1. #1
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    Default Disaster Generalists

    What is the deal with this they give you 2 days notice before training.

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    Allow me to be the first to say......What???
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by PENNDEL
    What is the deal with this they give you 2 days notice before training.
    Fema Flexible :-)

    Are you sure about immediate training? My info was that training will be held in almost all 50 states where there is enough for a class in May and June. Most of the training staff has already been assigned to their states. There might be some pilot training going on in Florida this month.

    I'm more puzzled that the generalists aren't being assigned to regions like the previous DAE's.

    This is no guarantee for work either unless the "big one" hits. They are still deploying existing DAE's to all current disasters.
    Last edited by StillLearning; 04-07-2006 at 10:08 AM.

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    Called FEMA today to set up a training date and they wanted to schedule me for April 9th - April 15th. Almost impossible to do with 1 1/2 business days notice. When asked if there would be another training class they said possibly starting the week of April 17th only if there are enough people to hold one. I am from PA and have to go to Ft. Indiantown Gap CAP headquarters. I have no problem going and doing this but alittle bit of notice would be nice. Hopefully when I call back there are enough people for the second class. I thought that maybe they had there Sh*t together but I was obviously wrong.

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    Worse yet --- received the letter called and was told to be in AL -- April 17 thru 22 --- given a EMW number to book my travel and was also told to call ADD support --- called ADD support and they didnt have a clue what I was talking about --- after 30 minutes on hald they said they would call. Good ole FEMA

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    All you had to do w/ ADD was change your status to availible. Don't bother talking to a person there, they are a bunch of temps that don't know thier job from a hole in the ground. The gentleman I talked to @ FEMA Workforce Deployment (i think) was Trey. This dude actually knew what he was talking about and has almost all of the answers you could need. Me and a buddy leave sunday for Ft. Indiantown Gap, PA for a fun filled week of classes and FEMA mumbo jumbo. I can't wait. I will keep people posted on here w/ a day to day summary.

    It took National Travel almost 45 minutes today to find a hotel within 20 miles of the training center that was FEMA certified. What a hassle.

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    a fun filled week of classes and FEMA mumbo jumbo. I can't wait. I will keep people posted on here w/ a day to day summary.


    So, they're bringing you back and your complaining??

    Just remember, once you get in FEMA's system you are no longer a firefighter to them, you are a disaster assistance employee. As one of my supervisors once told me in Florida. "I don't care where you have been or what you've done, just do what your told. You are no longer on the fire department here"

    Just remember, FEMA treats employees like mushrooms, they keep you in the dark! :-)
    Last edited by StillLearning; 04-11-2006 at 11:01 AM.

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    Here is a bit of info for you StillLearning: We are not going to be called Disaster Assistance Employee, we will be a permenant group of immediate deployable personnel. Our title is FEMA Disaster Generalist. I am not nor will/have I ever complained about training w/ FEMA. You would have to be stupid to complain about getting $24/hour to sit in a class.

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    I wrote that with a little tounge in cheek, your obviously dedicated. It did seem a bit sarcastic. I spent September to Feb. with FEMA, it was some of the most challenging and rewarding work I've done in my life, and sometimes the most frustrating. I think you know what I mean.

    The thing is that I managed to stay involved in some areas, and what they are doing right now is not what the plan was 3-4 weeks ago. I'm just like everybody else, staying tuned. And I was just told I was a DAE, not a generalist unless they are renaming everybody that. My biggest problem is being out of leave time at work, I think my FEMA career as a whatever will have to go on hold until I retire.

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    The title of our position will change as soon as you have passed the 5 day training course set up in your state. After completion you will be a Disaster Generalist and be able to be deployed within 24/48 hour notice to anywhere in the country. Atleast that is what I have gotten out of talking to FEMA reps. and other former DAE's. I will let everyone know on this forum any pertinent info as I get it while away at training. I will be @ the training in PA from 4-17/4-22. My hope is that is well worth my time and helps us do our jobs better. In New Orleans,, it seemed like nobody actually knew what we were there for, but we did what we could and I feel it helped emensely.(sp?)

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    First of all if you like this type of work which it sounds like you do, and can earn a decent wage, I'm happy for you.

    My problem with this is simply will that not much will change. Like me, you probably dealt with older DAE's, some good and some bad. While this job gets some good people, it is designed for mainly retirees as supplemental income, or those who are self employed. My issue is that its nice to have people who can deploy in 24-48 hours, but really........who can do this? I know I can't. And then you wonder once you report in 24-48 hours, how long will you wait for an assignment. If your able to take off work or give up a job, be away from your family, and like that type of lifestyle, its for you. I talked to many who were gone from home a long time, and had alot of adjustment both with themselves and family when they returned. I know two who lost their jobs, they told me they simply got caught up in the FEMA thing and made a mistake by not returning back to work.

    I just checked the package I got last week, I have been appointed a DAE for a region. It says nothing about a generalist, I'm still filling out forms. We'll see what happens.

