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Adept Havelock
09-07-2005, 09:30 PM
OK. Interesting use of resources. Discuss amongst yourselves. I'm off to bed.

http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_3004197

Frustrated: Fire crews to hand out fliers for FEMA

By Lisa Rosetta
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

ATLANTA - Not long after some 1,000 firefighters sat down for eight hours of training, the whispering began: "What are we doing here?"
As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded on national television for firefighters - his own are exhausted after working around the clock for a week - a battalion of highly trained men and women sat idle Sunday in a muggy Sheraton Hotel conference room in Atlanta.
Many of the firefighters, assembled from Utah and throughout the United States by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, thought they were going to be deployed as emergency workers.
Instead, they have learned they are going to be community-relations officers for FEMA, shuffled throughout the Gulf Coast region to disseminate fliers and a phone number: 1-800-621-FEMA.
On Monday, some firefighters stuck in the staging area at the Sheraton peeled off their FEMA-issued shirts and stuffed them in backpacks, saying they refuse to represent the federal agency.
Federal officials are unapologetic.
"I would go back and ask the firefighter to revisit his commitment to FEMA, to firefighting and to the citizens of this country," said FEMA spokeswoman Mary Hudak.
The firefighters - or at least the fire chiefs who assigned them to come to Atlanta - knew what the assignment would be, Hudak said.
"The initial call to action very specifically says we're looking for two-person fire teams to do community relations," she said. "So if there is a breakdown [in communication], it was likely in their own departments."
One fire chief from Texas agreed that the call was clear to work as community-relations officers. But he wonders why the 1,400 firefighters FEMA attracted to Atlanta aren't being put to better use. He also questioned why the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - of which FEMA is a part - has not responded better to the disaster.
The firefighters, several of whom are from Utah, were told to bring backpacks, sleeping bags, first-aid kits and Meals Ready to Eat. They were told to prepare for "austere conditions." Many of them came with awkward fire gear and expected to wade in floodwaters, sift through rubble and save lives.
"They've got people here who are search-and-rescue certified, paramedics, haz-mat certified," said a Texas firefighter. "We're sitting in here having a sexual-harassment class while there are still [victims] in Louisiana who haven't been contacted yet."
The firefighter, who has encouraged his superiors back home not to send any more volunteers for now, declined to give his name because FEMA has warned them not to talk to reporters.
On Monday, two firefighters from South Jordan and two from Layton headed for San Antonio to help hurricane evacuees there. Four firefighters from Roy awaited their marching orders, crossing their fingers that they would get to do rescue and recovery work, rather than paperwork.
"A lot of people are bickering because there are rumors they'll just be handing out fliers," said Roy firefighter Logan Layne, adding that his squad hopes to be in the thick of the action. "But we'll do anything. We'll do whatever they need us to do."
While FEMA's community-relations job may be an important one - displaced hurricane victims need basic services and a variety of resources - it may be a job best suited for someone else, say firefighters assembled at the Sheraton.
"It's a misallocation of resources. Completely," said the Texas firefighter.
"It's just an under-utilization of very talented people," said South Salt Lake Fire Chief Steve Foote, who sent a team of firefighters to Atlanta. "I was hoping once they saw the level of people . . . they would shift gears a little bit."
Foote said his crews would be better used doing the jobs they are trained to do.
But Louis H. Botta, a coordinating officer for FEMA, said sending out firefighters on community relations makes sense. They already have had background checks and meet the qualifications to be sworn as a federal employee. They have medical training that will prove invaluable as they come across hurricane victims in the field.
A firefighter from California said he feels ill prepared to even carry out the job FEMA has assigned him. In the field, Hurricane Katrina victims will approach him with questions about everything from insurance claims to financial assistance.
"My only answer to them is, '1-800-621-FEMA,' " he said. "I'm not used to not being in the know."
Roy Fire Chief Jon Ritchie said his crews would be a "little frustrated" if they were assigned to hand out phone numbers at an evacuee center in Texas rather than find and treat victims of the disaster.
Also of concern to some of the firefighters is the cost borne by their municipalities in the wake of their absence. Cities are picking up the tab to fill the firefighters' vacancies while they work 30 days for the federal government.
"There are all of these guys with all of this training and we're sending them out to hand out a phone number," an Oregon firefighter said. "They [the hurricane victims] are screaming for help and this day [of FEMA training] was a waste."
Firefighters say they want to brave the heat, the debris-littered roads, the poisonous cottonmouth snakes and fire ants and travel into pockets of Louisiana where many people have yet to receive emergency aid.
But as specific orders began arriving to the firefighters in Atlanta, a team of 50 Monday morning quickly was ushered onto a flight headed for Louisiana. The crew's first assignment: to stand beside President Bush as he tours devastated areas.
lrosetta@sltrib.com

dirk digler
09-07-2005, 09:41 PM
FEMA is just fugged up IMO.

I think I have heard it all now. Using firefighters in a natural disaster to hand out fliers. Unfreaking believable.

If Bush made one mistake in all of this is that he hired Brown to head FEMA. He should have hired Rudy Giuliana and this shit wouldn't have happened.

WilliamTheIrish
09-07-2005, 09:54 PM
FEMA is just fugged up IMO.

I think I have heard it all now. Using firefighters in a natural disaster to hand out fliers. Unfreaking believable.

If Bush made one mistake in all of this is that he hired Brown to head FEMA. He should have hired Rudy Giuliana and this shit wouldn't have happened.

It still would have happened. It would have happened even if FEMA weren't wrapped into the Homeland Security Dept.

