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John Doe II Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 07:29 AM
Original message
FEMA: perfect preparation
FEMA : Perfect preparation

As we know by now :
Virtually everything that has happened in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina struck was predicted by experts and in computer models, so emergency management specialists wonder why authorities were so unprepared.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20050902/ts_nm/weather_katri...

Lets have a close look at the long term preparation of FEMA for Katrina.
Middle of July 2004 the exercise called Hurricane Pam took place in at the State Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge and Louisiana State Police headquarters.
While FEMA states it lasted 5 days
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051
the Times-Picayune writes that it lasted 8 days.
(TP, 20.07.04)
FEMA writes that Emergency officials from 50 parish, state, federal and volunteer organizations participated
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051
and Times-Picayune specifies:
more than 250 emergency preparedness officials from more than 50 federal, state and local agencies and volunteer organizations began using that catastrophic scenario.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

The Hurricane Pam scenario focused on 13 parishes in southeast Louisiana-Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany Tangipahoa, Terrebonne. Representatives from outside the primary parishes participated since hurricane evacuation and sheltering involve communities throughout the state and into Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

Already length, quantity of participators, varierty of organizations and the length of the exercise make its importance clear.
And important was the issue of the exercise indeed:
Hurricane Pam brought sustained winds of 120 mph, up to 20 inches of rain in parts of southeast Louisiana and storm surge that topped levees in the New Orleans area.
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

In fact Hurricane Pam , which in 1998 turned east only hours before it would have followed the path chosen for Pam. () Flooding caused by storm surge would cover an area stretching from lower Plaquemines Parish to the middle of St. Tammany Parish, Ponchatoula in Livingston Parish, and parts of Ascension Parish. The water would be high enough in parts of New Orleans to top 17-foot levees, including some along Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

This exercise was by far not based on invented and vague ideas. On the contrary. It was extremely professional:
The exercise used realistic weather and damage information developed by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the LSU Hurricane Center and other state and federal agencies
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051
The National Weather Service has put together a three-week weather plan for this five-day exercise,"
(AP, 7/15/04)

Several problems that could occur with a needed evacuation were thought of as well:
It's estimated that up to half the city's 450,000 residents won't leave.
(AP, 7/15/04)

As many as 100,000 live in households in which no one owns a car, officials say. FEMA spokesman David Passey hesitated before answering a question about how many people could die in such a storm."
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...
The same article also mentioned:
Two years ago, officials with the American Red Cross estimated that the death toll from a catastrophic hurricane in the New Orleans area could be between 25,000 and 100,000, which would be more than any hurricane in the U.S. has caused.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...


The imagined result of Hurricane Pam are disastrous:
More than one million residents evacuated and Hurricane Pam destroyed 500,000-600,000 buildings.
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051
A hurricane packing winds of 120 mph and a storm surge that tops 17-foot levees slams into New Orleans, killing an untold number of people and trapping half the areas residents in attics, on rooftops and in makeshift refuges in a variety of public and office buildings. Parts of the city are flooded with up to 20 feet of water, and 80 percent of the buildings in the area are severely damaged from water and winds.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

The idea of the whole exercise was to help officials develop joint response plans for a catastrophic hurricane in Louisiana.
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

And this is a partial summary of action plans follows:
DEBRIS The debris team estimates that a storm like Hurricane Pam would result in 30 million cubic yards of debris and 237,000 cubic yards of household hazardous waste. * The team identified existing landfills that have available storage space and locations of hazardous waste disposal sites. The debris plan also outlines priorities for debris removal. SHELTERING * The interagency shelter group identified the need for about 1,000 shelters for a catastrophic disaster. The shelter team identified 784 shelters and has developed plans for locating the remaining shelters. * In a storm like Hurricane Pam, shelters will likely remain open for 100 days. The group identified the resources necessary to support 1000 shelters for 100 days. They planned for staff augmentation and how to include shelterees in shelter management. * State resources are adequate to operate shelters for the first 3-5 days. The group planned how federal and other resources will replenish supplies at shelters.
SEARCH AND RESCUE * The search and rescue group developed a transportation plan for getting stranded residents out of harm's way. * Planners identified lead and support agencies for search and rescue and established a command structure that will include four areas with up to 800 searchers.
MEDICAL * The medical care group reviewed and enhanced existing plans. The group determined how to implement existing immunization plans rapidly for tetanus, influenza and other diseases likely to be present after a major hurricane. * The group determined how to re-supply hospitals around the state that would face heavy patient loads. * The medical action plan includes patient movement details and identifies probable locations, such as state university campuses, where individuals would receive care and then be transported to hospitals, special needs shelters or regular shelters as necessary.
SCHOOLS * The school group determined that 13,000-15,000 teachers and administrators would be needed to support affected schools. The group acknowledged the role of local school boards and developed strategies for use by local school officials. * Staffing strategies include the use of displaced teachers, retired teachers, emergency certified teachers and others eligible for emergency certification. Displaced paraprofessionals would also be recruited to fill essential school positions. * The group discussed facility options for increasing student population at undamaged schools and prioritizing repairs to buildings with less damage to assist in normalizing operations * The school plan also calls for placement or development of temporary schools near temporary housing communities built for hurricane victims.

