November 10, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler today delivered recommendations to create a statewide disaster resilience office to Gov. Jay Inslee, the Legislature and other state leaders, as recommended by the Disaster Resiliency Work Group.
The work group, a coalition of 30 state, local and Tribal governments, private sector and industry associations, was authorized by the state Legislature in 2019. The work group was charged with reviewing and making recommendations on how to best coordinate and improve disaster resilience work in Washington state.
“These recommendations signal the beginning of Washington state’s comprehensive framework for resilience,” said Kreidler. “This work is unprecedented in our state and is a significant step forward. I sincerely thank the members of the work group for their hard work and dedication to protecting and strengthening our state’s preparedness for disasters. I am hopeful the state Legislature will take up this issue during the upcoming 2021 session.”
In addition to creating a standalone statewide disaster resilience office, the recommendations include:
- Housing the resilience office in the governor’s office.
- Structuring the office to be led by an executive director and receive guidance from an advisory board.
- Initially funding the office with at least $650,000 from the state general fund. If the state’s economic situation improves by 2024, increase funding to at least $1.1 million per year starting in fiscal year 2025.
- Authorizing the resilience office to research additional funding through a fee-for-service model and federal grants.
- Creating an account in the state treasury to allow the office to accept donations and funds from private-sector partners and organizations.
- Defining the office’s responsibilities to include organizing and carrying out Washington state’s plan to prepare for and recover from disasters.
The work group met seven times between September 2019 and August 2020, with work assignments issued between meetings.
About 10 other states have a dedicated statewide resilience office.