Good things from FEMA

Mostly Cajun has had a rather rough month or so -- his house was badly damaged by Rita and it burned to the ground a few days later. Today, FEMA just delivered his new trailer and it's a beauty:

FEMA still isn't a perfect organization. For example, this morning at about 10 AM (yes, it IS Saturday in Louisiana, too!) I get a cellphone call.

"Is this Mr. D?" they asked, using my first name.

"Yes, it is. What can I do for you?"

"I just wanted to let you know that we got your FEMA trailer and we're bringin' it out there right now."

Great! I said. I'll be out there in twenty minutes. And I headed out the door, having finished my nourishing breakfast of Eggo waffles cooked in the office toaster.

I got on the road, and they called back to refine their directions a bit. The street I live on is a bit confusing to locate. I got them redirected, and when I got to my old homestead, I was talking with my neighbor when the truck towing my new home bulled around the corner.

There were two pickup trucks, a big one pulling the trailer, and the other carrying an additional two workers, five in total. They unloaded out of the truck, spotted the trailer in the location I designated, and proceeded to "git after it" as the colloquialism goes. There was no wasted motion. These guys hit the ground working, and didn't slow down, connecting the electrical, the water and the sewage lines. They jacked the trailer up on cinder-block piers, and tied it down to several earth anchors so the next wind that comes along won't roll it over. I loaned them a couple of tools from my own stash to expedite progress, and I went to the local convenience store and bought a dozen soft drinks and a bag of ice for them because they looked thirsty.

Two hours, maybe, and they were done. The only downside to the day was that the local utility company has not yet reconnected electrical service to my pole. And that's not FEMA's fault.

The trailer in question was fully equipped down to the details:

My new home is literally NEW. It's an 8X30 foot trailer. It LOOKS like a travel trailer from the outside, but there are some major differences. Travel trailers have holding tanks for waste water and sewage. This one doesn't. It's made to be piped into an existing sewage system. Travel trailers have reservoirs for fresh water. This one doesn't. It's made to be connected to an external water source. Travel trailers have strange little toilets for use with holding tanks. This one has a full-sized, normal toilet (hooray!) and an almost full-sized shower. It has a decent sized refrigerator-freezer, air conditioning, heating and a microwave oven, and to my surprise, it comes supplied with a set of linens for the beds, a set of dinnerware, and a little set of pots and pans. You could move into one of these things with just a few clothes and be set up. So it is really a "temporary housing unit," not a travel trailer.

This is what FEMA is supposed to be doing -- people who were expecting it to come in rescue people from New Orleans must have been dozing during their Civics classes -- this is not the purpose of FEMA, the immediate evacuation is supposed to be handled on a personal and municipal level and both of those failed miserably with Katrina and New Orleans and were handled wonderfully with Rita and Louisiana.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 12, 2005 10:03 PM.

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