http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

Officials are focusing on six major issues they expect to face in the aftermath of a catastrophic storm like Pam:-- Developing an effective search-and-rescue plan to find survivors and move them to safety.-- Identifying short-term shelters for those who evacuated, or those rescued in the storms aftermath.-- Creating housing options, including trailer or tent villages, for the thousands likely to be left homeless for months after the storm.Removing floodwater from New Orleans, Metairie and other bowl-like areas where levees will capture and hold storm surge, possibly for days or weeks. - Disposing of the thousands of tons of debris left behind by the storm, which will include the remains of homes and businesses; human and animal corpses, including bodies washed out of cemeteries; and a mix of toxic chemicals likely to escape from businesses, industries, trucks and rail cars in the flooded areas.-- Recreating school systems for public and private school students.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

The plan will provide a "bridge" between local and state short-term evacuation and emergency response plans, and a longer-term federal disaster response plan, said Ron Castleman, Federal Emergency Management Agency regional director.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

Whats critically important about this is that so many different agencies, and all three levels of government are here, all singing from the same sheet of music, so that when we do come out with a working document, everybody will have bought into it," Terry Tullier, director of the citys Office of Emergency Preparedness said.
http://www.ohsep.louisiana.gov/newsrelated/incaseofemrg...

And the result is apparently very promising:
"We made great progress this week in our preparedness efforts," said Ron Castleman, FEMA Regional Director.
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

But still not enough:
"Over the next 60 days, we will polish the action plans developed during the Hurricane Pam exercise. We have also determined where to focus our efforts in the future."
http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=13051

Keeping in mind that what actually happened at New Orleans has very strong similarities to Hurricane Pam FEMA has obviously done a perfect preparation.
In March 2005 the National Hurricane Conference, took place in New Orleans.
(S)tate officials had the opportunity to compare their still-developing plans with the real-world efforts by Florida counties to return students to school after five hurricanes.
(Times Picayune, 3/25/05)

Its hard to see how FEMA could have been better prepared for Katrina.
Its hard to see how better and more concrete disaster plans could have been developed.

But the Chicago Tribune writes:
Government disaster officials had an action plan if a major hurricane hit New Orleans. They simply didn't execute it when Hurricane Katrina struck.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0509...

Why?
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LARED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 08:49 AM
Response to Original message
1. In the real world there are distinct differences
between emergency response exercises, planning/preparation, (BTW there is no such thing as perfect planning/prep in emergency response), and actually responding to an emergency.

I speak from personal experience.

You state

Its hard to see how FEMA could have been better prepared for Katrina.
Its hard to see how better and more concrete disaster plans could have been developed.


belies that you fail to grasp that VAST difference between planning/ preparation and responding.

I was waiting to see how long it would take for this line of thought to emerge in the CT world as it is very similar to the line of thought that because the response to 9/11 was less than adequate although there are manifold response plans, it indicates a cover up.
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 11:25 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. It's really funny. These people are paid to execute in mission
critical situations, and when they fall flat on their faces in scores of at least seemingly inexcusable ways resulting in the deaths of hundreds of US citizens, there is always someone around to say, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of job."

Funny that. Because there comes a point when incompetence is no less criminal than foul play, yet purveyors of the official line of shit cling to criminal negligence like it's a fucking life preserver.

What's the point of the trillions we've dished out over the years on national defense if we can't protect the country from a few passenger planes in a timely manner? What's the point of even having a federal government if we leave Americans exposed to die for the want of water, food and medicine for DAYS and DAYS after a widely predicted natural disaster?
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LARED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. What's rather amazing
is the inability for folks to think consistently.

Nearly everyone knows the government is by and large inept at doing anything effectually and efficiently. This is not universal, but the evidence is overwhelming that a majority of government institutions provide lousy service

Yet, somehow when a disaster of gigantic proportions occurs (Katerna and 9/11) and all of a sudden many think the government is going to do everything at near perfection.

How do you explain this?


:yoiks:
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Is the post office inept? Is the Marine Corp inept? Were the
Coast Guard search and rescue missions inept? Was FEMA's immediate response to the Florida hurricanes in an election year inept?

Save your Republican talking points for Republicans. Bureaucracy doesn't kill people any more than guns kill people.
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LARED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Is reading comprehension difficult for you?
I didn't say all government institutions are inept. Many are, you know that, unless you do not live in the US, and so does everyone else. My only point is this post is that government failure is not equal to a conspiracy to gain some political advantage. The government fails on a regular basis. I hope this is not news to you.

Also save your allegations for someone else. I am not advocating Repuke talking points.
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Exactly which federal governmental institutions are utterly inept?
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 08:55 PM by stickdog
Many are corrupt. Many are wasteful and self-perpetuating. Many pursue less than perfect and/or hidden agendas at the behest of other governmental and/or corporate power brokers. However, I can't think of one that is particularly inept at doing what it's leaders are actually trying to do. Moreover, you are hiding your rationale behind a facile generalization. We had every reason to expect most of the specific institutions involved in 9/11 attack and Katrina responses to perform their specific duties with far greater efficiency.

