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  1. #21
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    If you don't like the guidelines for the response that is requested, don't apply. Personally, I like the $$$ that FEMA is paying for the 30-day deployment and am considering applying. You get to go help out your fellow Americans after the Worst Natural Disaster in American History and they give you money too. After the fiasco with hundreds of VFD's sending people to NYC on 9-11 undispatched, do you think FEMA or DHS is going to just say "ok, have firetruck will travel!"?

    FEMA and the Government isn't totally to blame here. These people had a week to leave the cities.
    Proud Right-Wing Extremist since 1992

    "Extreme Liberalism is a Mental Disorder"- Michael Savage


  2. #22
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    It's interesting.. they are already preparing to hand-out flyers and other information. If they are not careful, they will not need to hand out many of those flyers at all because the people would not have been rescued in time because they (FEMA) was preoccupied with hiring non-operational staff instead of focusing at the overwhelming need to have additional OPERATIONAL staff dispatched to assist with Rescue/Recovery efforts. Seems they are putting the cart before the horse.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

  3. #23
    FossilMedic
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    Default Background to the FEMA request

    This is an email sent by Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue Chief Michael Neuhard:

    From: Neuhard, Mike
    Sent: Fri 9/2/2005 9:29 AM
    To: FIRE
    Cc: Griffin, Anthony H.; Stalzer, Rob
    Subject:

    You may have heard about the FEMA's soliciting firefighters to work as Disaster Employees (1,000 teams of 2 firefighters). These people will not be performing firefighter duties. They will become temporary FEMA Community Relations personnel, doing a job FEMA does in every disaster.

    Historically, FEMA hires Community Relations disaster employees at every disaster. This time, due to the constraints of doing background investigations, FEMA made the decision to hire firefighters that already have gone through a criminal background investigation. As mentioned, the firefighters would be hired as federal employees and deployed to assist with the FEMA recovery efforts.

    While the request is honorable, we need to be mindful of the Department's current resource and personnel commitments in support of the USAR deployment and the distinct possibility that may be asked to support additional Countywide relief efforts.

    In addition, we are seeking and receiving addition details concerning how the personnel would be deployed, how they would be supported in the field, and how they would be compensated. We also, have safety, health, supervision, and support concerns.

    For this reason the Department cannot at this time support FEMA request for firefighters to work as Disaster Relief Employees.

    In the weeks ahead, if FEMA's needs firefighters to act as relief workers and the extent of the Department's and County's relief efforts are known, we may reconsider this request.

    Your patience and consideration of this information is appreciated.

    Chief Neuhard
    ______________________________ __________

    Fairfax and Miami-Dade are the original international search-and-rescue teams who work as State Department (Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance) contract employees when on international missions and FEMA contractors on domestic missions. There are about a dozen Fairfax and Miami-Dade folks who are contract employees on every single USAR activation.

    They have the most experience in dealing with federally-directed disaster response. Some of the original task force members have retired from the fire department and continue to serve as full-time federal employees or contractors.

    Like everyone else, they are ready to help when requested. If you listened to the "old school" USAR guys who were in Florida last year, the reorganization of FEMA placed a couple of layers of bureucracy between the USAR teams and the feds. Many of the federal employees overseeing disaster response are not very experienced in emergency operations - a Miami-Dade sector chief described the difficulty in sending the 12 hour situation reports (expected as an email or fax) when he was three hours from the nearest source of any type of phone service.

    This note from Local 2068's bulletin board provides a perspective:

    I do not post to this very often but here is my .02 worth. We sent "only" a 34 person team because that is what FEMA told us to do, it had nothing to do with what we as a dept. were capable of. Chief Neuhard did the right thing when FEMA asked a couple of days later what/if any could all of the teams add to the already in place responses, he stated whatever you need. Which translates into rostering up a complete type I deployment in addition to the already in place type III. This is unprecedented in USAR, no other team, to my knowledge, has the resources to field this large of a deployment......kudos to the Chief.

    I too would like for all of us still here to be afforded the opportunity to help out, how about the union stepping up and quickly organizing a fund raiser of sorts......or better yet Mr. Lewis, how about all the money we collect this weekend going down to the gulf coast, in turn we will raise more money than ever for MDA later in the fall...? I am sure there are enough of us that we could beat the streets for a week for MDA if you sent everything you make this weekend down south......just a thought.....


