Posted by: Green Knight | April 8, 2011


The government will stay open until the middle of next week, at least.  I was upset that National Parks and Monuments would close (and have before, when grandstanders have previously engineered shutdowns).  The Clean Air Act is a sticking point this time, which also bothers the hell out of me.  But what really got me was when I received the following e-mail from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) today:

“Notification of training cancellation:

Effective 3 PM Friday, April 8, 2011

As many of you are aware, the current Continuing Resolution funding the Federal Government for the fiscal year expires this Friday, April 8 at midnight.

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is among the Federal government activities that may be affected. The EMI Independent Study Program is offline.”

Umm, wow, have there been any, like, emergencies lately?  Or last year?  A few years back, I took and passed FEMA’s online certification course on Animal Rescue in Emergencies (something they had to study and start doing themselves, after botching that aspect of things during Katrina).  Does anyone else think it’s perhaps a bad idea to suspend the provision of information on emergency procedures to those who are interested to learn about them?  How expensive can it be to run an automatic program?  It’s not as if there are live FEMA staffers interacting with those who log on, after all.

When I was a state hazardous waste inspector, one of the first things I’d ask to look at was the facility’s emergency response, or “contingency” plan.  For those who even had one, sometimes it’d take them a half-hour to FIND the damn thing.  How much use is such a document in a real emergency if it can’t be located?  Also, more often than not, the employees didn’t even know there was one, let alone been trained with it.

Symbolic gestures are more than that if they cripple, even to a minor extent, our level of preparedness.  Maybe a small earthquake in Washington during the budget pissing contest would shake some of the demagogues out of their truculence?



  1. Hi all,
    Any clue on how long the web site will be down for? I was in the middle of finishing my required courses. This is a HUGE problem for me.


  2. Matt, all I can suggest is to get on FEMA’s contact web page,, and click on the EMI button to ask the same question. I just inquired about it as well, and also asked about finally getting my certificates for their Animals in Disaster online courses I completed several years ago. At least your question will be in the pipeline, and they should e-mail you back. Good luck! (What courses are you taking, and who’s requiring you to do so? Am always interested to talk to others in the emergency field, especially with agencies or organizations I haven’t dealt with yet.)

  3. I just got a response from FEMA saying that the site has been restored!

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