FEMA Director Urges Americans to Develop “a true culture of preparedness” But No One Is Listening

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By Daisy Luther

It looks like preppers aren’t that crazy after all. FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, has repeatedly said that Americans do not have a “culture of preparedness,” something that is much-needed with the startling uptick in natural disasters. Long has only been the director of FEMA since June 20 of this year and already has had to deal with a historic number of disasters in this short period of time.

It appears that Mr. Long has a mindset of self-reliance based on a couple of recent statements he has made to the media, but the MSM doesn’t seem too interested in his ideas about fostering a culture of preparedness, despite the practicality and essential nature of his suggestions.

First, in an interview from Sept. 11 that I personally only heard about yesterday, FEMA’s new director, Brock Long, spoke with journalists to discuss the response to Hurricane Irma. In the interview, he said some things that vindicate all of us who have spent time and money working toward being prepared.

“I really think that we have a long way to go to create a true culture of preparedness within our citizenry in America. No American, no citizen, no visitor to this country is immune to disaster. And we have a long way to go to get people to understand the hazards based on where they dwell, where they work, and how to be prepared financially, how to be prepared through insurance, how to have continuity of operations plans for their businesses, so that we can avoid the suffering, the strife, and the loss of life. It’s truly disappointing that people won’t heed the warnings.

Straight out of our favorite prepper handbooks, right?

Of course, the reporter quickly shifted from the actual useful information to start asking about climate change, because for some reason she felt that was far more essential than the practical advice Mr. Long was offering. You can watch the interview below.

Some of those numbers were shocking – FEMA is spending 200 million dollars a day in relief efforts and desperately-needed help has hardly even begun for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

In a more recent statement, Mr. Long re-emphasized the need to be prepared, and to start kids off young with this mindset.

I think that the last 35 days or so have been a gut check for Americans that we do not have a true culture of preparedness in this country. And we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Whether it’s in education and being ready, it’s not just saying, hey, have three days worth of supplies ready to go. It’s greater than that. It’s also people having the finances and the savings to be able to overcome simple emergencies.

We have to hit the reset button and create a true culture of preparedness starting at a very young age and filtering all the way up.

 

We in the preparedness community have been saying this for ages, Mr. Long, but thank you for attempting to put this front and center.

One thing that is different about Long’s approach is the practicality. Many government officials seem to forget about the financial end of emergencies. They can’t seem to wrap their brains around the fact that while they have 200 million dollars a day, most folks do not. This is why financial preparedness is of such massive importance. If you had to live away from home without access to a kitchen, the expenses would rack up pretty quickly. As well, think about how thinly those millions are spread.

FEMA is eventually going to run out of money.


As well, think about how thinly those millions are spread. One person I know who lost her rental home will receive $4000. That has to replace everything she owns: furniture, clothing, personal items, food, cleaning products…you get the idea…plus pay first and last month’s rent for a new apartment. People without flood insurance who lost their homes will be eligible for a maximum of only $21,000. But if their property wasn’t paid for, they’ll still owe the mortgage payments on a place that is uninhabitable.

Don’t forget that FEMA is also providing aid for those displaced by more than 2 million acres of wildfires throughout the Western US. (Although initially, they turned down requests for assistance, they reconsidered.)

When you look at the true cost of disasters on this scale, it’s hard to imagine that FEMA will have enough money should these emergencies continue, or even enough to cover our current tab.

 

There were reports that FEMA had run out of money shortly after Hurricane Harvey, but more appeared for Hurricane Irma.

One article blithely suggested that FEMA can never run out of money because Congress will just vote to give them more when addressing concerns that FEMA was down to its last billion dollars.

 But the U.S. Congress quickly put such worries to rest on Sept. 8, 2017, by hastily passing legislation that gave the DRF an infusion of cash.

“The emergency supplemental appropriation of $7.4 billion allows FEMA to continue to fully focus on the ongoing preparation, response, and recovery needs,” said an agency spokesperson via email.

