What does FEMA do? Matt 10 Oct 2005

34 comments Latest by Ana

Spotted by The Daily Show: About FEMA > What We Do

What does FEMA do?

“In truth, FEMA did exactly what they said they were going to do.”
-Jon Stewart

[also via Presentation Zen]

34 comments so far (Jump to latest)

jankowski 10 Oct 05

Makes you wonder if anyone at FEMA watches the daily show.

Drew 10 Oct 05

I guess I don’t get the joke …

ML 10 Oct 05

Stewart’s whole quote:

“This chart, clearly depicting the agencies responsibilities in the event of a disaster….It begins with a response to a disaster, leads to recovery, mitigation, risk reduction, prevention, preparedness…(dramatic pause) and ends up BACK IN DISASTER!…In truth, FEMA did exactly what they said they were going to do.”

Drew 10 Oct 05

Oh, it ends up back in disaster. Got it. ;)

(not to mention … the whole thing is shaped like a hurricane icon …)

Keith Casey 10 Oct 05

If there wasn’t another disaster, they could be disbanded tomorrow…

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

Makes you wonder if anyone at FEMA watches the daily show.
No, they have real work to do.

My grandmother got over $5000 from FEMA and another agency (possibly FEMA again), so I think they did a pretty good job with her. My mom and my grandma are in New Orleans packing her things up to move back to Texas because of this disaster.

But then again, if I don’t know anyone there and watch telecast of what’s happening with nothing good being said, then yes I wouldn’t like FEMA either. Otherwise, had FEMA not done it’s job, my Grandmother would have been up shit creek trying to figure out how to move here.

Dave Simon 10 Oct 05

What I don’t understand about the “blame FEMA-itis” out there is that the first preparations for an emergency come from a community having and executing a good plan.

Leaving thousands of people without transportation in the city when you KNOW it is going to flood, yet still having hundreds of empty schoolbuses is irresponsible.

And how about some of the Louisiana polititians who took money meant for levee improvements and such and spent it elsewhere, or else took it themselves?

There is plenty of blame to go around. Did FEMA react fast enough, with a good plan for Katrina? Not really. Are they the sole agency that should take the blame? Definitely not.

There is plenty of blame to go around, but things start locally, so New Orleans and Louisiana should be looking at their elected officials first, then work up the chain. After all, it seemed like things went fairly well in Mississippi.

David Eads 10 Oct 05

My grandmother got over $5000 from FEMA and another agency (possibly FEMA again), so I think they did a pretty good job with her.

In design-oriented context of this blog, I think the dig is more oriented towards the designer who created a graphic like this, assuming it is a graphic that came from FEMA-generated materials. Of course, lots of people create designs just like this for use in presentations and documents.

Which just begs the question: why do people make designs like this? Education? Bad taste? Expectations? Common design tools?

Lisa 10 Oct 05

Does anyone wonder why you never hear anyone mention anything about the Director of Homeland Security of Louisiana?

I believe (I could be wrong on this) that FEMA would fall under their direction.

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

I think the dig is more oriented towards the designer who created a graphic like this, assuming it is a graphic that came from FEMA-generated materials.

Indeed, I saw the link to the FEMA site after I posted the message and was suprised to find the very same logo.

It’s funny to think that this whole post is because the lack of the last arrow.

Darrel 10 Oct 05

The reason for blame FEMA-itis is that FEMA has been slowly rotting away since joining Homeland security.

A lot of people are to blame at all levels, but when a disaster relief agency is moved to this new shiny department called ‘Homeland Security’ which then can’t react to a disaster in our OWN HOMELAND, maybe it’s time to rethink how our current administration is handling things.

And not to mention hiring your buddy the horse judge to run things isn’t a great idea either.

Dan Boland 10 Oct 05

And not to mention hiring your buddy the horse judge to run things isn’t a great idea either.

Ha ha! Darrel, you’re a funny motherfucker sometimes.

Christopher Fahey 10 Oct 05

What I don’t understand about the “blame FEMA-itis” …

Nobody blames FEMA. They blame (a) Michael Brown, (b) the other unqualified cronies around him, (c) Michael Chertoff, his immediate boss, and (d) the guy who appointed them all. I’m sure FEMA itself is chock full of really excellent people, a great many of whom would be far better qualified to run it than Mr. Arabian Horse Club.

Darrel 10 Oct 05

Well put, Chris.

Ian 10 Oct 05

No matter how excellent and qualified the staff of FEMA are, the organization has no clearly-defined goals, metrics for success, or accountability. At least according to that web page.

How well do you expect them to do?

Holy Cow 10 Oct 05

If you have the time, please do read this to understand just how badly FEMA has screwed up.

Don Wilson 10 Oct 05

Is there a sparknotes to that book-length article, H.C.? ;)

Brian 10 Oct 05

Holy Cow, thanks, great article.

Sparknotes would summarize “Gov’t is the problem, not the solution.

indi 10 Oct 05

Excellent article. I loved this line:

With programs like subsidized flood insurance, government is like a bad mother who pays her children to run with scissors.

jonathan 10 Oct 05


FEMA paid my mortgage for more than 8 months after I was let go from my lower Manhattan job shortly after 9/11.

They rule.
If it wasn’t for them, things would have been much much more difficult for myself and my family.

Alex Cabrera 10 Oct 05

Funny how here in Miami, and the rest of Florida for that matter, we haven’t had any problems with the many hurricanes that have hit us. Maybe because unlike Louisiana, we understood that the state is the one responsible for evacuation and disaster readiness plans.

I have intimate knowledge of the disaster plans in Miami in the event of a hurricane, and it is clear that New Orleans had no such plan.

