GSA opens emergency response office

Emergency workers who need General Services Administration services in fast-moving disasters have a new resource. GSA announced today that it has consolidated its emergency procurement services into a new Office of Emergency Response and Recovery (OERR).

The office puts all of GSA's emergency resources into one central office for first responders, emergency workers and recovery teams.

“I am from New Orleans and grew up in the Ninth Ward,” GSA Administrator Lurita Doan said in a written statement. “My house, along with all of my neighbors’, was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I have made it a high priority to retool and substantially improve GSA’s ability to react during periods of national emergency.”

Doan signed the order creating the office Nov. 1. The order also abolished the agency's Office of Emergency Management and transferred its functions to OERR. OERR is divided into divisions of Policy and Plans; Training and Exercise; Disaster Support; and Communications and Security; and the Historic Preservation Team.

GSA Chief of Staff John Phelps will be acting chief emergency response and recovery officer until GSA finds a permanent head for OERR. Phelps has disaster response experience, having served as chief operating officer for the Arizona Red Cross and deputy director of the Arizona Office of Homeland Security.

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