilson (SC), Robert Cooper, Jr., (TN) and their staff who have confronted disasters in their respective states. They presented conferees with tools and practices that can assist an attorney general’s office in preparing in advance of disaster, keeping the office in operation during a disaster and dealing with the aftermath.

From the meetings’ discussion and work, NAGTRI produced “Preparing for the Unexpected: A Disaster Preparedness Manual and Resource Guide for State Attorneys General.” The manual is unique from others that have been done by other federal state and local entities for several reasons, particularly that it is designed to be specific to the office of attorney general. It is considerably smaller and therefore more practical for implementation and the comprehensive checklist format, if followed, is designed to simplify delegation of duties and accomplish the goal of preparedness.

In addition, the manual contains 10 stories submitted by state attorneys general offices describing crucial aspects of lessons learned from disasters in their states. There is also a section specifically devoted to the legal issues arising in disaster response and recovery that an attorney general and staff need to address. Last, there is a link to forms and documents that will prove helpful.

“While we all hope that a disaster doesn’t occur, it is imperative that we all take the time to be equipped to handle the plethora of issues that arise before, during and after an event, whether it is related to weather, terrorism, public health or otherwise,” said Attorney General Bondi when describing and distributing the new manual to attorneys general at a NAAG Annual Meeting, Nov. 27-29 in Fort Lauderdale.

The manual will be available free online for attorneys general and their staff and additional hard copies to attorneys general offices can be provided. For more information about the manual, contact the editors, Judy McKee, NAGTRI deputy director, jmckee@naag.org or Blair Tinkle, NAAG general counsel and congressional liaison, btinkle@naag.org.

Beginning in 2013, the public will be able to order hard copies for $40 from NAGTRI, http://www.naag.org/publications.php.

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