Craig Fugate Head of FEMA

Piggie

Super Moderator
#1
Wow, I am about 5 months out of date. I didn't realize Craig Fugate had been appointed head of FEMA.

http://www.fema.gov/about/bios/wfugate.shtm

I knew Craig when he first started in emergency planning. He had worked for the fire rescue but in 1987, he was appointed to a new office in Alachua County FL that was for emergency management planning. I got to work closely with him as we were trying to set up an early data link for emergency shelters using packet radio. I later used to visit him when I sold 2 way radios. He has been over to my house in Gainesville when we were organizing a core team to get the occupants of shelters to the county then the state.

I lost track of Craig when I quick selling two way radios in the early 90's and moved to Orange Springs. Next thing I knew many years ago I saw he was appointed by the Governor of FL to the State Emergency Management post. I was impressed and glad his skills could be used for the entire state because I have never met a county employee so dedicated to the public.

He knew just how to manipulate the system to get the important and right things done regardless if they funded him.

Anyway I was really impressed he had the state job. He served under Lawton Chiles - D , the Bush - R and now Crist -R. He is very non-partisan.

Then last night I was watching a hearing by the transportation committee on C-SPAN about FEMA. There was nothing on and I just left it on the channel.

The low and behold, they called Craig Fugate to the stand. Holy cow I had to do a quadruple take, his title of Head of FEMA! wow.

We are very lucky to have him heading FEMA. He actually knows emergencies and served Florida through our 2004 and 2005 hurricane season.

He baffled the head of the transportation subcommittee in his usual fashion talking about the biggest threat we face in the country is not a bigger hurricane or earth quake, but an geomagnetic storm. I have been reading and watching others talk about this and the threat is real.

Of course Congress kept bugging him about Katrina and how he would do it, which was good. He finally gave up trying to tell Congress if we don't harden our electrical grid.

Anyway, amazing to actually know someone that is Washington. I guess more proof it's a small world.
 
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O-O

DTVUSA Member
#2
Always be nice to people, you just never know who may grow up to be the head of FEMA some day. ;) hehe Sounds cool, only people I know that are have made something of themselves are a couple of professional athletes, but I'm only 26 right now too.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#3
I was 35 when I met Craig. I hope he doesn't get weighted down by Washington politics.

One of his claims to fame was after one of the 2004/2005 hurricanes when he was director of Emergency Management for Florida, was he sent FEMA home. They were trying to spend the money they had and Craig told them the emergency is over, shoo go home.

I don't know who runs Florida now. But in 91 when Andrew hit South FL, it took over 2 weeks for people in some neighborhoods received any fuel or gas. They had to send in National Guard as people were pointing weapons (upper middle class suburbs) out the window protecting the food or gasoline they had.

In 1991 I guess the media circus wasn't as huge, but Andrew was a mini Katrina.

Craig was still working for Alachua county and city of Gainesville at the time and remember him watching what happened there closely besides manning shelters for folks even as far north as Alachua County.

When the 2004/2005 season hit we had 8 hurricanes he was ready now in the State position. I only heard of a few isolated cases of anyone waiting more than 3 days to be sure they were ok or needed anything.

He didn't let FEMA work on their own. He assigned the sheriff of each country to tell FEMA where to set up relief trucks. Then he had the Sheriff's offices use their cars to go around to neighborhoods to check on people and tell them the location of the FEMA relief trucks.

Both hurricanes that hit me in that onslaught FEMA had me ice before the ice I bought before the storm had melted in my freezer. MRE and cases of water.

To then hear how poorly supplies were distributed and just things handled after Katrina and Rita it was obvious it was Craig's hand guiding FEMA in our state that saved us.

He even cited this to Congress last week that the biggest problem with Katrina was it was done as a chain of command effort. Where when the local system had to fail before the state was involved, then when the state over loaded the fed came in. He said this creates situations where it takes a week to get to a large number of the effected in a huge event or longer. As you see above during our bad times in Florida, he instantly had Feds, State and locals working together.

He was asked about some of the fire stations in LA and MS that could not get FEMA funds to rebuild. He said that was not good as local fire depts are really FEMA's first responders and need to be up and running as soon as possible. The paper work mess that kept them from being funded to rebuild has to be changed.

My point to all of this besides being excited for an old acquaintance is we now have a head of FEMA that actually has experience. After his excellent handling of Florida's experience in the 2004/2005 season I don't know a better person.

