Saturday, August 30, 2008

What do you pack for a deployment?

So I'm leaving for Baton Rouge in a few hours. Surprisingly there's no direct flight from Boston. I'm trying to keep 13 days of stuff into one suitcase as I have two carry-ons. I really have no idea what I'm walking into. I also am not sure of the dress code, so I packed a bunch of slacks and polo shirts. You can never go wrong with those.

My agency asked if we wanted a satellite phone. I said sure, picturing this:

What I got was a bag so large I could use it for human trafficking. It's huge and has an antenna like this:There's no way I'm not getting stopped by the TSA and strip-searched. I wore cologne today to keep my dignity.

A lot of people are asking what I'm going to be doing down there. Well, I'd like to say that Louisiana is putting me on an oil platform and having me yell at the storm so it gets scared and changes course. However, I'll be working in their State Emergency Operations Center as part of the EMAC A-Team. (Insert B.A. Baracus joke here) From the website:

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), established in 1996, has weathered the storm when tested and stands today as the cornerstone of mutual aid. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between member states exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all states share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.

Since being ratified by Congress and signed into law, in 1996, (Public Law 104-321), 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted legislation to become members of EMAC. EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress.

The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure, its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, & regions, and the ability to move just about any resource one state has to assist another state, including medical resources.

EMAC offers the following benefits:

  • EMAC assistance may be more readily available than other resources.
  • EMAC allows for a quick response to disasters using the unique human resources and expertise possessed by member states.
  • EMAC offers state-to-state assistance during Governor declared state of emergencies: EMAC offers a responsive and straightforward system for states to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other states. When resources are overwhelmed, EMAC helps to fill the shortfalls.
  • EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation: Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting state have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding contractual agreement that make affected states responsible for reimbursement. Responding states can rest assured that sending aid will not be a financial or legal burden and personnel sent are protected under workers compensation and liability provisions. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials to be honored across state lines.
  • EMAC provides fast and flexible assistance: EMAC allows states to ask for whatever assistance they need for any type of emergency, from earthquakes to acts of terrorism. EMAC's simple procedures help states dispense with bureaucratic wrangling.
  • EMAC can move resources other compacts can't - like medical resources.

So all of this requires a lot of paperwork and I'm going down there to assist with that. I'm not sure what the internet situation will be down there, but I'll try and provide updates. Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

1 comment:

maikib said...

don't go doing anything heroic (translation: dangerous) or anything. but i know better than that.