Perhaps FEMA should advocate preparedness for a fortnight?

I was listing to the BBC this morning and they where discussing the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  The thought came to me that perhaps FEMA should advocate preparedness for 14 days or more.

Currently they just say you need 3 days of supplies.

What do my fellows think?

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I live in walking distance of a store so I am set. I also feel much better now that Bush is no longer President because under his leadership surviving something like a hurricane would be terrible.

When the problem is overreliance on FEMA, maybe more FEMA declarations aren't the answer.  "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."


I agree with the your sentiment about over reliance on the government.  However it is an honest question do we need to stock pile 14 days or should it be more?

I guess the better question is when do we expect to be able to return to our lives after a disaster.

You didn't ask about preparedness.  You asked about FEMA advocacy about preparedness.  My point was those are two very different questions, and conflating the two doesn't help matters.  People look to FEMA to rescue them rather than preparing.  Making FEMA out to be some authority on the matter will make things worse, not better.


If a storm is headed your way, you should be prepared to be without power for at least a couple of weeks ... and expect no help from FEMA or the Red Cross or anyone else.  People need to learn to think for themselves, not to wait around for the government to tell them what to do.



I agree with you completely.  I'm surprised that FEMA doe not make that more clear.  I was surprised the recommended preparedness level was just 3 days. 

We can live for more than 2 weeks without food. If you have enough water for 3 days you can ration it and stretch it out as much as possible. You can also recycle urine and other things through evaporation. If you have the ability to boil and or treat water you can usually find a source or use that to help with the recycling. I just don't see a need to have 14 days of supplies available. If you are prepared for 3 and you have a plan and some knowledge you can stretch that for a longer period of time if needed. The three days simply allows you time to think and assess the situation without panicking and have a clear head while deciding on what to do next.

I think we are pretty much on the same page. I don't think you need a separate cache to sustain yourself for 14 days in addition to what one has in their house.

You can talk all you want but I doubt you will get through to them. Those are the slow members of the herd and are meant to be picked off.

I belong to a group that assists the Red Cross behind the scenes - so I can share a little bit with you about FEMA. FEMA requires every major metropolitan area to have a disaster plan whether it's a threat of tornatdos, earthquake or hurricane. When disaster happens, they are supposed to follow it and MOST cities DO!
Paul_of_TX? A bit of insider information. New Orleans had a disater plan. The Democrat mayor and the Democrat governor chose to ignore the disaster plan, figuring to manage the disaster on their own judgment. FEMA is NOT allowed to come in to assist until asked to do by then Governor Kathleen Blanco.
Furthermore, there werre several Wal-Mart tractor trailer rigs loaded with cots, blankets, water, etc., sitting on Interstate 10 near Pinehurst Texas requesting permission to come to the Superdome. Governor Blanco said "No! We need to get those people out of there and if you come in, they'll want to stay..." And that's not hearsay. The people in our command center were listening to a live phone call to the governor. That call of course was never released to the media. In the fallout afterwards, their only recourse was to demonize a Republican president and FEMA. My point is - a disaster of the size of 'Katrina' or 'Sandy' should never be politicized, even though it often is.
So how about New York? After a major disaster, the metro area will usually sit down and review their disaster plan. After the hurricane hit New York last year, very little if anything was changed because they weathered that storm quite well. Rest assured, when they begin reviewing the aftermath of Sandy, some major changes are likely to be made to the plan. Will it be 14 days of supplies instead of three? Who knows? It's their plan.
Sorry to go so long. But I wanted to share what I know.

After reading the replies, I had to go back and re-read the OP. The question on the table is, should FEMA be advocating individual preparedness for 14 days instead of three? It's got nothing to do with the politics of FEMA, any specific agency's response to any specific disaster, or who's political candidate is better prepared to hypothetically respond to a hypothetical disaster and then be Monday-morning-quarterbacked to death.

In answer to the question, my opinion that three days of supplies for any individual family would be the absolute minimum for your "average" incident - heavy snow, 50-year rain event, peak summer power outage. Most of the food distribution systems in America are "just in time", meaning that the supermarkets rarely keep more than a two to three day supply of food on their shelves for the size of the community they serve. I personally think 14 days are not enough - I have at least a month of food and medication at any given time. There may be a few meals of beans and rice, but we won't go hungry!

It may not be practicle for, say, an apartment dweller in a large city to keep that kind of supplies on hand, so it comes down to awareness - prepare for a "small" incident, and prepare to evacuate for a large one. If you live in an area prone to hurricanes (read East Coast) make plans ahead of time with Aunt Mabel in Oklahoma to come visit for a few days if the weather turns bad. Hopefully you'll never need to use any of the plans or supplies you've prepared, but if you do you'll be happy to have them.

What FEMA does do really well is drum "3 days" into everything.  The ARC says the same thing.  My employer's emergency preparedness booklet specifies that three days is the minimum amount of stuff to have on hand.  They also recommend a "small" emergency supply kit be kept in the office and the vehicle.


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