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Why Is FEMA at the Train Derailment?

The Twilight Zone and kabuki theater disaster response.

Because of the “culture wars” and politics being what they are in this country these days, the federal government is pulling out all the stops to “show that they care.”

I would not be surprised if they have people going door to door asking, “Does anyone here need another pillow? Dacron or feather?”

The two primary agencies from the federal government who need to be there are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handling monitoring the air and water and the cleanup, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigating the cause of the crash. They in turn will report their findings to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).

Here’s an announcement that was made 10 days ago about FEMA’s involvement: “Joint Statement from Ohio Governor DeWine and FEMA Regional Administrator Sivak.” In normal circumstances FEMA would not be there, but then nothing about this event is now “normal.”

See my earlier blog post, “Ohio Train Derailment — Politics in Play.”

I do fear that we’ve entered the Twilight Zone era of kabuki theater emergency and disaster responses.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.