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A Q&A With Deanne Criswell, FEMA Administrator

A call to arms, but too little, too late.

When the insurance industry starts paying attention to the cost of disasters and what the future holds, you know we are in real trouble. See this article in the Insurance Journal: “Q&A: New Director Criswell Prepares FEMA for a Hot, Chaotic Future.”

The answer is climate adaptation and mitigation. The issue I see is that we are late to that party and there is not enough Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) staff to solve the deep hole we have dug ourselves into. This is not Criswell’s fault — it is Congress and every state and local jurisdiction, along with business and industry.

We love living in the here and now, but the future has now caught up with us. It is great to say there will be 20 communities helped with making applications for disaster mitigation funding. However, there are 3,000 counties and another 6,000 cities, of which the majority don’t have the expertise to tap into the mitigation funding becoming available.

All I can say is that it will get much worse before it gets better, if it ever gets better.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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