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    Could someone e-mail me the number to ADD? I lost it Thanks!
    tfpd109@yahoo.com
    Thanks Again!

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    Does any one know if we will be getting paid more money as a disaster generalist?

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    OK, here it is....

    I have been in training for 2 days now, it seems like a lifetime. All I can say is bring alot of coffee to class with you. FEMA is training all 3000 DAE's that worked during the last 2 hurricane seasons starting with Hurricane IVAN. But only the ones who have passed the criminal background check. As a Disaster Generalist we are trained in CR, IA, and Debris Removal so if need be we could essentially just be deployed to a city/town and start FEMA relief efforts. We are also being trained in ethics, safety, communication, briefly in ICS, teamwork/team building, and FEMA literature. Also once you have passed the training there is a test at the end, you will be a permenant DAE/Disaster Generalist detailed to the Headquarters Cadre in D.C.. Our paygrade has actually dropped a few cents, we will be payed as grade C-3 which is 22.91 an hour. So I have been told, have yet to see anything in writing. When you come for training you will not be paid for travel time, you will be paid for 40 hours @ C-3 grade, your per diem depending on lodging and that is it. They will pay for the hotel and car and gas and the like but nothing else. The Instructors try to make the class as fun aas possible but the information is very dry. FEMA wanted all 3000 DAE's trained and ready by June 1, 2006 but that is an impossible task, so they hope to have 75% trained by then. There are classes in PA, FL, WA, VA, and 2 in MA. The classes will run every Monday - Friday from here til the week of the fourth of july. The final class will be held the week of the July 4, 2006 @ NFA in Emmitsberg, MD. What a way to spend your holiday. I hope this answers most peoples questions, if not just let me know, I will try to get them answered ASAP.

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    went there ---- did that --- Atlanta all over --- what a waste of time and taxpyers $

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    I would haeve agreed about that last statement the first or second day, but not on the whole week. Yes there were parts of it that were boring, dull, or didn't need to be covered, but it was an informative class. The best part was that we went over how to operate in the roll of CR, IA, and debris removal, which i personnally only did CR in the field and it helps alot to know alittle about everything. Also they had alot of paper material that wil definitely help us in the field performing our tasks. Another helpful part was the last day when we sat down and had about a 2 hour lecture and hands on with travel vouchers and how to complete them the correct way. Also I know that personally I met a bunch of good guys and some not so good civi's.

    For those of you who were down, alot of the DAEs hired do not like the firefighterrs because we were placed in command positions. Most thought that we were placed on a higher pedestal because of our training and experience, but that isn't a good reason for anything. But that is going to be an entirely different issue when we are deployed again.

    On a whole the week was OK, most of the people in my class are all on the same page as me. The Instructor were pretty decent as well, they tried their best to make the class as fun as possible.

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    Default Disaster Generalists

    Just a few comments.

    First of all the Katrina/Rita/Wilma disasters were unprecedented in the time span that they occurred in. Like myself, I think most who responded would say that CNN, Fox, and other sources could not portray the magnitude and scope of these disasters. It is something I will never forget, simply for the enormity and size. And yes, it is my opinion that the ball was dropped by local officials in Louisiana, planning and initial response is a LOCAL responsibility. I thought Florida SERT did a good job, the problem was people refusing to listen to the warnings and advice they were being given.

    Was you class the one with maybe 20-23 people in it? This weeks was scheduled to have 13. Many people have opted to not take the training, and some can't make it with the late notice. Some just decided on FEMA experience was enough.

    The dislike for the firefighters was from a variety of reasons. (May I add that the firefighters were also VERY liked and appreciated by some of the DAE's, there were no problems in some areas and things went well). First of all some were being paid more then the regular DAE's, it caused alot of problems, especially in Florida, something FEMA should have looked at. Experienced DAE's did not always deal with change well, nor having to work with non-DAE's whom they didn't know or didn't like. Their problem. DAE's didn't always behave the best, and neither did some of the firefighters, it seemed to be more of an issue with the firefighters. FEMA would have done themselves a big favor but just sending people home when they were out of line instead of placing them in another area. It is not that FEMA doesn't like firefighters, but some FF's couldn't understand that they were not working for the FF but were working for FEMA. Some got very upset when they finally prohibited the wearing of FF shirts or hats while on duty, and demanded FEMA shirts be worn. This changed over the course of the disaster, they were encouraging fire shirts at the beginning, but later on some of the FF's just didn't get it as to who they were working for. Many DAE's were just upset or unable to deal with change and the fact that "this isn't how we've done things". Again, their problem. FEMA operated many years on sending a few DAE's to disaster areas to collect information, tape up flyers, and assess the needs. This was a very big change due to the scope of things.

    One big problem is that many of the FEMA instructors have NEVER worked a disaster as a DAE, been in a DRC, slept in a tent, or has even dealt with a disaster victim. Some have, I believe all instructors should have some "in the field" experience. I wouldn't want to be taught interior fire attack by somebody who has never been in an interior fire or has experienced it. On the other hand there are some darn good instructors in FEMA training.

