By Alden L. Benton
President Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have dropped the ball — again.
According to Politico, “When President Barack Obama urged Americans under siege from Hurricane Sandy to stay inside and keep watch on ready.gov for the latest, he left out something pretty important — where to turn if the electricity goes out.”
To quote Homer Simpson, “Doh!”
According to Fox News, more than 8.2 million people in the eastern United States are without power. Yet, the president and the fools at FEMA, the ones who brought you the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans, want you to check their websites and watch the television for news and information.
Good luck with that when there is no power and the wireless infrastructure is inoperable.
Can you say clueless? I knew you could.
The Politico article continues stating,
None of the major cable or local news channels put emergency phone numbers or key radio station frequencies on their screens. The only phone-related instructions on the homepage of ready.gov is how to get monthly disaster-prep text messages. The Federal Emergency Management Agency told the public via Twitter to use texts and social media outlets to stay informed.
While the internet and social media are great tools for quickly finding and sharing information, they are not reliable tools to use during natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes. The more complex the technology, the more prone it is to failure.
“That’s a problem,” said Matt Thome, spokesman for the Safe America Foundation, a non-profit disaster preparedness advocacy organization based in Marietta, Georgia. “As we get farther away from a time when people aren’t relying on Smartphones to do everything for them, people are going to lose focus that not everyone’s going to connect to the Internet. What happens when it goes down? That basic level of preparedness has been lost.” (from Politico)
The bottom line is simple: be prepared and don’t rely solely on high-tech devices and systems like the internet.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) spokesman Dennis Wharton told Politico that local TV stations were doing impressive work informing the public and reminding them to keep battery-operated radios or TVs on hand.
“In the event of a power outage, it’s probably more important for us to have highlighted having access to battery-operated broadcast stations than to direct viewers and listeners to a specific station,” Wharton said.
Being prepared and not being dependent on a single technology like the internet are important lessons to take away from the assault on the east by Hurricane Sandy. However, there are other lessons to be learned as well.
First, FEMA is a gargantuan federal agency that has repeatedly failed in its mission to “manage” emergencies and their aftermath. Secondly, the president and the FEMA management are clueless and incompetent.
A natural disaster has consequences far more serious than possible political fallout. This time the actions, or inaction, of an incompetent president could cause, or prolong great harm and suffering — even death.
When millions of people are affected, the president will not be able to evade the issue or shift blame for his failures like he has done with the Fast and Furious scandal (one American murdered) or the attack on the Benghazi, Libya, consulate (four Americans murdered). Executive privilege or “the dog ate my homework” excuses won’t protect him, nor can the media.
Hurricane Sandy has claimed at least 39 people and the damage is expected to exceed $20 billion, according to Fox News. This storm has showed us how incompetent and ineffective the president and the federal bureaucracy is in helping the people they are sworn to protect.
Hurricane Sandy provides ample evidence of the need for competency and efficiency in government.
In President Obama and FEMA, we have neither.
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