Federal Legislation Introduced To Create National Disaster Safety Board
Congress members Garrett Graves (R-LA) and Katie Porter (D-CA), and Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have introduced legislation that would create a National Disaster Safety Board (NDSB).
The NDSB would be modeled after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the bill is designed to protect infrastructure by establishing an independent, non-partisan agency to examine the causes of natural disasters and to help increase preparedness and emergency response.
A NDSB would apply the best principles of the NTSB to natural disasters. The Board would seek to understand underlying causes of disaster fatalities and property damage across the country and make recommendations to all levels of government to inform smarter resilience policies.
Key elements of the Board would include: that it act collaboratively as a team, that it allow affected state and local governments to participate in providing information and reviews; that it require at least two of the Board’s seven members would come from state and local contexts; and provide affected government federal, state, and local departments and agencies the opportunity to comment on reports and recommendations before publication.
Several independent scholars and journalists have called for a similar concept, including in this years’ recommendation for improved learning from past incidents by the National Academies of Science, and support from former FEMA Administrators.