    EJ 14-C

    ____________

    Mike
    always proud of my sisters and brothers who serve in the "Republic of Fairfax"
    (and, despite EJ's assertion, very mindful of the USAR teams in Los Angeles, FDNY, Phoenix, Miami-Dade and others that have the same resources and desire to help.)

    Michael J. Ward
    Assistant Professor
    EMS Management
    Instructor - EHS 173 Special Operations
    The George Washington University
    mikeward@gwu.edu
    Last edited by MikeWard; 09-04-2005 at 11:12 AM.

  4. #24
    LasVegasFTO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    I agree with most of you (fustrated from the lack there of and urge to assist). Seems like FEMA is in the clean-up stage and we're not even at first base yet.

    From an emergency services worker, this is absolutely embarrasing. There doesn't seem to be any organization from either the local, state or federal level. Heck, I doesn't even appear that IMS has been implimented (so much for all that TRAINING they have been shoving down our throats). It's hard to tell who's in charge (if anyone is).

    When this first started, FEMA sent a request "no freelancing". Understandable, there has to be a controlled effort to handle this, but it seems FEMA is lost or has no clue. The request for 1000, 2-member teams to go as advisors (hand out forms and explain to people how to apply for aid), is bass-ackwards. First, why do you need firefighters to hand out forms?? Secretaries could do that. Second, we (fire/police/ems) have not yet removed people/victims from harms way, that should be a PRIORITY before shoving forms down their throat.

    WE NEED TO BRING "CALM TO CHAOS" before anything else happens.

    I am more than willing to help our brothers (not hand out forms). If requested, I would leave immediately to go relieve our brothers so that they can "catch their breath". How many of them have seen home or even know if their families are o.k. since Katrina hit???

  5. #25
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    is the deployment for 30 or 120 days?

  6. #26
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    Does anybody know if the USERRA law applies to these volunteer FEMA teams? I know DMAT is covered by it.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  7. #27
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    Originally posted by CTJAKE

    Just think. They had a week to prepare for this. They new the storm was heading in that direction and that it was packing potentially devestating winds with the potential of severe damage. Imagine what it would be like if they had no warning? What if this was a terrorist attack instead? This is the reaction with a weeks warning???? I understand about not self dispatching, However, this is not working. God help us if we are ever attacked again--on a large scale.
    All due respect, they had alot longer than a week to think about this. They have had YEARS!! They knew this was a matter of when, not if. All the talking heads in authority are now pointing the finger at everyone else, but there will be plenty of blame to go around.

  8. #28
    LasVegasFTO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default

    Yeah, no kidding. They actually had a mock drill last year in New Orleans, and guess what the senario was ??? The reactions (from govt) we are seeing are typical of todays society.....sit back, point fingers and hope someone else will fix it. Someone said that FEMA, DHS, OES, USFA, etc. are in need of re-vamping. I agree. What needs to happen is the IAFC, IAFF, etc. needs to crack down on govt and fix this problem.

    Everybody is worried about terrorism but yet we can't handle stuff like this. Here's what I say.............Cleaning up the neighborhood starts in you own back yard !! GIT 'ER DONE !!!

    Another thing IAFC and IAFF needs to reinforce is that we (first responders) are the FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE against all !!! Here we have resources that are overwhelmed while in Detroit they are laying-off firefighters.

    The bottom line.......We need to get back to the basics and take care of what comes first...........us, the USA !!!

  9. #29
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    Default What is FEMA waitning for??

    The US military does not leave its dead behind. Why are we leaving US citizens to rot in the streets of American cities? Don't self deploy? FEMA hasn't even fully activated its USAR assets. What is FEMA waiting for?? Get all FEMA assets that you have deployed. Help is needed NOW!

  10. #30
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    Default TYPE 3 vs. TYPE 1 Task Forces sent

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeWard
    This is an email sent by Fairfax County (VA) Fire and Rescue Chief Michael Neuhard:

    From: Neuhard, Mike
    Sent: Fri 9/2/2005 9:29 AM
    To: FIRE
    Cc: Griffin, Anthony H.; Stalzer, Rob
    Subject:

    You may have heard about the FEMA's soliciting firefighters to work as Disaster Employees (1,000 teams of 2 firefighters). These people will not be performing firefighter duties. They will become temporary FEMA Community Relations personnel, doing a job FEMA does in every disaster.