The bulk of the blame for the loss of life from Katria rests squarely on the shoulders of the state of Louisiana and the local government of New Orleans.

Jens Meiert (of UITest.com) 11 Oct 05

Want Tufte to see this.

Christopher Fahey 11 Oct 05

Alex, when was the last time a major metropolitan area, below sea level, and rife with poverty, got hit head-on by a cat 4 storm in Florida?

In any event, blaming the local officials is certainly justified, but it doesn’t excuse the incompetance at the top of the Federal government one bit. NO and LA screwed up, no doubt about it, but during and immediately after it was obvious that the local authorities were screwing up, the Feds just sat by and watched things get worse and worse. For days. And they either pretended it wasn’t so bad, or they just didn’t know it was so bad (I don’t know which is worse).

Imagine if your neighbor’s house catches fire because they dropped a cigarette and then you just sit there and watch the family die, saying that it’s their fault the fire started. That’s what blaming the locals sounds like to me.

Mark Haliday 11 Oct 05

Please tell this Blog isn’t going to turn into a political soapbox? If so, I’ll get my info elsewhere.

Alex Cabrera 11 Oct 05

Alex, when was the last time a major metropolitan area, below sea level, and rife with poverty, got hit head-on by a cat 4 storm in Florida?

Hurricane Andrew destroyed infrastructure in South Florida and was a direct hit on the poorest sections of the city.

It’s not FEMA’s job to directly provide evacuation and supplies after a disaster strike. Hell, what’s sad is just how many people that were in hospitals died because the local government didn’t have evac plans for those people. Here in Miami there are several hospitals that do partial evacs of critical and nursing home patients in the even of a Cat 1 or 2 and full hospital evacuation for a Cat 3 or over.

Like I said, the bulk of the blame is on the local and state government. FEMA was forced to do more than they are chartered with in the wake of the disaster because of the incompetence of the city and state.

The entire backlash towards FEMA was purely a political move in order to lower poll numbers and embarrass the administration.

Alex Cabrera 11 Oct 05

Mark wrote:
Please tell this Blog isn’t going to turn into a political soapbox? If so, I’ll get my info elsewhere.

Companies providing good services and shutting up about things they have no experience in is soooooooo Web 1.0

Darrel 11 Oct 05

The entire backlash towards FEMA was purely a political move in order to lower poll numbers and embarrass the administration.

Yea, like there was no other way to lower poll numbers and ambarrass the administration. Maybe if Bush hadn’t hired ponie-boy, he wouldn’t have been as embarrassed.

Alex Cabrera 11 Oct 05

Yea, like there was no other way to lower poll numbers and ambarrass the administration. Maybe if Bush hadn’t hired ponie-boy, he wouldn’t have been as embarrassed.

Then again, maybe if people who had never had to deal with FEMA or have been in an area after a hurricane would just shut up and let the people who have been those situations do their jobs we wouldn’t have so much pointless discussion.

Sam 11 Oct 05

“if people who had never had to deal with FEMA… we wouldn’t have so much pointless discussion.”

I don’t find the discussion pointless at all. I think it’s interesting, and expresses two different sides of debate pretty clearly. I think FEMA as a part of HOMELAND SECURITY is the bigger debacle.

I came here looking for the graphic, thank you. As a graphic designer, I find it freakin’ hysterical.

Darrel 12 Oct 05

Then again, maybe if people who had never had to deal with FEMA or have been in an area after a hurricane would just shut up and let the people who have been those situations do their jobs we wouldn’t have so much pointless discussion.

That’s the entire point. The hired leader of FEMA…a pony judge…A PONY JUDGE…A GUY WHO JUDGES HORSES FOR A LIVING AND WAS A CHUM OF BUSH…has never had to deal with this type of thing. And obviously failed.

The *people* of FEMA, like *most* people working for our government are incredibly hard working, dedicated people. No one is knocking them.

And SAM is absolutely correct…the biggest issue is that this is HOMELAND SECURITY. Something that is supposedly incredibly important. Something we’re dumping tons of money into. Something we’re supposedly fighting a silly war over…and they can’t manage to deliver a few cases of water.

sara 13 Oct 05

Does anyone wonder why you never hear anyone mention anything about the Director of Homeland Security of Louisiana?

I believe (I could be wrong on this) that FEMA would fall under their direction.

you don’t hear about the ‘director of homeland security of louisiana’ because there is no such thing as the ‘director of homeland security of louisiana’. homeland security is a federal department created after 9/11. it is not a state based department, nor has it ever been.

michael chertoff, the head of homeland security, would be the one who would oversee fema as fema is a part of homeland security.

it’s no surprise that total idiots get appointed and elected when people in the us don’t even have a basic understanding of how the government works.

But then again, if I don’t know anyone there and watch telecast of what’s happening with nothing good being said, then yes I wouldn’t like FEMA either.

i know people in louisiana, alabama, mississippi, texas and georgia who were affected by katrina and rita. your grandmother is one of the ‘lucky’ ones. what she’s recieved by fema is by no means indicative of what people are getting, i can tell you what most people are getting… SCREWED.

come to atlanta sometime to visit with the hundreds of katrina and rita survivors who waited in line for hours to recieve aid from fema and they didn’t show.

go to houston and talk to the people in the astrodome who were kept in the superdome without food and water, while the national guard barricaded themselves in a skybox and refused to come out.

fema has done NOTHING to deal with this. to perpetuate anything else would be a disservice to the american people.

Chelsey 26 Oct 05

~if another disaster didnt happen…the world wouldnt turn!!;)~
~!~ChElSeY~!~

Ana 14 Sep 06

I think that FEMA is a very bad organization. They are supposed to help, but most of the time they are just plain stupid.

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