    Right now the Disaster Generalist numbers are coming up a little short. This is of course that the FEMA system favors people who can mobilize at the drop of a pin. In other words people who have an extremely tolerant or no family, people who can get off work and leave on a moments notice, and people who can live on an inconsistent revenue stream from income. In other words a great situation for retirees, the self-employed, people on a pension, or people with alot of money that don't need steady work. People complain about DAE's being old, but really who else can do this work with the current system?

    To close it is my understanding that Disaster Generalists could be on the bottom of the food chain for deployment, or be called out for megadisasters like last year and when they are out of DAE's to deploy. I think many have realized that many firefighters were demobilized in Jan. and after, and none have been called back. All call-outs have been DAE's. DAE's will continue to be called out on the smaller stuff such as Missouri, California, etc. right now. DAE's will still be DAE's, disaster generalists are the "new breed", and eventually as DAE's do permanently retire, disaster generalists will be the future. At some point in time I would also expect changes in the system, and a strong look at privatization. (right or wrong?). I'd really like to see MABAS, EMAC, and other organizations work on a better system for rescue responses. I know many firefighting crews who went down to Louisiana with rigs and did absolutely nothing for two weeks. While some just went on their own, organizations or systems besides FEMA need improvement.

    You did a nice training synopsis, I think you created a clear picture. Fact is, being a FEMA on-call employee is not for everybody.
    Last edited by StillLearning; 04-24-2006 at 03:22 PM.

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    Default Class Update

    I just got off the phone with FEMA. Like many of you, I recieve this letter and am told about a training class that is to take place in 2 weeks. Well that didnt work for me, so of course I called and here is what I was told.

    May 22 to 26 in Pennsylvania and Missouri
    May 29 to June 2 in Arizona
    June 5 to 9 in Massachusetts
    June 12 to 16 in Oklahoma
    July 3 to 7 in Maryland

    So with this info there is a choice as to when it can be done. I will say it was faster to call the 866-709-2328 then email. I am still waiting for the reply in email form that I just typed.

    Hope this helps

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    Default Generalist Training

    Ok, I don't see the complaining about the lack of timing for the training. I got the information a few weeks ago for the July training at the academy. I called last week to find out more and set things up. I was given several options as they are trying to get people in before June 1 and was even given several states to choose from. Plenty of time to get things done and plenty of time to prepare.

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    I was given 7 days notice, and I attended the training at Noble Training Center Ft. McClelland Alabama. It was very similar training to what we got in Atlanta last year, but there was more info given on the Public Assistance and Debris Monitoring sections. All in all, the only thing that I found to be a positive was that the "generalist" are taken out of regional cadre and placed under a new cadre in HQ, which means we can go nationwide.

    As for these people having problems with their jobs, as long as you give them 72 hours notice, which is all required by law, they can NOT reprimand, or even fire you. It is a federal deployment! Carries the same weight as being called up by the Reserves or National Guard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sclw2004
    As for these people having problems with their jobs, as long as you give them 72 hours notice, which is all required by law, they can NOT reprimand, or even fire you. It is a federal deployment! Carries the same weight as being called up by the Reserves or National Guard.
    Don't take this as my doubting you, but where did you get this? Was this from FEMA? If its the case I lost alot of good people in Louisiana who were getting threatened with job loss if they didn't come home.

    Some of the generalist classes were down to 8-10 people this week in several states, the anticipated numbers are not being generated according to the latest report I read.

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    Actually, the FEMA deployment does not carry the same weight as a National Guard deployment. Your employer can indeed fire you. We confirmed this through the higher-ups when a lot of us in Mississippi had to face a tough decision.

    DMAT and USAR deployments are indeed protected, however. I'm not sure what the difference is, but that's the way it is.

    I was actually pleased with the Generalist class. Yes, it was the same old stuff that we did in Atlanta, and then Orlando.... but hey, training is training. I spent 7months in Biloxi and I can't tell you how good of an experience it was. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm under the impression that any further deployments will be the same enriching experience, and I'm rearing to go.

    Anyone else here do the Mississippi MHOPS thing?

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    Default New here

    Ok guys, up front, this is the first time I have heard of this title or job..so im behind...I am a FF/medic, and since Katrina, I have been self employed doing contract EMS work.
    I have been all over South LA since Septmeber, and I am still contracted in Plaquemine parish today.

    If someone has some time, could you reply or drop me a line at rnfiremedic@gmail.com
    I am interested in learning more about this position with FEMA, and if there is an opportunities for me.

    Thank in advance,

    J
    Last edited by bigJ164019; 08-25-2006 at 11:13 AM. Reason: New email addy
    Jeremy (bigj164019) - FireFighter-I/Paramedic
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    "Live for today, because yesterdays are over, and tomorrows may never come"!

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    went to maryalnd generalist training also did you ever receive your new fema id?

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    stilllearning you make 24.00 to sit in class plus you make pier diem and you can keep all the rewards point hmm i say pretty good pay oh i forgot plus travel pay. and you get to help people understand of those goverenment forms.

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