    Historically, FEMA hires Community Relations disaster employees at every disaster. This time, due to the constraints of doing background investigations, FEMA made the decision to hire firefighters that already have gone through a criminal background investigation. As mentioned, the firefighters would be hired as federal employees and deployed to assist with the FEMA recovery efforts.

    While the request is honorable, we need to be mindful of the Department's current resource and personnel commitments in support of the USAR deployment and the distinct possibility that may be asked to support additional Countywide relief efforts.

    In addition, we are seeking and receiving addition details concerning how the personnel would be deployed, how they would be supported in the field, and how they would be compensated. We also, have safety, health, supervision, and support concerns.

    For this reason the Department cannot at this time support FEMA request for firefighters to work as Disaster Relief Employees.

    In the weeks ahead, if FEMA's needs firefighters to act as relief workers and the extent of the Department's and County's relief efforts are known, we may reconsider this request.

    Your patience and consideration of this information is appreciated.

    Chief Neuhard
    ______________________________ __________

    Fairfax and Miami-Dade are the original international search-and-rescue teams who work as State Department (Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance) contract employees when on international missions and FEMA contractors on domestic missions. There are about a dozen Fairfax and Miami-Dade folks who are contract employees on every single USAR activation.

    They have the most experience in dealing with federally-directed disaster response. Some of the original task force members have retired from the fire department and continue to serve as full-time federal employees or contractors.

    Like everyone else, they are ready to help when requested. If you listened to the "old school" USAR guys who were in Florida last year, the reorganization of FEMA placed a couple of layers of bureucracy between the USAR teams and the feds. Many of the federal employees overseeing disaster response are not very experienced in emergency operations - a Miami-Dade sector chief described the difficulty in sending the 12 hour situation reports (expected as an email or fax) when he was three hours from the nearest source of any type of phone service.

    This note from Local 2068's bulletin board provides a perspective:

    I do not post to this very often but here is my .02 worth. We sent "only" a 34 person team because that is what FEMA told us to do, it had nothing to do with what we as a dept. were capable of. Chief Neuhard did the right thing when FEMA asked a couple of days later what/if any could all of the teams add to the already in place responses, he stated whatever you need. Which translates into rostering up a complete type I deployment in addition to the already in place type III. This is unprecedented in USAR, no other team, to my knowledge, has the resources to field this large of a deployment......kudos to the Chief.

    I too would like for all of us still here to be afforded the opportunity to help out, how about the union stepping up and quickly organizing a fund raiser of sorts......or better yet Mr. Lewis, how about all the money we collect this weekend going down to the gulf coast, in turn we will raise more money than ever for MDA later in the fall...? I am sure there are enough of us that we could beat the streets for a week for MDA if you sent everything you make this weekend down south......just a thought.....


    EJ 14-C

    ____________

    Mike
    always proud of my sisters and brothers who serve in the "Republic of Fairfax"
    (and, despite CJ's assertion, very mindful of the USAR teams in Los Angeles, FDNY, Phoenix, Miami-Dade and others that have the same resources and desire to help.)

    Michael J. Ward
    Assistant Professor
    EMS Management
    Instructor - EHS 173 Special Operations
    The George Washington University
    mikeward@gwu.edu

    The Mass. TF also sent down only a TYPE 3 Team, as requested by FEMA. We still have enough folks at home, all stacked and packed, ready to go, and we have the numbers to field not only another TYPE 3 ( 30 members), or even a TYPE 1 FUll Task Force compliment of 80 members, as do several other of the 28 Teams in the system. I am completely perplexed as to why we were asked to send scaled-down Hurricane-model Task Forces to the Biggest and most devastating Natural Disaster in Modern History in this Country. If they didn't see the need immediately, they surely must've recognized the dire need a few days after the hit. And, if they don't want us USAR guys and gals down there, fine, at least send some good old fashioned Firefighters with Fire Trucks. Firefighters can and will, do absolutely anything, when called upon, and they ALWAYS get the job done, no matter what you give them to work with. That's because of their God-Given gifts of desire, courage, and fortitude to help others in need.It looks as if there's plenty of work for everybody. I don't care which of my many "hats" I have to wear, or what "costume" I need to get an invitation to this event, but I am absolutely disgusted with the images on CNN. Something broke down somewhere in this Operation, and I, like so many other Brothers and sisters in the Fire Service, Law Enforcement, EMS, military, etc. am very angry and frustrated to see this needless suffering while so many of us are being forced to sit here and watch, and vent, when we could be doing something vital. LIKE SAVING LIVES. THAT"S WHAT WE DO DAMMIT !!!!!

