The first and foremost attribute of a successful emergency management system or function is its focus on the needs of the customer. The most obvious customer of emergency management is the disaster victim. The disaster victim can be an individual, a business, a community or a nation.
Other customers include elected officials, community leaders, volunteer and non-governmental groups and the media. These groups are also considered stakeholders and partners. There are internal customers within every emergency management organization including fellow employees and staff in other offices in the organization.
Understanding the customer’s needs in a time of crisis is critical to developing effective disaster programs and activities. FEMA surveys disaster victims and meets regularly with State and local emergency management officials in order to understand their customer’s needs. This information is used to refine existing programs and develop new programs to meet the expressed needs of the customers. The timing and delivery of financial and technical assistance is driven by the customer’s needs and schedule. Work functions are designed with the customer’s needs in mind.