While legislators may have cut it a bit close, there was little chance that FEMA actually would run out of cash. According to a Congressional Research Service analysis, Congress made 14 supplemental appropriations to the fund between 2004 and 2013, for a total of $89.6 billion. In one year alone — 2005, the year that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other areas in the Gulf Coast — legislators bolstered the fund with three extra appropriations amounting to $43 billion. (source)

This, of course, naively assumes that there will always be more money to give to FEMA. Eventually, we’re going to run out.

Is this the reason for the slow response to Puerto Rico?


Personally, I keep wondering if a lack of money is the reason for our slow response to the desperate situation in Puerto Rico. Add to this the logistical problems, and you have a recipe for chaos.

Another thing to keep in mind about Puerto Rico is that this is one of the rare situations in which stockpile preparedness may not have done any good. While some folks like to say that Puerto Ricans shouldn’t be out of food within 6 days after the disaster, what they aren’t considering is the totality of the destruction.

A man reacts as he walks through a debris-covered road in Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

photo credit

What food people may have had stored was destroyed when homes were turned into piles of rubble. Other food spoiled soon after the power for the entire island was taken out. If you look at these photos, you will understand why few people have food.

I imagine in such a situation, my own carefully preserved jars of food would have been smashed to bits and my freeze-dried food would have been soaked in flood waters. In most situations, your stockpile will see you through, but in a disaster of this magnitude, even the most well-prepared person could be left with nothing.

Maybe money is why the director is urging a culture of preparedness


Perhaps this reality is why Mr. Long is so adamant that Americans need to get prepared to take care of themselves and that we need to raise our children to understand this too. That’s not the warm fuzzy thing that people who refuse to prepare want to hear, so the mainstream media gives his advice little attention. If you are interested in being better prepared, be sure to sign up for this daily newsletter.

A culture of preparedness is indeed the answer, and preppers have known this for a very long time.

(Hat tip to GF)

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. Hurricane Harvey didn’t directly effect us. But the influx of people evacuating took all our fuel, bread, milk, water, ect. That being said most people in my area weren’t thinking we would have any shortages.

  2. Stockpiling supplies in a shelter that is easily compromised is not good. After Air, Shelter is the most important prep then water and food. Lumber framed homes are not sufficient shelter against storms of this magnitude. Having a safe room or storm shelter large enough to store your supplies and yourself during a disruptive event is one of the most important preps you should have. Yet most people will not spend the money on a storm shelter since these storms don’t come very often. Dual purpose is the key, build a storm shelter and use it as a root cellar until needed as an emergency shelter.

    Finally, Government dismantled the Civil Defense program, abandoned the shelters, and told us you only need a 72 hour kit until we will rescue you. Government policy builds dependency to its services. This is what FEMA must stop doing if they want to create a culture of being prepared. They must tell the public about higher levels of preparedness for disruptive events lasting longer than 72 hours:

    Level 1: 3 days
    Level 2: 3 weeks
    Level 3: 3 months
    Level 4: 1 year
    Level 5: 2+ years

    This is what is needed to be prepared.

    1. Good post, Steve. Also, let’s not forget how little effort it takes to prepare – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that a storm is coming, so prepare by buying canned and dry goods ahead of time, then store them in a safe location AWAY from where the storm will hit. Why is that so hard to comprehend? Not everyone lives on an island like Puerto Rico. Folks in the U.S. should know better by now. Many simply throw caution to the wind, and enjoy depending on “someone else” to save them. It’s difficult to feel sorry for those who consciously choose not to prepare. Does someone really have to “tell” me to store my goods away from where the storm will hit? Or do I have enough common sense to do it myself, w/o being told? Just saying.

