As expected Michael Brown has resigned as head of FEMA. However, though a move in the right direction, it’s not enough. As the article mentions, the government needs to move FEMA back out into a department of its own, and, contrary to some who may believe otherwise, return it to dealing with natural disasters rather than this obsession with terrorists:
“When you have orders that go down the rung, people interpret them by putting a very tight box around them,” said Bob Freitag, director of the University of Washington’s Institute for Hazard Mitigation Planning and Research.
Freitag said the reorganization in Homeland Security had a trickle-down effect in state emergency management as well. For example, emergency management officials from Washington, a state where earthquakes are the likeliest threat, will be devoting their entire annual meeting next week to terrorism instead, he said.
“The locals need more money and we have to get it from grants, and the money that’s available is for terrorism,” said Freitag, who worked at FEMA for about 25 years. “It’s not driven by national hazards. That leadership is not there.”
The Department of Homeland Security has enough resources to deal with terrorists. Life must go on, yellow alert or not.
Replacing Brown is David Paulison currently U.S. Fire Director. I didn’t know we had a U.S. Fire Director. Regardless, this is a man who headed up the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, as well as overseeing the county’s emergency services. He also attended the Kennedy School of Management at Harvard, but we won’t hold that against him. He is qualified, and with his Florida background, particularly so when it comes to hurricane management.
I have to ask: why was this man reporting to Brown? He is so much more qualified, it’s almost painful to see.
One incidental impact of Katrina and the government mismanagement: states potentially impacted by an earthquake in the New Madrid fault are now taking it a lot more seriously.