Listen to Craig Fugate’s Message and Read Between the Lines

February 3rd, 2010
011082908  FEMA partners-Emergency Operations

San Antonio, TX, August 29, 2008 -- Gerry Stoler, FEMA Operations liaison, talks to cab drivers who are participating in the evacuation program in Texas. FEMA is working with State, local and other Federal agencies in a joint operation in preparation for Hurricane Gustav's land fall. Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

I just finished watching and listening to Craig Fugate, FEMA’s top administrator, on the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.  You can view it here.  The video clip is about five and half minutes long.  It gets good just before the four minute mark so hang in there.  If you listen closely you will hear that the federal government knows that they can not meet all of the needs of individual citizens immediately following a disaster.  Mr. Fugate gives the example of handing out food and water post disaster.  Governments don’t hand out food and water on a daily basis.  Private industry serves this role by maintaining big and small markets and working with elaborate supply chains.  At a federal level, this administration, according to this video clip, will work to assist private industry in maintaining their supplies and opening their doors following a disaster.  In the past, federal government has nearly competed with private industry and lost.  Mr. Fugate gave an example of government handing out food and water following a disaster in the parking lot of a supermarket that was already open for business because they had gotten a generator.

I listened to the video several times.  I listened with the ears of a FEMA consultant who is always curious about the direction and priorities of FEMA.  But mostly I listened as a person who is passionate about spreading the message that we have to take responsibility for ourselves and our communities.  We need to help people and businesses do what they do best, like supermarkets supplying food instead of government agencies.  And, we need to take it a step further and take responsibility for ourselves.

Who keeps your house stocked with food and water and who makes sure that everyone in your house has the medication they need?  Has this person prepared to keep the house stocked during a blackout or storm.

Is your business ready to withstand the impact of a flood, hurricane or pandemic?  Are your vendor and client files safe?  Are your employees prepared at home so they can return to work?

I could ramble on with pages of thought provoking questions.  But, the answer to them all is we need to be ready today for what may happen tomorrow.  We can’t wait.  Preparedness is absolutely the key.

Understand that you will be impacted by some form of disaster and what you do beforehand is what will determine how you survive that disaster.  Disasters come in all shapes and sizes.  The disaster may be a catastrophic earthquake or it could be a five hour traffic jam.  It doesn’t have to be the “big one” for you, your family and business to suffer catastrophic losses.

What did you do today to protect the people you love?

Cash Donations Are the Best Way to Help HAITI

January 22nd, 2010

FEMA assists USAID with product logistics during Haitian reliefCash allows established organizations to purchase the exact type and quantity of items needed to help those affected by the earthquake without having to pay the high costs associated with transporting physical donations to Haiti. Financial contributions can be transferred quickly and reduce the challenges posed by limited staff, equipment and space. Cash donations support Haiti’s local economy and ensure that culturally and environmentally appropriate assistance is rendered.