Thread: FEMA in Houston

  1. #1
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    Default FEMA in Houston

    I went to Atlanta like so many other at the begining of September to help FEMA with Katrina. I knew before leaving that there would be no firefighting (or wasn't supposed to be{thanks Long Beach}) so I was happy to help in any way. And we did help many people one on one until I had to go home in mid December. FEMA called me back and asked me to go to Houston. I gladly accepted thinking that I could help so many more people. Well, here I sit in my hotel tonight disgusted of what I learned what we were to do and FEMA's attitude toward the firefighters. Our "mission" here in Houston is to help people get out of hotels..... BUT, we are now told we don't have time to listen to their storys, and thats not what we are here to do. They also told us that when we go to the hotels, we have to have the front dest call each room and chances were that people will not come down to see us because they don't want to give up the hotels. (So I suppose I'm just waisting my time?)FEMA told us they do not want us to help anyone in any way except to get them out of hotels. They also told us "and I think this is the straw that broke my back" that we will not represent our department or the fire service. I could go on and on. In our time off we are not to help any other agencey be it a fire department or the Red Cross. I'm sorry if this sounds like a sob story but I came to help again, and it seems like I've been denied that option. Thanks for listening to my b!t*hes about FEMA. Be safe out there!

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    Angry Make it stop!!!

    TFPD & everyone else that witnessed first hand how FEMA mishandled every aspect of the disaster relief,

    We have a duty to the American people to make sure this NEVER happens again. I'm finishing my 'after action report' and will forward it to my Congressmen, Governor and state homeland security director. If we don't speak out and change the system the next disaster may be in my home town OR YOURS!

    bob

  3. #3
    capfiremedic
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    This is what happens when an overinflated, self serving, self CENTERED agency tries to make the rules... And Firefighters NEVER should have been used as evitction process servers. What a crock of s**t...

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    Default Houston

    I deployed for 4 1/2 months, never worked Texas but heard the stories. All I will say is that the treatment of the firefighters changed towards the end of my deployment, and many DAE's seemed angry because there fellow DAE's couldn't join them in the warm weather areas, or that some of the FF's just might know a bit more then they did about many things.

    The "no fire gear, shirts, caps" etc. took effect. While I wasn't happy about it, I also realized FEMA was signing my paycheck and yes, I was working for them. Many I worked with got a real financial boost in this experience, its not what the fire service is all about but it did help some.

    And, I saw both the great work, and unfortunately some very bad decisions by my fellow FF's in their conduct or work activity, and while we got some very high accolades for some of work, these instances of poor judgement hurt in several ways. But as I told a few people, we had a few bad firefighters, I saw some bad DAE's and FEMA people who's conduct wasn't any better, and every profession has its bad apples.

    Overall it was a decent and memorable experience for me, I really could write a book if I ever find the time as I got to work in four states. I fortunately did not have to do the hotel program.

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    Default Houston

    I deployed for 4 1/2 months, never worked Texas but heard the stories. All I will say is that the treatment of the firefighters changed towards the end of my deployment, and many DAE's seemed angry because there fellow DAE's couldn't join them in the warm weather areas, or that some of the FF's just might know a bit more then they did about many things.

    The "no fire gear, shirts, caps" etc. took effect along with alot of other sudden "new regulations". While I wasn't happy about it, I also realized FEMA was signing my paycheck and yes, I was working for them. Many I worked with got a real financial boost in this experience, its not what the fire service is all about but it did help some financially, I'm glad for some of the people I worked with who put a tireless effort into the job.

    And, I saw both the great work, and unfortunately some very bad decisions by my fellow FF's in their conduct or work activity, and while we got some very high accolades for some of work, these instances of poor judgement hurt in several ways. But as I told a few people, we had a few bad firefighters, I saw some bad DAE's and FEMA people who's conduct wasn't any better, and every profession has its bad apples. The good far outweighed the bad, the biggest obstacle was lack of direction or a plan. I also want to add I worked with a few EXCELLENT FEMA DAE's who gave clear direction and let us do our work without micromanaging or changing course every half hour. I made some new friends in FEMA who I respect.

