Thursday, April 03, 2008

State of Federal Emergency Management

The Office of Inspector General for Homeland Security released a report evaluating current federal emergency management capabilities. While it stressed solid improvement in seven of nine categories, one area with only modest change should be quite concerning. It seems the feds haven't made much progress on evacuations.

Recall the tens of thousands of people stranded in a flooded New Orleans? Do you remember hospital staff posting signs pleading for rescue for their patients? And this was after drilling on the very scenario but a year earlier. Did they learn nothing from "Hurricane Pam"?

As someone who endured in a dead, river flooded 725 bed hospital in western Virginia and evacuated a 165 bed Texas Gulf Coast facility before then record Hurricane Gilbert, I'm quite keen on hospital patient evacuations, both pre and post landfall. This area got shorted after Hurricane Katrina, glosseed over in the White House Lessons Learned report, and isn't specifically address by federal emergency managers.

This leads me back to my suggested name change for FEMA., EMPHYSEMA. It stands for "Everyone Manage your own Personal Hell while Yelping loudly for the Selective Emergency Management Agency." It looks like that's the mantra for our next widespread disaster.

But here's the good news. Folks at EMPHYSEMA now how to self rescue.

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