I'd like to apologize to everyone who might get the wrong idea about the story Firehouse.com ran about the Utah firefighters who believe FEMA wasted their time, money and talent.

Most of the people I've talked with who responded from Utah to assist in the effort feel they were treated well by the locals, and accomplished a lot of good. The people quoted in the story range from a volunteer firefighter with undocumented/unknown skills in search & rescue to an administrator who has chosen not to have his people involved with the existing FEMA search and rescue team. Since they knew nothing of FEMA training prior to their ticker-tape, well-publicized departure, I fail to understand their bewilderment at not being directly involved with front-line work right off the bat. You'd think these people would know the need for standardized training, and how you can't just throw someone into the fray without knowing basic structure triage or how to tag a building as does a USAR team. "No, I'm not a member of a USAR team, but I DID stay in a FEMA-approved hotel last night!"

I think it's already known that FEMA doesnt always do things in a financially thrifty fashion. But I find it ironic that a chief would send a BC to do task-oriented work (instead of IC) and then complain about the money being spent to send him.

Again, sorry for anyone getting the wrong idea from the story. Most Utahns were happy to help and came home quietly, knowing they'd done a great job under less-than-desirable circumstances.