Briefly

• Doesn’t FEMA have two fundamentally different (if not outright antithetical) missions: to maintain a constant, static bureaucracy for overseeing resources (on one hand) and generating a rapid-response, adaptive, improvisational team of disaster-relief specialists (on the other)?

• I’m on the road today, leading a Clergy Day in Northern Indiana (on which more later). I miss Day Two of the Faculty Marathon at Seabury, but also miss Pippa today.

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Sort of. A lot of the response resources that FEMA coordinates do not belong to FEMA. There are 15 (I think) Emergency Support Functions in the National Response Plan, and each one has different agencies assigned to it. For instance, the Department of Energy is responsible for the Energy support function.

  2. “FEMA, he said, had no helicopters and only a few communications trucks. The agency typically depends on state resources, a system he said worked well in the other Gulf Coast states and in Florida last year.” NYT

    How well it “worked” is an open question. FEMA itself appears to be desks, phones, and forms.

  3. In an actual response, FEMA is desks, phones and forms. The desks and phones are staffed by people from different agencies who have access to their agencies’ resources. FEMA is also money. FEMA is where the individual assistance and public assistance money comes from. Most of FEMA’s work has historically been about _paying_ for repairs, and the whole reason FEMA was started was to decrease the number of different agencies the states have to deal with in a disaster.

    All agencies that deal with emergencies deal with the four phases – planning/preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.

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