For example, FEMA did a great job greasing the palms of Miami voters last election, and they did a fine job responding to hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. Bush and General Myers are their heads, but where were their competent handlers on 9/11. And Rumsfeld is a lot of things, but inept is one of them. So why wasn't he at his post until about 10:30 on 9/11? Do you think the US Navy and Air Force are inept institutions? Are air traffic controllers inept? Is NORAD inept? Is Cheney inept?
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 01:36 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. Well, my above posting was definitely inept. Here it is in English.
Exactly which federal governmental institutions are utterly inept? Many are corrupt. Many are wasteful and self-perpetuating. Many pursue less than perfect and/or hidden agendas at the behest of other governmental and/or corporate power brokers. However, I can't think of one that is particularly inept at doing what its leaders are actually trying to do. Moreover, you are hiding your rationale behind a facile generalization. We had every reason to expect most of the specific institutions involved in 9/11 attack and Katrina responses to perform their specific duties with far greater efficiency.

For example, FEMA did a great job greasing the palms of Miami voters last election, and they did a fine job responding to hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. Bush and General Myers are in over their heads, but where were their competent handlers on 9/11? And Rumsfeld is a lot of things, but inept isn't one of them. So why wasn't he at his post until about 10:30 on 9/11? Do you think the US Navy and Air Force are inept institutions? Are air traffic controllers inept? Is NORAD inept? Is Cheney inept?
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 03:31 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Air traffic controllers aren't inept, but the FAA certainly is at times.
Edited on Sat Oct-01-05 03:32 AM by MercutioATC
I realize that using Google doesn't seem to be your strong point, but try to Google the Integrated Sector Suite System (ISSS). Get a load of how much money the FAA wasted on THAT project.

Add to that antiquated procedures, 1980's-era equipment, horrendous management decisions, etc. and you'll see that the FAA as an agency is no different than many other federal agencies. They're inept much of the time.
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 05:54 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Don't you work for the FAA?
Who in the FAA do you think was inept on 9/11?
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 09:41 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. I've said it before...
They were inept for not giving us specific warning of a heightened risk of hijackings.

The procedures in place for dealing with a hijacked aircraft (specifically, how that information made its way up the chain of command) built in an unnacceptable delay.

However, I was speaking more generally. Overall, I think MOST government agencies are inept much of the time.
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AZCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. I think it's a question of size.
I have generalized the incompetence theory to cover all organizations, whether part of the government or not. How many of us have had nightmarish run-ins with the phone company or any similar behemoth? Ever tried to get Dell customer service?

I think government agencies get so much flak for two reasons - since they are part of the government we all have some stake in their performance (and therefore feel free to voice our opinions), and (especially for federal agencies) their impact is greater than private organizations because we all (or at least most of us) use their services. My phone company may be horrible, but if it isn't the same one you use then, even if yours is equally nasty, there isn't an equivalent outcry.

Anyway, it's just a theory of mine. :)
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. WHO acted in an inept manner on 9/11?
WHO could have expedited the military's response in an emergency but chose not to?

Names please.
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MercutioATC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Not any single person (or group of people) - the PROCESS was to blame.
I've said this over and over. The process was accountable for the majority of the delay. No conspiracy, no particularly inept link in the chain, just a flawed process.
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LARED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 06:41 AM
Response to Reply #10
15. Lets try the comprehension thing again.
Why not put your agenda aside for a moment, and actually read what I said.

My only point in this post is that government failure is not equal to a conspiracy to gain some political advantage. The government fails on a regular basis. I hope this is not news to you.

This is particularly true when dealing with unprecedented events like Katrina and 9/11.

Do you agree or disagree with with those statements?
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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #15
19. PEOPLE fuck up on a regular basis. Calling it GOVERNMENT
is just a bullshit construct to hide personal responsibility and accountability.

More accurately, if and when government fails on a massive scale, it's either because of a lack of resources, a lack of procedures or a lack of leadership. In both 9/11 and Katrina, the resources and procedures to handle the situation much better were in place.
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-17-05 12:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. FEMA blocked evacuation aid and relief aid in New Orleans: Summary
Edited on Sat Sep-17-05 12:14 PM by philb
FEMA blocked huge amounts of evacuation aid and relief aid for New Orleans, etc., and Brown and Chertoff were warned of the extent of the danger but failed to act to prevent the disaster Summary

http://www.flcv.com/femabloc.html
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paulthompson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-22-05 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
3. John Doe II
Please email or PM me. I have a question for you.

Paul
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philb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-25-05 10:00 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Isn't he involved with the team8 site? and could be reached there?
Edited on Sun Sep-25-05 10:00 AM by philb
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vincent_vega_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
6. Ahh the whole thing was FUBAR
State, Local and FEMA.



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stickdog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Yes, but why?
FEMA did a fine job responding to hurricanes Charley, Frances, Jeanne and Ivan. And they practiced a dry run for just this type of Louisiana disaster in July 2004. So why was everything FUBARed this time around?
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