  11. #31
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    Default People are suffering while resources go unused

    I just had dinner at station. One of the guys had been part of a 10 person crew that responded to the WTC after 9/11, another had spent a month work in a medical center doing tsunami relief. Their stories and perspectives reinforced the theme here: resources are available, but they're not be utilized - largely because of federal beaurocracy. The news makes it clear what the cost of that is in human suffering and death.

    Here are some contrasts: At the personal request of someone within FDNY, a small village department in southwest Ohio sent 5 fire and 5 EMS people to NYC. They arrived late on day 2, with 3 vehicles, food, water, etc to be self-supporting. They became "grunts" working at Ground Zero, and also helped out with some FDNY companies. All said FDNY personnel were great to work with and were very grateful for the help. They worked for a week, doing whatever was needed - as directed by FDNY's command structure.

    The second person who did tsunami relief painted a similar picture - the officials "in charge" had no clue, so the direct work of the non-governmental agencies is what did the most good.

    Very simply, we need a setup of regional or nationwide mutual aid agreements so that the local officials who know their communities and know what they need can call the help they need and organize it. Waiting for Homeland Security to organize it builds in days of delay. Consider how many personnel and units of all types: boats, fire apparatus, and other special units could be there in 24 hours of request, even if 12 of those hours were needed to assemble crews that were prepared to be self sufficient for 7-14 days. The feds role should be focused on providing the legal frame work, insurance/liability coverage, possibly some coordination, and possibly funding.

    The fire & EMS community does mutual aid day in and day out. If units weren't being turned away at roadblocks, the NO agencies would be suffering and many fewer people would be suffering or dead.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

  12. #32
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    NOTE FOR RESPONDERS WHO ARE APPROVED TO PARTICIPATE FROM FEMA
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Only FEMA/USFA Community Relations team members authorized for deployment are allowed access to the Community Relations Reception Center at 1900 Sullivan Way in College Park, GA. Please do not bring other personnel with you when reporting as they will not be allowed inside. There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy.

  13. #33
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    'Five Shot Dead' In New Orleans

    Anybody going down there, please be careful brothers
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

  14. #34
    Forum Member chipjumper's Avatar
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    This is probably the only topic that is worth reading. I hope all that go get paid WELL for their services. There are no such things as volunteer's in this man-made mess. Anyone that has to step one inch into the area should be paid well and have good health/life/workers comp insurance.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipjumper
    Anyone that has to step one inch into the area should be paid well and have good health/life/workers comp insurance.
    I make a good living as a life and health insurance agent. I make a great life by volunteering to assist people in need. My payment comes not in cash but in ways that infinitely more valuable. No checks necessary here, just the proper credentials, and i'll be there as quickly as the posted speed limits and traffic laws allow.
    earl

  16. #36
    Forum Member chipjumper's Avatar
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    Decent compensation and benefits should come with a dangerous job.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipjumper
    Decent compensation and benefits should come with a dangerous job.

    Yea, you wouldn't wanna' help out your fellow man just outta' the goodness of your heart in the face of the greatest natural disaster in our nation's history.
    "The more we sweat in training, the less we bleed in battle."

  18. #38
    Cpt. Common Sents nbfcfireman's Avatar
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    although compensation is nice for a dangerous job. Mostg firemen that I know would do it for free.. No questions asked!!!CHip are you a fireman and what kind of firemen only helps pay. Most do it because they love it.

  19. #39
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    Default When will they let us go???????

    does any body know when they will send fire service members.that have filled out all there bull**** paperwork ,my departments had theirs in for 4 days and are ready to go. yet know one from dhs fema or any other org has returned a call. just wondering if it was sitting on someones desk waiting for them to get off vacation

  20. #40
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    We're doing a story on this later in the week ... an overview of whats going on.

    Part of the reason, we're told, why they picked responders is that they have background checks already. Remember that after the Hurricanes in Florida, there was some fraud, etc. including from those going around.

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