Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops our 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, we need the input and diverse perspectives of the entire FEMA team, the stakeholders we serve, and the partners we work with every day. We need your help to inform our future vision, direction, strategic goals, and operational objectives.

The Agency is seeking feedback and engagement from our partners and stakeholders here. This is our first step in a new cycle of listening to employees at all levels, and stakeholders from state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector about how we could do things better.

Topic Area 1

  • Discuss ways FEMA can simplify disaster recovery programs, reduce disaster costs, and ensure accountability and fiscal stewardship
(@audrey.dewittie)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

FQS Cross-Training

The FEMA Qualification System (FQS) has helped to standardize resources and this has been invaluable. While the quality and type of resources is easily identified, the singular focus of FQS has also meant a reduction in cross-training which can reduce the overall efficiency of our resources. Staff can only be issued one Position Task Book at a time, and typically are only allowed to hold titles in a single Cadre. If a ...more »

Voting

17 votes
17 up votes
0 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Utilize your associates wisely

I would like to suggest a later deployment of associates to areas when the DRC's are finally set up and ready to be staffed. This would be a HUGE cost reduction to the projects.(hotels, rentals cars, ME&I) Sometimes, the waiting is what affects a persons psyche. We come here with an attitude of helping survivors but by the time we get to do that(2 weeks later) we are tired, stressed from all the waiting, and not mentally ...more »

Voting

14 votes
14 up votes
0 down votes
Active
(@tmorello)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Hiring practices for Public Assistance (PA) employees

In PA recent people hired do not have any background in infrastructure so that when they are sent out to inspect and report on damage to infrastructure they do not have the knowledge necessary to accurately describe the damage using the common vernacular for the particular facility, be it a hospital or a county road. Consequently when it comes to writing up the applicant's grant there is much confusion and revisiting ...more »

Voting

13 votes
15 up votes
2 down votes
Active
(@robert.spence)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Using clear language and terms in our disaster programs.

FEMA use of complicated phrases and descriptions to describe the individual assistance and public assistance program] does not follow doctrine or plain. clear, concise messaging. Example, DSAT - Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams, Should be Individual Assistance Team; Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA), beside a bad acronym that conflicts with another agency, should be temporary lodging assistance. I could spend ...more »

Voting

13 votes
13 up votes
0 down votes
Active
(@coulterjohnson)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Utilize GPS to aid in response and cost efficiency

Existing technology, which embodies GPS and mobile devices, easily facilitates added security and response time for FEMA. By employing this existing technology, accurate locations and sensitive response time during disasters are expedited and enhanced. FEMA should strongly consider utilizing GPS technology in their Government issued mobile smart phones: significantly increasing FEMA response efforts. The new location ...more »

Voting

12 votes
13 up votes
1 down votes
Active
(@bryan.miller2)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Cost Savings

We should not let an internal departments policy, process or procedure get in the way of reducing cost.

Example:

A travel cost comparison submitted that shows it will reduce the cost to FEMA being rejected because it was against a specific internal WDD travel policy.

Voting

12 votes
13 up votes
1 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

FEMA Mobile Home Housing Missions

We really need to revisit the idea of a "Travel trailer" type of unit - Tiny homes, maybe, or just units built to different standards then the original TTs. The Mobile home units are not cost effective nor are they even a good solution for most survivors, home owners do not want to leave their property, most localities do no want Mobile Home parks in their communities, the Parks and units take too long to put in place ...more »

Voting

11 votes
12 up votes
1 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Streamline Response

Instead of spending money to maintain regional IMATs who in the last few years are being kept on small PA disasters to "justify" their positions, use these resources as envisioned...for response. The "professionalizing" of emergency management where every FEMA employee is to be an emergency manager is not served when fixed regional teams are deployed for any disasters, even those that could be rune "virtually". Suggest ...more »

Voting

10 votes
13 up votes
3 down votes
Active
(@audrey.dewittie)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Post Deployment Opportunities

When disaster resources are requested, personnel are either Direct Deployed (regional and HQ personnel) or a standard request is submitted which basically rotates through the list of IMC and RSV based on who was deployed. When each responder has 24 hrs to respond before their response defaults to 'decline', it can take days to find out if the resource need can be met--even partially. The deployment system can expedite ...more »

Voting

10 votes
11 up votes
1 down votes
Active
(@ken.radzieta)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Determining MHU Feasibility During Inspections

During home inspections, we should enable out contractors to determine if owners have property that is large enough for the placement of a MHU. This would allow for a faster determination of the need for the MHUs in an area, and would also cut down on the time delivering the units. If we start to determine the need sooner, we will be able to better meet the needs of the survivors, and simultaneously begin our demobilization ...more »

Voting

9 votes
10 up votes
1 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Professional Project Managers

If we created a cadre of professional project managers, we could reduce the costs of recovery by streamlining the recovery process. The writing and processing of PWs seems to take an inordinate amount of time. Seems like we should build capability in project management instead of FQS type training. It would allow those folks opportunities across the entire enterprise, as we have a need for project managers in response, ...more »

Voting

9 votes
10 up votes
1 down votes
Active
(@ronan.dalcross)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

FEMA Denial Letters

This is a known issue, but deserves reiteration. Simplify the FEMA denial letter and detail next steps or what is needed to fix the denial (See figure 14 IHPUG). All too many survivors get lost and do not know what to do. I just received a call some nine months after a disaster about how to process an appeal. All letters could be simpler, but particularly the gate for SBA which so many throw away because they cannot ...more »

Voting

9 votes
10 up votes
1 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

Scale back field presence significantly

Issue: Field operations have a significant staffing footprint – frequently with a very low ratio of survivors to field staff. This is an indicator of inefficient use of human capital. Tactic: Aggressively identify functions that can be performed in a central processing center or done away with altogether. For example, many redundant contacts occur from field based callouts. Consolidating any necessary contacts into ...more »

Voting

9 votes
15 up votes
6 down votes
Active

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

working 15 hours day after day affects performance and attitude

At Distribution Centers one should not have to work any longer than 12 hours to complete our work. Working for 15 + hours a day, day after day adversely affects ones performance and health. I suggest that FEMA work evaluate only 12 hour days so ones performance and health are not affected. Getting off at 10 p.m. and having to be back at work at 7 a.m. is not good policy when done over and over. I've worked at Staging ...more »

Voting

9 votes
10 up votes
1 down votes
Active
(@palbertson)

Simplifying Recovery and Reducing Disaster Costs

InVESTing in Vests

I think that FEMA should invest in vests like those that have been issued at many disasters. These blue vests have the DHS logo and the FEMA name on them so that responders can be recognized when working in an official capacity. (We should have a stockpile before deployment) Benefits: • Vests can be taken off quickly when an employee goes off duty or in a hazardous situation and does not wish to be identified as a ...more »

Voting

7 votes
9 up votes
2 down votes
Active