Most everyone has heard about FEMA, but do you know what they actually do? Let me explain it here.

President Jimmy Carter created FEMA back in 1979. At that time they had two tasks. One was that of civil defense and the other was emergency management. Congress defined what they could and could not do.

In 1988 The Stafford Act drew up how the employees of FEMA would respond to disasters. In the wake of 9/11 President George W. Bush placed FEMA and twenty-one other agencies under the Department of Homeland Security. Over time, there have been numerous additions via legislation to what FEMA does and does not partake in.

From the website I offer the following regarding the mission of FEMA.

Once a governor declares a disaster FEMA gets to work. Sometimes declarations come prior to the disaster and other times post the disaster. Weather is an imperfect science and as such we do not always know a disaster is coming beforehand. Disasters are typically floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, landslides, pandemics, and/or earthquakes.

Pre-declaration FEMA begins staging personnel and key resources near the disaster area(s) so they are ready when the disaster passes. Post-disaster they work with the various community leaders to assess what critical resources are required to stabilize the community impacted by these disasters. They rely on the expertise of private sector personnel, non-profits, local governments, tribal nations, faith-based organizations, and more to piece together a plan to satisfy their mission.

While no organization bats 1,000 FEMA tries to better their last best each time they are required to respond to a disaster. That means improving their efficiency in delivering goods and services to those impacted by these disasters because that is precisely when the quality of services matters most. How do they do this?

FEMA regularly conducts a strategic plan to determine how they did responding to a given disaster with regard to their internal and external operational environment. They also look for any gaps in resources or services and any key issues that may make them less effective in fulfilling their mission and try to create effective measures to recoup those failures the next time they respond.

FEMA’s strategic plan designates three tasks and outlines how FEMA can be better positioned for the communities they serve. This means asking what programs and processes will be leveraged, and how best to support their workforce prior to any disaster.

FEMA is a people-centric organization meaning that they primarily organize around those entities they work most closely with and the people who require their services before, during, and after any given disaster.

The first step in responding effectively to any given disaster is to be ready. No two disasters are the same. Therefore, FEMA personnel must specifically tailor their solutions to meet each communities’ specific needs.

The second is to make available the programs and services that effectively support the community and those vary somewhat according to the disaster. However, there are always underserved communities that will face more inequity than others.

FEMA personnel must effectively collaborate with the various stakeholders such that they leverage their knowledge and skills to create better community outcomes and lessen the inequities already apparent in society. This cannot be conducted via a one-size-fits-all approach. FEMA employees need to be cognizant of the varying needs of the people and communities they serve.

FEMA tries to hire a diverse workforce to help smooth this disaster recovery process within the communities they provide goods and services to pre, during, and post-disaster. FEMA employees reflect the differing ethnicities, races, ages, cultures, and religious beliefs of the world we live in so that they can be more effective in meeting and exceeding the needs of those communities they are tasked with rebuilding.

FEMA tries to approach all who are impacted by any given disaster by treating them equally. This means removing any barriers to access and assisting them with the necessary paperwork that can further expedite this disaster relief process. To do this adequately the personnel at FEMA must have an intimate understanding of where any inequities or disparities exist to improve outcomes for them such that relief efforts benefit the community as a whole. This means they must bolster the flagging infrastructure and dwindling resources that can compound the impact of the disaster in order to build increased community resilience.

To learn more about FEMA please visit the website below.





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