"Obama's An Idiot" is where my political bitches now live. Go ye thereto and read.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

What Am I Missing Here?

A story from the totally unbiased, totally non-partisan news source (puke) in it's entirety:
ATLANTA - Hundreds of firefighters who volunteered to help rescue victims of Hurricane Katrina have instead been playing cards, taking classes on FEMA's history and lounging at an Atlanta airport hotel for days while they await orders.

"On the news every night you hear (hurricane victims say), `How come everybody forgot us?'" said Joseph Manning, a firefighter from Washington, Pa. "We didn't forget. We're stuck in Atlanta drinking beer."

As of Tuesday, some of the firefighters, like Thomas Blomgren of Battle Creek, Mich., had waited at the hotel for four days. Now he and a colleague have been told they may be sent to a hurricane relief camp in South Carolina to do paperwork rather than help the devastated Gulf Coast.

"FEMA hired the best of the best firefighters, got them together and gave them secretary jobs," Blomgren said.

He and colleague Steven Richardson said they followed FEMA's advice and brought huge packs filled with special firefighting suits, sleeping bags and lifesaving equipment to survive in harsh conditions for as long as a month. "But we'd be better off bringing pencils and cell phones," Blomgren grumbled.

Tony Russell, the Federal Emergency Management Agency official in charge of the firefighters, said he is trying to get them deployed as fast as he can but wants to make certain they are sent where the need is greatest.

When FEMA called for 2,000 firefighters from across the country, it made it clear the mission was one of community service and outreach — not firefighting, Russell said. The firefighters are paid by FEMA for their time.

"People are in need," Russell said. "Sometimes you just need to mop the floor if that's what's best for the victims."

Desk work may be the first priority for some firefighters for now, but the mission's needs could rapidly change, Russell said. Those who are upset, he said, are free to go. "This is not a draft," he said.

Russell said it takes at least two days to process and train the volunteers, who continue to arrive each day in Atlanta for FEMA training. Some 500 firefighters have been sent to needy areas and hundreds more await their marching orders, he said.

In the meantime, the firefighters — some from as far away as Washington state — have received vaccines and specialized training, including classes on sexual harassment, the history of FEMA and how to deal with ethnic groups.

Throughout the hotel, burly firefighters in navy blue shirts loafed on couches Tuesday. A few sat outside in the gentle August breeze, enjoying boxed meals.

Kelly Wayne Sisson, a firefighter from La Mesa, Calif., lounged with a candy bar in hand on the floor of the hotel lobby.

"It's been frustrating because we've been here for a couple of days," he said. "But FEMA's a big machine. We'll get sent out when the time is right."
Now since this story is from the AP, I don't really know how must of a slant they've already thrown in. But is it is in fact true, maybe someone in the know (cough Greg cough) can enlighten as to why these professionals, who have most likely already had years of job training, have to sit through sexual harassment and ethnic training when they could be doing the job they were asked to do?

If these were beginners starting a career, I could understand how they could need some of that shit. But right now, this is an emergency situation. Get their asses ANYWHERE they're needed. You can move them later if you need to. Don't sit around and decide 'where they're needed most', and don't fuck around trying to get them all PC'd* up before they go trying to help people.

I know, I'm another armchair cotastrophe director, but when all we get is a liberal slant on the news, we start to wonder.

*PC'd. You know. Politically Correct'ed!


shoes said...

i know the pittsburgh post gazette reported on thursday that the reserves we sent down south have been sitting in a barracks all week and that they are getting bored.

curmudgeon said...

What a waste.