FEMA head outlines what exactly will happen if DHS shuts down
From the New Yorker: Threats to Homeland Security. Best quote I have seen lately:
You can’t spend decades encouraging irrationality and ignorance, then declare a return to sanity when it’s convenient. The price lasts longer than an election cycle.
CBS news had this account today: 5 things that will happen if Congress doesn’t fund Homeland Security
FEMA employees will mostly report for duty: Johnson said in the same CNN interview that “something like 80 percent” of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) “permanent appropriated workers” would stay home. That statement ignores the fact that many of the agency’s workers aren’t funded through the annual appropriations process, according to a Factcheck.org review. The 2013 DHS report found that that 78 percent of FEMA’s 14,729 employees would stay on the job if the agency went unfunded. Plus, more than one-third of FEMA’s disaster workforce comes from reservists, according to a Government Accountability Office report, and they aren’t reliant on annual funding from Congress
Here is the NYTimes’ version of the story: Holding DHS Hostage.
Better Prepared? What Meteorologists Learned from Hurricane Sandy
National Weather Service makes number of changes, but challenges remain in improving forecasts and communication with public
Superstorm Sandy Victims Say FEMA’s Role Is Fatally Conflicted. Some excerpts:
The National Flood Insurance Program has a public element, which helps people get money after a disaster to rebuild their homes. The private part comes when FEMA contracts with regular insurance companies.
This week, FEMA began settlement talks with homeowners devastated by Sandy, and there’s a lot to resolve.
Homeowners say engineers hired by insurance companies falsified damage estimates and that the homeowners aren’t being repaid for the actual damage that Sandy caused. Some are questioning whether FEMA can be a watchdog for both disaster victims and taxpayers who subsidize the federal flood program.
The problem arises when FEMA tries to protect the interests of its policy holders while it also makes sure they don’t get paid too much, says Ben Rajotte, a lawyer for the Disaster Relief Clinic at Touro Law
Personally, I do not know how anyone working at DHS can be cheerful and productive, considering the way Congress is treating the department. The internal problems probably are more manageable than the external ones! Let’s be supportive of FEMA and the other folks doing their best.
DHS tackles endless morale problems with seemingly endless studies
There’s really no excuse for the department expending finite resources on multiple studies, some at the same time, to tell the department pretty much what everyone has concluded: that there are four to five things that need to be done for morale,” said Chris Cummiskey, who left DHS in November after serving as its third-highest-ranking official. “You don’t need $2 million worth of studies to figure that out.”
Cummiskey added that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson“understands this and is focused on delivering meaningful results for DHS employees.”
Announcing a new webinar – “FEMA Promising Practice: Community Maps to Catalyze Partnerships, Planning and Advocacy for Access and Functional Needs.” March 12th, 2015; Webinars begin at ET: 2.30pm, CT: 1.30pm, MT:12.30pm, PT:11.30am, Hawaii: 8.30am.
Registration: Free on-line at http://www.adapresentations.org/registration.php
This state-wide mapping project aimed to bridge a gap in current emergency preparedness and response planning and resources. There is a need to supplement current hazard-and-infrastructure-focused risk assessments with indicators of community access and functional needs, which intersect all hazards and response roles in a community. Following the identification of these indicators, collaborators enhanced the project by building complementary maps to represent community resources found throughout the state that could be engaged to help address the community needs identified. As more of these resource maps are built and engage new partners, this project supports the work of many emergency preparedness and response partners, catalyzing collaborative conversations and projects about planning, partnership and Whole Community preparedness.
1. Frame community vulnerability in resilient and sustainable terms and describe information derived from historical approaches
2. Provide map development and data selection processes as potential model for capturing community needs and resources
3. Relate current and future activities in Colorado supported by mapping resources
Big Oil’s explosive week: Two disasters reveal the dangers of America’s energy boom. The fossil fuel industry continues to prioritize profits over safety — and regulations aren’t keeping up
From a writer in the NYTimes: Boston’s Winter from Hell. Here are two excerpts:
But for those of us living here, it’s not a pretty picture. We are being devastated by a slow-motion natural disaster of historic proportions. The disaster is eerily quiet. There are no floating bodies or vistas of destroyed homes. But there’s no denying that this is a catastrophe.
Where are the federal disaster funds, the presidential visit, Anderson Cooper interviewing victims, volunteers flying in, goods and services donated after hurricanes and tornadoes? The pictures may be pretty. But we need help, now.