Thursday, February 19, 2009

C-DROMO: It is time

In the aftermaths of 9/11 and hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Americans mobilized in the form of thousands of volunteers and floods of donated goods. Local officials and government disaster response personnel were overwhelmed with the number of untrained but well-meaning civilians, many of whom had valuable skills to contribute to the efforts. By the time Ike hit, people were discouraged about trying to volunteer after disasters.

A new program is needed to prepare for the next major disaster. Rather than send volunteers away frustrated and unused, we need trained coordinators who can organize unpredictable numbers of volunteers with unknown skills into an orchestrated army acting in support of the professional first responders and other relief organizations.Why not create a sub-agency of FEMA called the Civil Disaster Response Operations Management Organization, with a mostly-volunteer staff trained by experienced disaster response professionals? This organization would function much like the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force that trains volunteers how to organize other volunteers and work with First Responders.

Let's put some serious "walk" behind all the small government "talk" while doing something meaningful!

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