What is FEMA?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the top organization in the US dealing with emergency management and disaster recovery.  For those who want to achieve a FEMA certification, it will provide leadership opportunities from the national level of disaster recovery, response, and preparation.

FEMA’s mission is “helping people before, during, and after disasters.” FEMA employs over 20,000 people nationwide. Their Headquarters are in Washington, D.C. However, they have 10 regional offices located throughout the country. To prepare for and respond quickly to disasters, FEMA coordinates within the government to better equip local and state officials.  The agency also brings together the nation, to help build, sustain, and improve the lives of the American people.

Created by President Jimmy Carter, FEMA has been assisting the American people since 1979. Yet, their roots share a story of gaining the strength to overcome obstacles while facing unpredictable and devastating disasters. After its beginnings, President Carter allocated a “dual mission of emergency management and civil defense.” During the Spring of 2003, FEMA became part of the Department of Homeland Security. With the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA’s role is to “plan, prepare and mitigate” before, during, and after natural and manmade disasters. This also includes any acts of terrorism.

FEMS’s Three Overarching Goals

As the agency grows, so must its priorities in helping people in need. Below are the three goals they strive to achieve.

  • Build a Culture of Preparedness

Whether to help individuals or the government, the agency must work to encourage and empower, in hopes to prepare for future disasters that impact society.

  • Ready the Nation for Catastrophic Disasters

The agency comes together with partners at every level of government. Their goal is to offer new sources of help and quickly meet the needs of incidents that can be overbearing.

  • Reduce the Complexity of FEMA

The agency works to become responsible stewards and provide resources to administer to society. They also “leverage data to drive decision-making and reduce the administrative and bureaucratic burdens”  impeding individuals and communities that really need assistance.

What is a FEMA Emergency?

FEMA emergency coordinates aid to individuals in need and responds to disasters throughout the country when local resources are insufficient. The agency calls for help from a wide range of resources. These may include public and nonprofit organizations, businesses, volunteers, or anyone willing to lend a hand when a disaster strikes. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard is one of the first responders on the scene when the event is related to natural disasters on the water. During major disasters there are about 50,000 active members on hand, helping to restore the damages done and provide assistance to the people affected.

The Organizational Structure of FEMA: what it is made up of

As mentioned earlier, FEMA has 10 regional offices, spread out over the US. However, each office serves a certain service to society and the American people. Here is a short definition of what each office does.

  • Office of Response and Recovery-  In charge of coordinating efforts to find and deliver support to individuals and government organizations, and to protect and recover property from hazards.
  • Mission Support Bureau- Mission to improve services to all internal and external customers. Six offices are part of this bureau. These are their titles. The Office of the Chief Security Officer; Office of the Chief Procurement Officer; The Office of the Chief Information Officer; Office of the Chief Component Human Capital Officer; Office of the Chief Administrative Officer; and Enterprise Business Unit
  • Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA) – Oversees the National Flood Insurance Program. Designed to reduce losses to homes, buildings, or facilities in critical shape due to natural disasters.
  • Protection and Natural Preparedness – This office is responsible for coordinating all activities related to preparedness and protection.  These may include grants, community preparedness, training, and planning.
  • United States Fire Administration – Offering leadership to fire and emergency services stakeholders.

FEMA Donating efforts

According to their website, the fastest, most flexible, and most effective way to donate to FEMA is through financial contributions to specific disaster relief organizations. Contacting your local or state emergency officials will be a great start. They can also gear you to any disaster relief organization that needs the most funding at a given time. Your state’s website may also provide the financial information of a particular group or organization that can benefit from individual or private funding.

Timing is everything, however. Do not wait until a disaster strives already. Yet, do not provide funding too early. For example, if a person decides to donate before there is no evidence of an impending impact, the money may be distributed to a different need or source of action. Specify all donations properly and in a specific timeframe.