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Disaster Generalists

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  • #16
    I would haeve agreed about that last statement the first or second day, but not on the whole week. Yes there were parts of it that were boring, dull, or didn't need to be covered, but it was an informative class. The best part was that we went over how to operate in the roll of CR, IA, and debris removal, which i personnally only did CR in the field and it helps alot to know alittle about everything. Also they had alot of paper material that wil definitely help us in the field performing our tasks. Another helpful part was the last day when we sat down and had about a 2 hour lecture and hands on with travel vouchers and how to complete them the correct way. Also I know that personally I met a bunch of good guys and some not so good civi's.

    For those of you who were down, alot of the DAEs hired do not like the firefighterrs because we were placed in command positions. Most thought that we were placed on a higher pedestal because of our training and experience, but that isn't a good reason for anything. But that is going to be an entirely different issue when we are deployed again.

    On a whole the week was OK, most of the people in my class are all on the same page as me. The Instructor were pretty decent as well, they tried their best to make the class as fun as possible.


    • #17
      Disaster Generalists

      Just a few comments.

      First of all the Katrina/Rita/Wilma disasters were unprecedented in the time span that they occurred in. Like myself, I think most who responded would say that CNN, Fox, and other sources could not portray the magnitude and scope of these disasters. It is something I will never forget, simply for the enormity and size. And yes, it is my opinion that the ball was dropped by local officials in Louisiana, planning and initial response is a LOCAL responsibility. I thought Florida SERT did a good job, the problem was people refusing to listen to the warnings and advice they were being given.

      Was you class the one with maybe 20-23 people in it? This weeks was scheduled to have 13. Many people have opted to not take the training, and some can't make it with the late notice. Some just decided on FEMA experience was enough.

      The dislike for the firefighters was from a variety of reasons. (May I add that the firefighters were also VERY liked and appreciated by some of the DAE's, there were no problems in some areas and things went well). First of all some were being paid more then the regular DAE's, it caused alot of problems, especially in Florida, something FEMA should have looked at. Experienced DAE's did not always deal with change well, nor having to work with non-DAE's whom they didn't know or didn't like. Their problem. DAE's didn't always behave the best, and neither did some of the firefighters, it seemed to be more of an issue with the firefighters. FEMA would have done themselves a big favor but just sending people home when they were out of line instead of placing them in another area. It is not that FEMA doesn't like firefighters, but some FF's couldn't understand that they were not working for the FF but were working for FEMA. Some got very upset when they finally prohibited the wearing of FF shirts or hats while on duty, and demanded FEMA shirts be worn. This changed over the course of the disaster, they were encouraging fire shirts at the beginning, but later on some of the FF's just didn't get it as to who they were working for. Many DAE's were just upset or unable to deal with change and the fact that "this isn't how we've done things". Again, their problem. FEMA operated many years on sending a few DAE's to disaster areas to collect information, tape up flyers, and assess the needs. This was a very big change due to the scope of things.

      One big problem is that many of the FEMA instructors have NEVER worked a disaster as a DAE, been in a DRC, slept in a tent, or has even dealt with a disaster victim. Some have, I believe all instructors should have some "in the field" experience. I wouldn't want to be taught interior fire attack by somebody who has never been in an interior fire or has experienced it. On the other hand there are some darn good instructors in FEMA training.

      Right now the Disaster Generalist numbers are coming up a little short. This is of course that the FEMA system favors people who can mobilize at the drop of a pin. In other words people who have an extremely tolerant or no family, people who can get off work and leave on a moments notice, and people who can live on an inconsistent revenue stream from income. In other words a great situation for retirees, the self-employed, people on a pension, or people with alot of money that don't need steady work. People complain about DAE's being old, but really who else can do this work with the current system?

      To close it is my understanding that Disaster Generalists could be on the bottom of the food chain for deployment, or be called out for megadisasters like last year and when they are out of DAE's to deploy. I think many have realized that many firefighters were demobilized in Jan. and after, and none have been called back. All call-outs have been DAE's. DAE's will continue to be called out on the smaller stuff such as Missouri, California, etc. right now. DAE's will still be DAE's, disaster generalists are the "new breed", and eventually as DAE's do permanently retire, disaster generalists will be the future. At some point in time I would also expect changes in the system, and a strong look at privatization. (right or wrong?). I'd really like to see MABAS, EMAC, and other organizations work on a better system for rescue responses. I know many firefighting crews who went down to Louisiana with rigs and did absolutely nothing for two weeks. While some just went on their own, organizations or systems besides FEMA need improvement.

      You did a nice training synopsis, I think you created a clear picture. Fact is, being a FEMA on-call employee is not for everybody.
      Last edited by StillLearning; 04-24-2006, 03:22 PM.


