Disaster Zone

Specialized FEMA Resources Left Awaiting Mission Assignments

Poor usage of specialized resources.

by Eric Holdeman / April 11, 2018

Bill Lokey, a now-retired emergency manager, had some stock presentations that he used over and over again. For example, "A little bit of training for many people is better than a lot of training for a few people." Or something like that. I also recall he had a line that went something like this, "In disasters, specialized resources are often wasted." Or something like that.  

To provide an illustration of what he was talking about, see this article, Thousands of FEMA rescuers spent more time traveling, awaiting orders than on rescues.

Having been an infantry officer for 20 years, I can tell you that disasters, like combat, are not events that put a high value on efficiency. Yes, we want to be efficient and accountable, but — in the middle of the disaster  it can create "foggy conditions."