Friday, October 14


Do-ers scorn FEMA do-nothings:

Needless to say, Adams and his team of experienced professional firefighters eventually got to work. Their first stop was the emergency management operations center in Forrest County. The director of the center, a veteran of many hurricanes, had a suggestion. Ditch the FEMA shirts. "I think his direct quote was, ‘I don’t have the security personnel available for eight people walking around in this county in FEMA shirts,’ " Adams recalls. "He was serious. We took him at his word."

The people of the county were dying for FEMA support, Adams says, and there was much animosity toward the federal department. Making it worse was the fact that the firefighters sent out on behalf of FEMA had no information to offer about disaster relief. They were given fliers with phone numbers to call in a county in which working phones were scarce.

"We were there purely for show," he says.

After a second day of not accomplishing much - they checked in at a shelter as requested and passed out a few fliers - the firefighters from Charlotte decided to speak up. They had been separated from two of their fellow firefighters, who ended up going out on their own, and with other emergency workers helped set up a makeshift disaster relief center in Pearlington, Miss. They sent their team leader to talk to the FEMA folks at the camp.

She came back with the news they had been fired.

"We were relieved of duty for refusing to wear our blue FEMA shirts," Adams says.
"Firefighters in this nation have an unspoken bond with the people that need us," Adams says.

"If you call, we will come as fast as we can to help make your problem better. FEMA needs to adopt this doctrine."


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