      • #18
        Class Update

        I just got off the phone with FEMA. Like many of you, I recieve this letter and am told about a training class that is to take place in 2 weeks. Well that didnt work for me, so of course I called and here is what I was told.

        May 22 to 26 in Pennsylvania and Missouri
        May 29 to June 2 in Arizona
        June 5 to 9 in Massachusetts
        June 12 to 16 in Oklahoma
        July 3 to 7 in Maryland

        So with this info there is a choice as to when it can be done. I will say it was faster to call the 866-709-2328 then email. I am still waiting for the reply in email form that I just typed.

        Hope this helps


        • #19
          Generalist Training

          Ok, I don't see the complaining about the lack of timing for the training. I got the information a few weeks ago for the July training at the academy. I called last week to find out more and set things up. I was given several options as they are trying to get people in before June 1 and was even given several states to choose from. Plenty of time to get things done and plenty of time to prepare.


          • #20
            I was given 7 days notice, and I attended the training at Noble Training Center Ft. McClelland Alabama. It was very similar training to what we got in Atlanta last year, but there was more info given on the Public Assistance and Debris Monitoring sections. All in all, the only thing that I found to be a positive was that the "generalist" are taken out of regional cadre and placed under a new cadre in HQ, which means we can go nationwide.

            As for these people having problems with their jobs, as long as you give them 72 hours notice, which is all required by law, they can NOT reprimand, or even fire you. It is a federal deployment! Carries the same weight as being called up by the Reserves or National Guard.


            • #21
              Originally posted by sclw2004
              As for these people having problems with their jobs, as long as you give them 72 hours notice, which is all required by law, they can NOT reprimand, or even fire you. It is a federal deployment! Carries the same weight as being called up by the Reserves or National Guard.
              Don't take this as my doubting you, but where did you get this? Was this from FEMA? If its the case I lost alot of good people in Louisiana who were getting threatened with job loss if they didn't come home.

              Some of the generalist classes were down to 8-10 people this week in several states, the anticipated numbers are not being generated according to the latest report I read.


              • #22
                Actually, the FEMA deployment does not carry the same weight as a National Guard deployment. Your employer can indeed fire you. We confirmed this through the higher-ups when a lot of us in Mississippi had to face a tough decision.

                DMAT and USAR deployments are indeed protected, however. I'm not sure what the difference is, but that's the way it is.

                I was actually pleased with the Generalist class. Yes, it was the same old stuff that we did in Atlanta, and then Orlando.... but hey, training is training. I spent 7months in Biloxi and I can't tell you how good of an experience it was. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm under the impression that any further deployments will be the same enriching experience, and I'm rearing to go.

                Anyone else here do the Mississippi MHOPS thing?


                • #23
                  New here

                  Ok guys, up front, this is the first time I have heard of this title or job..so im behind...I am a FF/medic, and since Katrina, I have been self employed doing contract EMS work.
                  I have been all over South LA since Septmeber, and I am still contracted in Plaquemine parish today.

                  If someone has some time, could you reply or drop me a line at [email protected]
                  I am interested in learning more about this position with FEMA, and if there is an opportunities for me.

                  Thank in advance,

                  Last edited by bigJ164019; 08-25-2006, 11:13 AM. Reason: New email addy
                  Jeremy (bigj164019) - FireFighter-I/Paramedic
                  Fraternal Order of Paramedics Society
                  Member Firehouse.com I.A.C.O.J. EMS Bureau

                  "Live for today, because yesterdays are over, and tomorrows may never come"!


                  • #24
                    went to maryalnd generalist training also did you ever receive your new fema id?


                    • #25
                      stilllearning you make 24.00 to sit in class plus you make pier diem and you can keep all the rewards point hmm i say pretty good pay oh i forgot plus travel pay. and you get to help people understand of those goverenment forms.


                      • #26
                        I went to disaster generalist training in the month of April. I never recieved a FEMA ID. They stated at the next deployment we would get them.


                        • #27
                          fema id

                          went to maryland we all had to fill out new background check paperwork plus they even got security to come out and took everyones fingerprint using the new computer system and photos. and told us they would send ids to us.

                          now couple of the guys call about them and they lost or missed place
                          fingerprints and photos.

                          i called they dont know what to do , i guess apparently out of 240 only 6 got the new ids. something about paperwork was not filled out properly.

                          hmm new fema


                          • #28
                            fema background checks

                            guess what fema sending out all new background and other great forms that has to be filled out and sent back in including fingerprints.

                            if you get them or havent call workforce 1-866-709-2328 ask them what you have to do or which ones you have to complete once again.


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