October HOC Meeting: Why FEMA Isn't an Initialism

A well‐documented phenomenon frequently occurs during a disaster or emergency, people will “spontaneously” volunteer to help and just show up at the incident (hot zone). Response and relief agencies will often find themselves overwhelmed by the  amount of physical donations and number of volunteers coming into their areas of operations.

As secular humanists, and similarly-minded individuals we work to balance our “think before you leap” rationality with our “reactive, emotional” social animal aspects. This presentation highlights the problems caused during a disaster or emergency when people “spontaneously” react, fueled by the “want to help” social need and haven’t thought through the “how”. The purpose of the presentation is to bring awareness and insight into those who may find themselves saying, “But, I want to help!’ and provide some basic guidance on how they can help during a disaster or emergency and not create “A Disaster Within a Disaster”

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Venue Instructions: Parking is available on the side of the building, on the street, in the lot across the alley, and in the lot across 31st street. Please do not park directly behind the building, under the stairway to the upstairs apartments.

Potluck dinner at 6 pm. Program at 7 pm. Potluck instructions are based upon the first letter of the last name. Please do not bring drinks for the potluck. Drinks will be available as concessions, so bring a few extra dollars for some soda or coffee.

A-B) Side Dish, Bread or Chips
C-D) Dessert
E-J) Main Dish
K-R) Main Dish
S-Z) Side Dish or Salad

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  • Orson

    The private sector is much more de-centralized than any outfit from Washington, DC. They are closer to the ground, closer to the people, and - from charitable institutions to profit making ones - more focused upon people's actual needs. Before and after disasters.

    The interested might consult a book I edited for an American historian relevant to the topic. "From Mutual Aid to The Welfare State: Fraternal Societies and Social Services,[masked]," by David T. Beito.

    His central topic is not disasters as such, but rather life-cycle needs like medical services, health insurance and unemployment relief, and death provisions. His central finding is that protracted crisis of the Great Depression during the 1930s killed an enormous private, voluntary tradition of relief services in the US.

    October 13, 2013

    • Orson

      As Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted, yes, we [the Federal Reserve central bank] did it [ie, prolonged a recession into the Great Depression]....Another fine mess of great social destruction wrought by well-intentioned central planners.

      October 13, 2013

  • Orson

    FEMA is a federal bureaucracy that has been slow to learn from private industry's measures and their own disaster and recovery plans, like Wal-Mart's and McDonald's.

    But learn they have. Take for instance the half-million hits the "Waffle House index" gets in a google search. FEMA acknowledged the private sectors smarts at doing what they only hope to achieve by 2011 - SO SLOW! - according to this wikipedia entry on the index http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waffle_House_Index

    Well, better late than never!

    October 13, 2013

  • Jeff F.

    Another fine discussion I must forego. It did stop raining there, right? Hope all of the group stayed safe from the recent flooding/storms. I confess... It was my fault! Jeff/Noah in Leawood, KS

    October 9, 2013

  • Ani A.

    Interesting and timely topic!

    September 28, 2013

  • Jan E

    I would like to attend to hear about the psychological effect of responding to disaster. This is on a Sunday and I have to be at work very early so I cannot attend. In time of disaster, it should not matter if you are a believer or non-believer, but sometimes this gets in the way.

    September 26, 2013

  • Josh

    Wish I could make this one. FEMA is not our friend and they fail everytime. Unfortunately the government monopoly on violence, force and being able to take care of your family has intintionally squashed enough social/cultural self-sufficency efforts that they can now criminalize it. So we are at the mercy of their whimsical beuracracy. This is the last thing that should be entirely "specialized".

    September 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward to getting involved.

    September 23, 2013

  • Gunda

    Great program idea!

    September 23, 2013

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