Sunday, March 9, 2008

The need for Volunteers

Even some in FEMA are saying the reality is they need help to mitigate disasters and promote effective relief efforts (that being said they have done nothing about it).

Excerpts from this week's Time magazine
(,8599,1717404,00.html )
"Why is this radical? Because even though regular people do the majority of rescuing after almost every major disaster, they are the last people to be intelligently enrolled in the process. Emergency managers and professional responders do not trust the public as much as they should, nor do politicians. 'The first responder community — fire and police — would like you to believe that, without them, you're not going to survive," says Eric Holdeman, who spent 11 years running emergency management operations in Seattle before leaving in 2007. "But the reality is that there are not enough of them to be able to respond to regional, large incidents.'"

"An oil spill in San Francisco Bay leaked 58,000 gallons of black oil into the water, killing at least 400 birds. Without being asked, thousands of locals showed up to help. Fishermen emptied out their boats and put on their gloves; families came with buckets and Kitty Litter spades. "Two thousand people showed up and said, we'll do hazardous waste removal," says Baker. But most of them were chased away. "All these federal and state agencies said, oh no, we don't need volunteers." Buddhist monks were arrested crossing police lines to help clean up the beach."

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