I’ll write some more about this soon (yeah, right!). Let me just preface this cut and paste job by saying that I think the Mayor and Governor have a lot to answer for themselves. But Bush’s choice for the head of FEMA is a joke. He didn’t know that there were people in the Convention Center on Thursday. He said that he thought New Orleans would "drain quickly", contrary to, well, anyone who knows anything.
But what I wanted to show was the following press release from 2004. These are the preparations done for Hurricane Frances by FEMA. The questions that need to be asked are: Since it seems that very little of this was done for Katrina, why? Perhaps it has something to do with who the Governor of Florida is? Or maybe it has something to do with the kind of economic class that happen to live in Florida compared to Louisiana and Mississippi? I don’t know, but they sure seemed to really go all out for Frances.
In preparation for Hurricane Frances, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is coordinating a massive response and recovery operation and strengthening the national capability to provide immediate assistance to any community in need after the hurricane makes landfall.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is currently coordinating federal response operations and readiness activities with state and local agencies through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and has pre-positioned emergency management personnel and supplies to ensure a rapid and effective response when Hurricane Frances makes landfall.
The following activities are being conducted to prepare for Hurricane Frances:
*Homeland Security officials are fully coordinating preparations and holding daily video conference calls with our federal partners, governors, and other state and local officials in possible affected states.
*FEMA’s Hurricane Liaison Team is activated at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, to assist with advisories, information coordination and emergency evacuation activities.
*FEMA has deployed an Advanced Emergency Response Team to the Florida and Georgia State Emergency Operation Centers to facilitate state requests for assistance. Rapid Needs Assessment Teams have also been deployed to these states to provide support as necessary.
*FEMA has deployed emergency response teams and pre-staged critical commodities such as ice, water, meals and tarps in various strategic locations for immediate delivery to residents in affected areas.
*The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, at FEMA’s request, is coordinating the staging of 100 truckloads of water and 100 truckloads of ice.
*A first shipment of 30,000 tarps is en route to Atlanta, Georgia to be pre-staged for delivery to areas affected by Hurricane Frances once the storm has cleared.
*Four Urban Search and Rescue Teams have been deployed to Florida and Georgia for immediate deployment if needed and Mobile Emergency Response Service communication units are available to provide telephone, radio and video links in support of response and recovery efforts.
*Five Disaster Medical Assistance Teams (DMAT) and one Veterinary Medical Assistance Team have been activated or deployed to sites in Florida and Georgia to support medical facilities and hospitals that are not fully operational following the storm. An additional seven teams have been placed on alert, assembling teams and loading equipment in case they are needed. The DMATs comprise doctors, nurses and medical technicians trained to handle trauma, pediatrics, surgery and mental health concerns. DMATs also bring truckloads of medical equipment and supplies with them.
*Five pharmaceutical caches containing emergency medical supplies are being pre-positioned in Atlanta, Georgia, and Tampa, Florida.
*Preparations are being made for Disaster Field Offices and Disaster Recovery Centers to be established in the hardest hit areas within 72 hours after a federal declaration. This will allow impacted residents to receive disaster assistance as soon as possible.
*The U.S. Coast Guard has pre-positioned helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft to support response activities. Several cutters and boats have been relocated to safe harbors throughout the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast and inland waterways to await the passing of the storm. The U.S. Coast Guard is also broadcasting hurricane advisories and warnings to mariners along the hurricane’s projected path and coordinating area harbor safety committees to prepare ports and minimize potential damage. Following the storm, the Coast Guard will assist with post-hurricane response and recovery operations to aid navigation assessment and repair, marine pollution response, search and rescue operations, and support to other agencies and humanitarian aid.
*Aircraft from Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement will help transport FEMA officials to and from sites and will fly over the storm’s path following landfall to collect high-resolution images for damage assessment. The remotely sensed data will allow FEMA to better target areas needing immediate disaster damage assessment.
*The Department’s Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection unit is assessing the vulnerabilities and potential impact to critical infrastructure located in the storm’s projected path. Based upon these assessments, Homeland Security will be prepared to work with private sector partners and state and local government officials during the recovery phase.
*Homeland Security is working with the American Red Cross and other volunteer agencies to ensure sheltering and critical needs are met immediately. More than 350 shelter sites have been identified by the American Red Cross for those displaced by Hurricane Frances.
*FEMA is working with the General Services Administration to analyze vacancy rates of various safe housing options (including apartments, homes, RVs, time shares, mobile homes, hotels and motels) as part of a pre-planning temporary housing strategy for those whose homes are severely damaged or destroyed.
*FEMA is working to provide 10 trailers full of generators at the request of Florida that will be used to provide power to critical facilities affected by the hurricane.
FEMA contract inspectors are ready for activation, with surge capability providing for up to 15,000 inspections per day within 14 days of activation.
*All the National Processing Service Centers (NPSCs) are fully staffed and ready to register and process disaster assistance applications immediately. The Internal Revenue Service has provided additional operators to support tele-registration operations.
*Homeland Security is encouraging citizens living in the areas of projected impact to take precautions immediately by reviewing emergency communications plans, stocking water and non-perishable food, storing additional ice in the freezer, and checking batteries in a battery-powered radio so that instructions provided by local emergency management officials may be heard and followed. Most importantly, if ordered to evacuate, residents should do so immediately. Additional information about emergency preparedness can be found at www.ready.gov or www.FEMA.gov.