There was a small crew of men walking along the edge of the road this afternoon. They were carrying large canvas bags slung over one shoulder and a long pole to spear trash from the side of the road. As I passed the men walking, I noticed a large truck parked on the side up ahead. There was a man standing on the rear bumper and he had a shotgun or a rifle in his arms. That startled me. I don’t usually see anyone with a gun around here. Obviously, he was guarding prisoners on a work detail. That was the first I’d seen such a thing around here. It was a little disturbing to know that a dozen convicts are walking down my street and just one man was assigned to shoot anyone trying to run off. But at least the trash got picked up – no one else around here seems to care about it.
The terror attacks of 9/11 were responsible for a major shift in how Americans looked at emergencies. Though the terror attacks were a manmade emergency, the shift in focus also applied to other emergencies, such as natural disasters. The result has been increased emergency preparedness and response agencies and employees, as well as increased planning in how to handle emergencies when they arise. Following are eight organizations in the US designed to handle emergency preparedness and response.
- FEMA- The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal government’s primary agency designed to respond to emergencies. FEMA takes the lead in responding with personnel and with funds whenever disaster strikes. FEMA will respond to both natural disasters, like hurricanes, manmade disasters like oil spills, and to terrorist acts. FEMA sends rescue personnel as well as emergency managers to help during disasters. FEMA also provides resources to help Americans be more prepared in the event of a disaster.
- American Red Cross – The Red Cross has been in place since 1881. It is a non-profit agency that has grown into the country’s premier provider of volunteer emergency and disaster preparedness and relief. They are most widely known for providing blood, but actually provide a wide variety of disaster relief services.
- The Salvation Army – The Salvation Army has provided many types of relief to the poor over the years. Their services during times of disaster include mobile feeding stations, temporary shelter, medical assistance and missing persons services.
- Samaritan’s Purse – Samaritan’s Purse is an international relief organization that provides help in areas of war, poverty, disaster and disease. While they have many ongoing programs, they are always on call for disaster aid.
- State Emergency Management Agencies – In addition to FEMA, each state in the US operates their own emergency management agency. Most states are able to manage smaller emergencies without the intervention of FEMA.
- National Emergency Response Team – the NERT is designed to meet the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing during disasters. They operate through mobile units that can be rapidly deployed to disaster areas.
- Christian and Jewish Relief Agencies – Rather than a single organization, these are a group of organizations sponsored by churches throughout the US to respond during times of disaster. They include the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Organization, the International Orthodox Christian Charities, Lutheran Disaster Response, Catholic Charities, USA, Baptist World Aid, International Association of Jewish Vocational Services, Nazarene Disaster Response and Mennonite Disaster Service. These organizations work independently of each other as well as together to help meet the needs of disaster victims throughout the world.
Though there are many disaster relief organizations in the US and throughout the world, it can still often be difficult to meet all the needs of disaster victims in the aftermath of a tragedy. Sometimes the physical restrictions on getting supplies to affected areas can cause delays as can the difficulties in reaching affected areas because of damage. But, the organizations on this list, as well as others, make tremendous efforts to help disaster victims as quickly and comprehensively as possible under extraordinary circumstances.
Phyllis T. Zerkle enjoys blogging in order to help students find the information they need about online homeland security degrees.
Our neighborhood has two different companies service our area for trash collection. They are private companies that send out monthly bills. If you don’t pay these people, you have to carry your trash to the landfill, which is about 20 minutes from my house. The amount I would spend in gas alone is more than what I have to pay the trash company.
I decided to try to reduce the amount of trash that I put at the curb. If you have any tips on reducing and reusing household items, I’d love to read them as comments here. Thanks!
I promised to help out a friend and give them a ride to the Drivers License office. This is obviously a state government office, staffed by government employees. They are strict about what time they open doors, who gets waited on first, and keeping everyone in long lines.
The long lines are what I absolutely hate about dealing with the government. You cannot ever just walk up to someone and get help with your problem. You always have to figure out what line to get into and then you wait FOREVER to get even a simple question answered. And, GOD HELP YOU if you get in the wrong dang line!
Today we thank our soldiers for serving their country. It is a somber holiday for people who have lost a loved one to war or accidental death while in the service. We lost our father many years ago to Cancer, but he served our country in the war and I think of him fondly on every Memorial Day.