FEMA Request for Staff

From FEMA…

As you are all very much aware, our Nation has sustained severe flooding and damage as a result of Hurricane Harvey, and we are anticipating major impacts from Hurricanes Irma and possibly Jose. This is the peak of the hurricane season and it is far from over; to this end, we are reaching out to you to help in response and recovery efforts.  FEMA is looking to recruit personnel, with an expected deployment of 30 days, in the following areas:

Program Area: Skillset Required

Individual Assistance: Survivor outreach and communication, case management

Logistics: Load and unload trucks; coordinate and deliver resources; track inventory

IT: Establish connectivity for facilities; install, track, and manage equipment; configure communications equipment

Disaster Survivor Assistance: Engage directly with survivors; demonstrate understanding of available programs; case management

Hazard Mitigation: Floodplain management, mitigation strategies for the built environment, flood insurance, FEMA’s grant programs and authorities

Disaster Emergency Communications: Set up, operation, and shut down of communications vehicles; installation of voice and data cables; knowledge of radio protocols

External Affairs: Communications, Congressional and intergovernmental affairs, media analysis, media relations, tribal affairs, private sector relations

Environmental and Historic Preservation: Knowledge of environmental, historic, and floodplain management processes and regulations

Human Resources: Human resources specialists and managers

Finance: Travel arrangements and budget controls

Acquisitions: Contracting officers, purchasing specialists, and procurement specialists

If you are available to serve in one or more of these areas, please send your résumé to FEMA-CAREERS@fema.dhs.gov, and please put “Higher Ed” in the subject line.  Feel free to also share this request throughout your networks.  This is a great opportunity to serve the Nation and support our survivors in this time of need.

A Few Words On Hurricane Harvey, and How You Can Help

Readers who have been with me for a while know that I generally refrain from providing commentary on active incidents.  There is already enough chatter out there, with a variety of experts (real and otherwise) providing their opinions.  As with any ongoing incident, there is plenty of information and assumptions, right and wrong.  This disaster is already generating a lot of discussion on the decision by Houston and other jurisdictions to not issue evacuation orders.  Once the flood waters recede and life safety matters are addressed, perhaps I’ll jump into that discussion.  For now, let’s stay focused on the lives that are at risk.

Several people have asked me how they can support the Hurricane Harvey response and relief efforts.  There are many reputable charities out there providing great assistance.  A few tips…

  • Most of these organizations want and need money, not things, so unless they are asking for donations of certain goods or commodities, don’t send them things. The management of unwanted donated goods is an absolute nightmare and a distraction when all resources need to be focused on the disaster at hand.
  • Find a charity/organization that aligns with your own interests and beliefs. If you are most concerned about animal welfare, the ASPCA is a great organization doing incredible work during this and other disasters.  The American Red Cross is a long-standing go-to humanitarian aid organization.  There are also a variety of faith-based organizations, such as the Salvation Army, Adventist Community Services, Catholic Charities, Islamic Relief, and others which are dedicated to supporting communities in need.
  • If you are sending a check (you can even drop off a check at your local offices of any of these organizations), be sure to write ‘Hurricane Harvey’ in the memo of the check. That should direct those funds to this disaster effort.
  • Keep records and request a receipt (if they don’t provide one) for tax purposes.
  • For those of you who want a specific recommendation, I suggest Team Rubicon.  Team Rubicon unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams that provide direct life-safety response efforts as well as short-term recovery work, such as mucking out people’s homes.  They are an outstanding organization that not only provides disaster assistance, but also directly supports our veterans.

These organizations absolutely need your support.  The costs of deploying personnel, even volunteers, are high.  Every dollar makes a difference.

-TR

Veterans in Disaster Response

I’m really not a TED Talk junkie.  Honest.  But today, while surfing through my usual web sites, I hit the TED blog.  I came across a great short (5 minute) presentation on Team Rubicon by their founder, Jake Wood.  The concept of Mr. Wood’s presentation is the story of why he founded Team Rubicon.  Team Rubicon is a disaster relief organization that uses veterans.  It’s not a new idea, really – Reservists, National Guard members, and retired veterans have been an important part of emergency response going back to the days of Civil Defense.  It makes perfect sense, really.  These folks are trained in essential skills and they function well in an organized structure.  They have critical thinking skills and have worked in austere environments.  In emergency management and emergency response we have learned so much from the military – our organizational structure, the Incident Command System, is based on military principles.  We work with military components on a regular basis, and many state emergency management offices are still even components of their state’s National Guard offices – another throwback to the days of Civil Defense.

Veterans have an important value to us, yet we don’t do enough for them.  They have risked their lives for our freedoms and so many return home jobless and feeling lost.  I certainly can’t imagine what it’s like to live in Iraq or Afghanistan for such a long period of time seeing horrible things and wondering if the people walking by you, those who you are trying to provide a better life for, have a bomb strapped to their bodies.  How can anyone be expected to return to a ‘normal’ life after that?  We need to do a better job of reintegration, that’s very obvious.  The sheer number of homeless veterans and veteran suicides is staggering – and it’s shameful that we allow it to happen.

Team Rubicon provides a focus, a purpose, and an environment that veterans are comfortable functioning within – and even better yet they aren’t  carry a rifle.  They are saving lives!