This is in comparison to Joe Allbaugh that was appointed in 2001 because he was a campaign manager. Joe Allbaugh hired his friend Michael Brown as his legal counsel, who was later appointed to head FEMA after Allbaugh resigned and Brown was in charge during that now famous Katrina/Rita event.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#4
In 1991 I guess the media circus wasn't as huge, but Andrew was a mini Katrina.
Andrew wasn't a mini anything. It was far worse: Cat 5, versus a strong Cat 3 during Katrina. Homestead might not have been flooded but, unlike NOLA, there was literally nothing left of the city (and much of nearby Miami-Dade) after Andrew flattened it.
<rant>
The main difference these days is that we're a lot whinier when Uncle Sam doesn't come racing to the rescue. Hence the media circus.
</rant>
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#5
Andrew wasn't a mini anything. It was far worse: Cat 5, versus a strong Cat 3 during Katrina. Homestead might not have been flooded but, unlike NOLA, there was literally nothing left of the city (and much of nearby Miami-Dade) after Andrew flattened it.
<rant>
The main difference these days is that we're a lot whinier when Uncle Sam doesn't come racing to the rescue. Hence the media circus.
</rant>
[continued rant]
hence, more access to whining outlets for whiners and media to draw from.
[/continued rant]
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#6
Andrew wasn't a mini anything. It was far worse: Cat 5, versus a strong Cat 3 during Katrina. Homestead might not have been flooded but, unlike NOLA, there was literally nothing left of the city (and much of nearby Miami-Dade) after Andrew flattened it.
<rant>
The main difference these days is that we're a lot whinier when Uncle Sam doesn't come racing to the rescue. Hence the media circus.
</rant>
It was all over the Florida news, not the national.

Andrew was a CAT5, yes, but small in diameter. While Homestead was flattened Ft Lauderdale only had storms. Katrina did damage all down the Mississippi coast and even effected Mobile AL.

Like the two storms that hit me in 2004, Frances and Jeanne, while only Cat 3/4 when hitting the coast affected a very wide area. They came inland around Fort Pierce and exited north of Tampa. The center of either storm was never any closer than about 80 air miles, but it tore up my part of the state because it was so wide. Jeanne came in the same spot and exited about the same except Jeanne hovered just off the coast for a day in the big bend area. The worst damage from Jeanne came during this hovering when it was even farther away.

That same year Charlie came in Ft Myers and exited Daytona Beach. That storm came within 40 miles of me, but it was smaller and had a weak north side. All I got from it was rain.

I read an article done by Dr. Jeff Masters where they were working on a system to categorize hurricanes by their total power. CAT system can be very deceptive. I can attest to that, as those 2 that hit me were only CAT 3 when the affected my area and ripped us new you know whats.

But back to conclusion, the local media in Florida was all over Andrew, play by play and blow by blow.

One interesting story from the night of Andrew. I was watching WFTV Ch9 when it hit. I actually heard a local newscaster say, looks like it's not too bad down there as we are not getting any reports. How dumb can they be? It wiped out even the radar off the National Hurricane Center. There was no communications down there by the time the eye wall came ashore.

More over the point of the thread besides I knew Craig way back when, is we actually have someone in FEMA that is trained and experienced for the first time ever.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#7
Its good to see competent people from Florida that handled 4 hurricanes the year before Katrina without much to do. Im especially glad that the incompetents in Louisiana havent been appointed to shine shoes.

The State Government failed Lousianna. Interestingly enough the rural residents in LA handled the storm pretty well, like the folks in Mississippi cities and rural areas which recieved a direct hit brunt of the storm.

The real reason NO was such a disaster was a bunch of Democrat voters live there, and dont have the kind of real life skills that rural folks have....just government dependents, reproducing like rabbits.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#8
I was 2 miles from the ocean as the crow flies for Hurrican Hugo, in Charleston, minding a commercial building, when the huge Cat 5's eye rolled over Charleston.

That storm had more energy and was larger than Andrew. Andrew just hit a larger heavier density and more developed area, thus caused more financially calcuable damage.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#9
Here is an article on proposed rating system which makes more sense to me. There is much more than wind speed to a hurricane. Katrina had a massive storm surge more likely that of a CAT 5 storm. They tried to warn people it would be in excess of 20 ft (I can't even image seeing that much water) but as it down graded as it approached shore, some figured, ok, it's dying off. Also at one point it filled the Gulf of Mexico and Andrew was barely 100 miles wide.

Time For a New Hurricane Rating System? - Capital Weather Gang

And here is the blog by Dr Masters who to me is one of the most realistic hurricane researchers on the planet. He is also accessible via email as I have emailed him a few times agreeing or not. He likes input.

Wunder Blog : Weather Underground
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#11
Pretty good article on assessing storms. I would ground level of affected areas into it. A 20 ft surge is nothing for a 100 ft cliff facing.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#12
The Weather Underground site is great.

Hurrican Hugos eye hit at 12 midnight about 4 hours after dark. Smack dab on high tide.
I remember well. Any time a Cape Verde storm comes rolling across the intertropical convergence zone Florida is just a slight right turn. So I was watching Hugo and glad it didn't hit me.

You know the old Hurricane creed. Let that storm hit anyone but me, but we will be there after to help.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#13
If we were to have a significant geomagnetic storm, it could make Katrina looks like a small event. Only improving the system to survive the same type of hurricanes we have had is like building your army to win the last war...
 
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