  3. Saw an article on weather.com this morning, regarding Puerto Rico. Said they had 11 large ships in port that were finally going to be able to unload relief supplies. Only problem will be distributing them, since many roads are unusable or no longer even exist. They have finally been able to reopen a couple major airports.
    One thing that really struck me was when they were talking about the relief supplies on those 11 ships, where it had said there was some amount of tonnage of food supplies – ENOUGH FOR A FEW MEALS FOR EVERYONE ON THE ISLAND NATION. “A few meals?” That is it. They did say many more ships and planes were on their way, claiming the delay had been the ports and airports were so damaged it was impossible to get supplies in.
    It said of the 69, I believe, hospitals in Puerto Rico, only 11 were usable. It said that it was hard to even sleep, as the temps, which in the upper 80s and lower 90s, seem normal, the humidity is such that the heat index has been in excess of 100 every day. People are trying to sleep outdoors, on their roof if they can, because it is too hard to sleep in that heat.
    I believe one FEMA individual said that they hope to restore up to 90% of the power in the US Virgin Islands by CHRISTMAS. That is three months without power!!
    I have a facebook friend who tried to make one of those facebook live broadcasts and it was immediately knocked out. The article said not only was all power out, or most power out, but that most underground phone, cable and internet lines are also out, and it was next to impossible for people there to contact people on the outside, and for people mainland to contact friends and family on the island. Many people still do not know the status of family members there. Supreme Court Justice Sotemayer (sp?) mentioned the other day that she and her family had been unable to contact the half of their family who still live in Puerto Rico. Believe me, if she can’t contact her family, no one can.
    Oh, one more comment. Shows how elections have consequences. The prior admin wanted as many people as possible to be dependent on the govt for everything and the current admin wants people to better control their own lives. This new FEMA director reflects the latter position.

  4. Right! After Harvey (I’m in Texas), Brock Long was on TV, and I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home so I could tell him what an intelligent thing Brock had said about preparedness. Finally, someone in government gets it.

    US cities need to be thinking about receiving an influx of refugees from the Caribbean. There are several million people who have nothing. There are no resources left, or not enough. What are they going to do? Cut down every tree in the next few months to cook their food or boil water? “They” keep saying that there is no water, food, or electricity. All you have to do is look at the pictures to know the place is uninhabitable. As soon as the epidemics and rodent population explode, people will leave to relocate and rebuild their lives.

    I feel so badly for them.

  5. All very valid comments here…And Elizabeth raises a very valid point, where do these refugees go…and what is being done to prepare for them? I doubt FEMA has thought that out….

  6. As I mentioned so many many times during my internet broadcast “The Barometer Bob Show”, we, all of us, need to be prepared for a minimum of a week, 7 days, minimum.
    But we, and I mean all of us again, take the thought of preparedness as a secondary or even thirdly thought because “It never happens where I live” syndrome.
    The U.S. government, as much as we would like to think that they will come swooping in on their chariots to save the day isn’t as practical as we could hope for. These past three hurricanes have shown that.
    We need a more comprehensive approach to getting this country and it’s citizens prepared for a catastrophic event.
    What if Kim Jung of North Korea did launch a EMP attack on this country? Millions of Americans would eventually die from lack of food and water. We wouldn’t have to worry about shelter being a EMP attack doesn’t destroy buildings, it destroys infrastructure. Our power grids, meaning no electricity, damages computers, such as in cars, it damages transformers, anything that is connected and runs off of electricity would be damaged.
    We need to start teaching preparedness to every young adult that is about to take that giant step towards self sufficiency. We need to start teaching in the high schools now before it’s too late.
    We need to create a true Disaster Ready Nation.
    Teaching your children by example how to be prepared is probably the most important thing any parent could do.
    It could save your life, your family’s lives and maybe friends and neighbors would follow you.
    It could save millions of lives!!!
    Always Be Aware and Always Be Prepared to survive for at the least 7 days or more without any outside assistance.
    Hopefully after 7 days the chariots of the federal government will be swooping in to save yours and my lives.
    Be Aware and Be Prepared This Hurricane Season and for other Disasters of the Unknown!

  7. Sadly,t hose of us that DO prepare for bad times and emergencies are asked if we have our tin foil hats on straight. Until the culture of making fun of preppers changes don’t expect many more people to become prepared no matter what FEMA says.
    Preppers are looked on as paranoid fruitcakes even after these disasters. This comes from the “can’t happen here” crowd. Don’t look for things to change.

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