Did D.C. Snowstorms Merit Disaster Status?


The snowstorms that left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity caught everyone in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia off guard. Now the mayor of Washington D.C. is hearing he should have declared a state of emergency, as did the neighbouring states.

In an article on the Washington Post website, Time Craig quotes Metro's emergency management chief as saying the District's response to recent snowstorms might have run smoother if the storms had been treated as a disaster or major security threat.

The district’s former head of emergency management, Peter LaPorte, said snowstorms were better managed under former Mayor Anthony Williams. Laporte described himself as the former “snow czar” and says government agencies had an easier time of coordinating response efforts back then.

"If I was [asked] how to run that snowstorm, I would have run it out of the emergency management" agency, said LaPorte before the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary. Though he questioned how Mayor Fenty managed the recent storms, LaPorte said D.C.’s emergency management coordinators handled the situation well.

Fenty activated emergency operations center in Southeast and worked with the head of the Department of Transportation and Department of Public Works. But police and paramedic unions have told The Washington Post they thought the administration underestimated how big a threat the snowstorms could have been to public safety.

To read the Washington Post article, please click here:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/18/AR2010021805773.html