If I didn't know before, (and I did) that in case of a disaster on this scale, it's my family, friends,(and probably) a gun, and good sense that's going to save me, then I most certainly know now.

*disclaimer* This is not a whitewash of the administration. These thoughts are mine and mine alone. These are not the opinions of the BB or it's administrators. YMMV.

memyselfI
09-07-2005, 10:38 PM
Yeah, pass out leaflets while people are drowning...

good plan. :thumb:

SBK
09-08-2005, 12:31 AM
FEMA is just fugged up IMO.



I dare you to name one gov't agency, (excluding military) that isn't.

Logical
09-08-2005, 12:38 AM
I dare you to name one gov't agency, (excluding military) that isn't.
NIH
CDC

to name two, would not be hard to name a few more. Government labs in general in my experience are well run and managed.

Forgot to put Sandia Labs on my list top notch

Simplex3
09-08-2005, 12:40 AM
NIH
CDC

to name two, would not be hard to name a few more. Government labs in general in my experience are well run and managed.

Forgot to put Sandia Labs on my list top notch
CDC just got busted trumping up the numbers on Obesity deaths by nearly 7x the actual amount.

WoodDraw
09-08-2005, 12:42 AM
I dare you to name one gov't agency, (excluding military) that isn't.

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.

Logical
09-08-2005, 12:42 AM
CDC just got busted trumping up the numbers on Obesity deaths by nearly 7x the actual amount.Interesting, I would be interested in reading about that.

Simplex3
09-08-2005, 12:51 AM
Interesting, I would be interested in reading about that.
http://www.ajc.com/health/content/health/0605/03cdc.html
CDC apologizes for mixed messages on obesity

By DAVID WAHLBERG
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/03/05

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention apologized Thursday for confusion generated by two widely divergent studies on the dangers of obesity, saying it was unclear to what extent excess weight contributes to early death.

CDC Director Julie Gerberding, an author of one of the challenged studies, at the same time still insists that weighing even a few too many pounds is unhealthy and argues the nation's battle against the bulge should remain a top priority.

Critics called Gerberding's attempt to clarify confusion over the studies, which caused an uproar in the food and beverage industry and among scientists inside and outside the CDC, "damage control in the first order."

While the studies agreed that obesity was a major concern, they disagreed over how much it contributed to early death.

The first study, conducted in part by Gerberding and released last year, concluded that being overweight or obese causes 400,000 deaths a year. Gerberding and other health officials predicted then that the death toll from obesity would soon eclipse fatalities from tobacco use, estimated at 435,000 deaths a year.

Quickly confronted with questions about their methods, Gerberding and the other authors of the study issued a correction, reducing their estimate to 365,000 deaths a year. The agency blamed the mistake on a computer error.

Then in April, another obesity study, led by Katherine Flegal of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, put the projected death toll dramatically lower at 112,000 people or as few as 26,000 deaths, by one analysis.

Another part of Flegal's study quickly drew public attention: a finding that people who are overweight, but not obese, have a lower death rate than people of normal weight. The conclusion raised concerns among some health officials that overweight people would ignore messages to lose weight.

Flegal said the finding may have resulted from more frail and elderly people, who risk death from illness by being thin, being included in her normal weight category.

The dispute over how much obesity kills and whether having a few extra pounds is good led to charges by the Center for Consumer Freedom a nonprofit organization funded in part by restaurant owners that Americans have been "force-fed a steady diet of obesity myths by the food police."

Gerberding tried to counter such criticism Thursday, saying she was "very sorry for the confusion that these scientific discussions have had."

Claiming "this risk estimation process is in its infancy," the CDC director said obesity's link to major, costly illnesses nevertheless makes it a "serious epidemic" deserving even greater public attention.

Obesity contributes to major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis at a cost of $75 billion a year, Gerberding said. "We need to be absolutely, explicitly clear about one thing: Obesity and overweight are critically important health threats in this country," she said.

The prevalence of obesity has doubled among adults in the past three decades and, she said, among children in the last 20 years.

Gerberding said being overweight, even if not obese, is bad. It is associated with being unfit and thus more prone to disease as well as being a precursor to becoming obese.

"A lot of people were hoping that CDC was going to come out and say it was OK to be overweight, but we're not saying that," she said. "It is not OK to be overweight."

Flegal, in an interview, said that even though her study suggested that being overweight, but not obese, could lead to a longer life, drawing suchan inference from just one study "would be too sweeping."

She said some of the confusion stems from uncertainty about which factors leading to obesity may most cause early death. "Is it obesity itself? Is it poor diet? Is it physical inactivity?" she asked.

Dan Mindus, senior analyst with the Center for Consumer Freedom, called Gerberding's shift to focusing on the cost of illnesses stemming from obesity, and not mortality, "damage control in the first order."

"Previously the CDC's 24/7 message was that your love handles are going to kill you," Mindus said. "Now that they're caught with a flawed study, they're trying to redirect the focus to other issues, such as cost and diseases."

Logical
09-08-2005, 01:06 AM
http://www.ajc.com/health/content/health/0605/03cdc.htmlThanks

dirk digler
09-08-2005, 08:11 AM
I dare you to name one gov't agency, (excluding military) that isn't.

NSA?

I don't think their military and you never ever hear any bad things about them .

But for the other 99% of the govt agencies you are right on.

SBK
09-08-2005, 01:51 PM
NIH
CDC

to name two, would not be hard to name a few more. Government labs in general in my experience are well run and managed.

Forgot to put Sandia Labs on my list top notch

Who is NIH? (I know, I should know)

Adept Havelock
09-08-2005, 01:54 PM
National Institutes of Health

http://www.nih.gov/