1. #1
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    Question Is it a good idea for FEMA to be part of the Department of Homeland Security

    In the news accounts I've read, FEMA is one of the agencies which would be consolidated into Bush's proposed Department of Homeland Security. None of the articles had specifics, but that would seem to bring things like the US Fire Administration and the National Fire Academy in as well. The Coast Guard, which does a lot of rescue and environmental response would also move to this same department.

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it's good that these agencies might be better integrated into planning and responding to terrorists acts. However, I'm very concerned that this could cause a loss of focus on the more "typical" issues that FEMA, etc. deal with. Natural disasters are much more common than terrorists acts, probably have much more economic impact, and are certainly bigger issues for most emergency responders. I'm much more likely to respond to a flood, tornado, or haz mat spill from transportation accident than any kind of terrorist act. This is where I see smaller departments like mine benefitting from the funding and coordination at the federal level.

    What are other folks' thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    Unhappy Well...........

    I don't know. There are pro's and con's to this, just like anything.
    I am glad that the fire service is being included in this at all! There is an unfortunate lean towards putting all the focus on the law enforcement side of things from what they said in the media. Unfortunately they seem to forget that it was a FIRE DEPARTMENT that responded first to the WTC. I would just about bet that there will be no money for any fire dept from the new department of homeland security.

    We (the fire service)had better get organized and do what the law enforcement community has been doing. Lobby lawmakers to provide US with federal money to do our job. We ARE the first line of defense when an incident occurs.
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  3. #3
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    FEMA and the USFA should be separate!!! They are not security forces. They are agencies that react to emergencies whether it be mother nature or man made. They should be stand alone. Just another way for the MUTTS to consolidate and eliminate and leave us out in the cold!!
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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  4. #4
    iceman4442
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    Have to agree with Puffy.

    FEMA is exactly what he said - an agency that responds to and assists other agencies with emergencies. As I understand it, and I may be wrong, the new "Homeland Defense" agency is supposed to be pro-active and focusing on security, neither of which fits FEMA's operation well.

    Wayne also brings up a good point, and that is that the fire service is being included at all. I'm a volunteer in the fire service, and a cop by profession, and law enforcement has a big lead in the "sucking up federal money" contest! Maybe, just maybe, this Homeland defense agency could help even things out, or even better, eliminate or at least cut down the direct competition between fire & L.E. for those federal dollars.

    Guess we'll see.


    Stay safe!

  5. #5
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    Question

    I would have to say that in my humble and unbiased opinion
    I would have to say that I feel if they are part of the new Office for Homeland Security that we as a fire service on the whole benefit. Should have access to more information and potentially more money. There would have to be a division of funds that are allocated to FEMA and USFA in order to keep other agencies in the new Office from getting it...

    But...I still think it may be beneficial
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  6. #6
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    Post USFA/FEMA

    The United States Fire Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Association have compiled a number of publications that have assisted agencies all over the nation. Anything they can do to benefit Homeland Security is in our best interests. They have suggested an SOP for public relations in the handling of arsonists. These guidelines could also be applied to the war on terrorism.

    "Designate one spokesperson for on scene and follow-up coverage of strike force activity. Work with all other agencies adn officials to restrict releases to the media to this single resource. If the incident is a major news item plan on regular, non-sensitive briefings for news media. Give everyone involved good press. Give out no news that compromises on-going investigations. A proactive public relations program can payoff during investigations by bringing in more tips and holding down unauthorized leaks and misinformation. Sound public relations can also maintain support for the continued operation of the strike force. For a good review of principles to follow in dealing with media during a major investigation, the reader is referred to 'Media Relations', chapter 9 of the National Institute of Justice's Multi-Agency Investigative Team Manual (See Appendix A. Resources and References for additional information).

  7. #7
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    department of homeland security is a bad idea all round...premise is good, implementation is horrible...more bueracracy on top of more bueracracy...;

  8. #8
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    I have concerns of FEMA/USFA being under Homeland Security. The proposed funding to be administered by FEMA is to "equip first responders" against terrorist attacks. If FEMA is now subordinate to a "law enforcement" agency, where will the fire service stand when it comes to the distribution of these funds?

    I would expect that Tom Ridge would be the head of this new department, which raises some hope. Not many people know it, but Ridge is very knowledgable about emergency management, in fact, he authored (personally did it from what I hear) the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act, which is the major emergency management law.

    As a "fan" of emergency management, he has a better idea of what is involved in a response, what agencies perform which tasks, etc.

    But what if the FBI or CIA director is appointed to be head? Then will the funding be given a "law enforcement" prejudice?
    The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

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