Senate examines DC-area disaster preparedness

Wednesday - 12/7/2011, 4:44pm EST

Emily Kopp, reporter, Federal News Radio

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By BEN NUCKOLS
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate homeland security subcommittee examined whether the Washington area is prepared for natural or man-made disasters.

Wednesday's hearing was prompted in part by the traffic gridlock that followed a freak snowstorm in January and a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in August. The hearing will also address a new shelter-in-place policy for federal workers that the Office of Personnel Management announced last week.

Subcommittee members are also concerned about coordination between federal and local emergency managers.

Officials from OPM and the Federal Emergency Management Agency testified, along with emergency managers from Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. District officials have acknowledged that they were too slow to alert residents about the earthquake.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)