2018 National Preparedness Report

From the Homeland Security Digital Library: FEMA National Preparedness Report 2018. The report is 62 pages.

 The National Preparedness Report is a requirement of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act and a key element of the National Preparedness System. This annual report evaluates progress and challenges that individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government have faced in preparedness. The report offers all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public practical insights into preparedness to support decisions about program priorities, resource allocation, and community actions.

Reality and Rhetoric Re CA Fires Don’t Match – fortunately!

Trump’s California rants belie feds’ quick disaster response. California officials say federal agencies have approved all funding requests to help fight the state’s deadly fires.

In general, former FEMA administrators appointed by presidents of both parties said Trump’s personal responses to disasters appeared to have no bearing on the government’s on-the-ground response to them.

“You’ve got the rhetoric and what really happens,” said Craig Fugate, who led FEMA under President Barack Obama. “None of this on the surface to me seems like the rhetoric is interfering with the process.”

R. David Paulison, the FEMA administrator under President George W. Bush, said, “I’ve watched the responses as best as I can from afar and I have not seen anything to indicate the response has been partisan one way or another.”

Trump Politicizes Disasters

From the WashPost:President Trump again blames California for a natural disaster, adding to his public denunciations of the strongly Democratic state. An excerpt:

The threat to cut off federal funding while the fires are very much burning is unconscionable for the president of the United States to say,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.). “It’s adversarial at the very worst time. Every state in the nation and every territory of the United States should be able to count on a sympathetic president who is trying to do everything he or she can in times of natural disaster, and it should be true whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat, or the state is red or blue.”

CA Wildfires Set New Record

The Camp Fire is now the most destructive blaze in California history
Deadly fires have burned almost 140,000 acres across the state

Sadly the President issued a tweet showing total lack of knowledge about wildfires and no sympathy for victims.

Update: I am not alone in noting the inappropriate tweet. See: President Trump’s tweet on California wildfires angers firefighters, celebrities.

“Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography,”

I say Bravo and Thanks to the many first responders and all others involved in dealing with these fires. Hopefully we will get some public leaders with an appreciate for science and climate matters in the near future.



Book Review: Secrets of the Insurance Game

Review of Secrets of the Insurance Game; What You Need to Know About Property Damage Claims, by Sean M. Scott. Available from the Red Guide To Recovery website:

Reviewer: Heather Korth, Architect & Cofounder of Our Front Porch

Having witnessed the limitations of insurance policies firsthand with clients, this book definitely peaked my interest. My organization, Our Front Porch, works with families displaced from home fires and I have seen their insurance policies span the spectrum in terms of coverage, limitations, and customer service.

The first chapter includes survey data that presents a grim story: most people are underinsured, short changed by their adjuster, and/or experience significant delays in their rebuilding process. Coupled with my own data that 50% of my clients are underinsured, it’s no surprise that dealing with insurance is indeed a game.

Mr. Scott describes the insurance claim process in detail, identifying each place where adjusters have an opportunity to underpay a claim, leaving people far from being made whole again. The book is very thorough, but having knowledge in construction contracts and estimating projects will prove beneficial to the reader. However, Mr. Scott includes several real-life examples that help to explain the concepts and where to look for red flags to anyone who finds themselves in this scenario. In addition, there is more than enough justification as to why someone would want to educate themselves or hire a public adjuster to represent them through this process.

Most of the book is geared towards homeowners, but renters can benefit as well, especially from the chapter on Personal Property. I have had several clients, renters displaced from home fires, who have had to endure yet another level of loss when repair contractors stole their personal property. Mr. Scott’s vast experience and honest advice will benefit not only those who have experienced a disaster, but help all of us be better prepared and informed.

I highly recommend this book as a resource to anyone going through the insurance claim process and encourage everyone to read it as part of their preparedness effort.