FEMA’s Lessons Learned

Another example of an application of Lessons Learned….to the collection of public available reports.

FEMA’s Implementation of the Remedial Action Management Program report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) 19 Jan 2011.
Executive Summary
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Remedial Action Management Program is intended to: (1) identify operational and programmatic issues, lessons learned, and best practices encountered during federal disaster response and recovery operations and exercises; (2) manage the subsequent remediation of issues; and (3) distribute lessons learned and best practices. Our audit objective was to determine to what extent FEMA has implemented the Program to identify and distribute lessons learned and best practices to improve its incident management operations. FEMA needs to improve its implementation of the Remedial Action Management Program to identify lessons learned and best practices. Specifically, FEMA officials should: (1) conduct an after-action review for every disaster to identify lessons learned and best practices; and (2) develop instructions or examples on how to develop clear and concise lesson learned and best practice statements. Program officials distributed lessons learned and best practices to more personnel than what was required by program policy. However, distribution was still limited to the program’s database users, averaging 70 users. Program officials told us that those users served as organizational points of contact and disseminated the information to others. In May 2010, FEMA lost access to program data, including lessons learned and best practices, when the server which housed the program’s database failed. In November 2010, program officials informed us that they were able to recover all of the data; however, the software necessary to read the data has not been restored. Therefore, historical data on lessons learned and best practices that was contained in the program’s database is not available to all FEMA personnel. We are making six recommendations that, when implemented, should improve FEMA’s efforts to identify and distribute lessons learned and best practices.

 


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