    Overall it was a decent and memorable experience for me, I really could write a book if I ever find the time as I got to work in four states. I fortunately did not have to do the hotel program. More the anything else it was an experience for me I'll never forget, and the new acquaintances I made just added to my large contingent of fire service friends for life.

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    Default No caps no shirts

    I for one realized that people who were affected by the hurricanes respected us more when we wore some form of FD apparel. I have never delt with such an inefficient organization in my life. They who preached IMS or ICS couldn't practice it. They gave us little information (did anyone know what our job description was when we left Atlanta?). Unlike some of you I never used any of the survival gear that I had brought and paid for. Thanks Doc Truckie, that was most of $600 down the tubes.
    There were many things I learned while I was deployed #1 being that the Federal Gov is screwed up

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    Default Deployment

    As one who worked in Atlanta for an extended period of time, I can't even explain how frustrating it was to send people out and NOT be able to tell them exactly what they'd be doing. We'd get orders, send 60 to Mississippi, that was it.

    Early on people were told no FEMA shirts, wear fire gear in some places. The no FD thing really got pushed later on. FEMA's thought was that they wanted a presence seen. Not bad thinking on their part, can't really argue with the rule.

    One side I neglected in my speech. There were many lucky firefighters who ended up with neat jobs, and had lifetime experiences. You have fireman who now know how to run a DRC, receive and send supplies, and do damage and debris reports. I kind of felt that way for the majority of my deployment. Saw things I'd never seen before, learned alot.

    Mostly, I think at some point we can all say we did something at some point, which helped or assisted a disaster victim. My biggest memory is the thank you's and smiles I got.

    And whether anybody realizes it or not, some firefighters who participated will be the DAE's of tomorrow for FEMA.

    I'd like to see MABAS and EMAC just take over the firefighting end of things, let the state emergency agencies manage things. Louisiana's system broke down or didn't exist. I don't say that to demean my brothers in LA in anyways, but the state dropped the ball early. This would not have happened in other states and I feel safe in saying that. FEMA does have a place, things just got a bit overwhelming this past fall. Let FEMA people do the CR, let emergency services assist emergency services in need and keep the middle man out.

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    Default Training?

    I'll tell you about the training I recieved. I got trained on PDA (Post Disaster Assessment) 2 days running, The same class in 2 different cities, what a waste of time. My computer training consisted of figuring it out for myself, We did so well we were asked to train a few groups of contractors. CSR or CRS my original job well lets see it ran the gambit.
    These guys who had left their jobs, homes and families were given important jobs like directing traffic cars and foot around the Dallas Arena. I met a group of guys who were going to the shelters to just touch base with the leaders and then on to the next shelter. I was sent out to a shelter in NE Texas to assist them with getting the refugees out of the shelters and into longer term living quarters (ie apts, hotels, motels). I was also instructed to get them into the FEMA system, what a joke. PS I was fired by Dallas DRC Boss while I was working in NE Texas for doing what I was instructed.
    My PDA training was a joke. They were using us for troop movement. Fema looked good to the public this way by moving us closer to Rita and announcing the numbers on TV. They had to know ahead of time the President would proclaim the area hit a disaster area ergo PDA would not be needed, what a waste of time. We could have still been helping the victims of Katrina for at least 2 more days.

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    Default Is there a FEMA building/organization in Houston?

    Hello! I have been working for the American Red Cross helping with disaster relief and my job with them is ending due to lack of cases remaining on the Katrina front. I have seen these threads on FEMA continuing to help disaster victims and was thinking maybe I would like to apply there. Only thing, is there a FEMA center in Houston at all? If so, where is it located in Houston and does anyone know if they're hiring?

    Thanks!
    A job seeker wanting to help victims

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    Default Fema

    You should contact the regional office in Denton, TX and see if they are hiring DAE's, each region is different. If you did not do "generalist" training you might be out of the system, but don't feel you missed out, generalists have had few if any deployments and the program was pretty much a waste. I was fortunate to get a DAE appt. after the hurricanes, but I don't go out much and will probably give it up because I've got better work right now and the organization for me is a very frustrating one to work for. I looked at DAE as a retirement gig.

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