FEMA Isn’t Ready for Hurricane Season, Are You?

There is a certain amount of comfort that comes with living in the United States that when a natural disaster strikes, FEMA will bail you out. They send support, they send people, they offer loans. But this year, they may not be able to.
 

What exactly is the problem?

 
In 2017, 1 in 12 reserve workers did not respond to their activation request. Some couldn’t go, some didn’t want to go, and others did not feel their skills were being used suitably. One possible reason they aren’t responding? They have no guarantee their job will be waiting for them when they return. Reservists are also allowed to turn down three assignments annually, which means the full pool is never to be relied on. Last year a little over half of the reservists were available, now it’s about 1/3 of them.
 
“Only 13 percent of the workers who direct federal aid to pay for rebuilding costs after a disaster hits are currently available,” says this Yahoo news article.
 
Of course, when the demand for assistance increases, the supply must also increase, but it isn’t that easy. FEMA wants to send people who are trained, even at the most basic level, and who are going to be able to help. The local agencies want to be able to rely on the workers FEMA is sending, but they can’t always do that. In short, it’s a mess.
 

What can you do?

 
Have a comprehensive plan. By now you know that you absolutely must have a plan. It’s not an option. But you need to have a good plan, a comprehensive plan. A plan that works. And then you need to tweak it each year. Look at the new hazards that may affect your area, look at the fact that FEMA can’t respond the way it wants, look at new traffic patterns. Make sure you take the time to think about what could go wrong and make a plan for that too.
Practice your plan. You knew we were going to say this, right? Again, having a plan is not enough. Now that you have one, you need to try it out. This is the only way to know whether it will work. Run through it, make changes, make it better. And do all of this BEFORE the threat of a hurricane or wildland fire comes your way. Do it now.
Know when to activate your plan. When will you evacuate? At what temperature do you stop outside activities? When do you notify all of your residents’ family members that you are moving them? All plans require someone, somewhere saying, “Go!” and if you haven’t yet established that person and the parameters, you’re going to be saying it too often, or not often enough.
 
So if your plan relies on a bailout from FEMA, you need to make some adjustments. We sure hope they’ll be able to respond adequately to every request, but we know that isn’t likely. Do you want some help adjusting your plan? Email us today.
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