FEMA volunteers meet in the parking lot of the Drum Point Elementary School in Brick in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Still criticized as an office that can’t get the job done, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken on a high profile role in the response to Hurricane Sandy, providing food, shelter, and emergency financial assistance to millions while also helping to coordinate the efforts to restore power and end the regional gas shortage. In the four days since Sandy made landfall, some 2,300 FEMA agents have been involved in the response and recovery effort. Fleming said FEMA learned a lot in the wake of Hurricane Katrina about issues of coordination, cooperation and communications and applied those lessons this week.

Fugate said the key difference between FEMA’s response to Sandy and to its handling of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast oil spill was advance preparation. McSherry is part of disaster services history as one of first group of FEMA Corps members to experience the new program.When the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) agreed to form the FEMA Corps national service program, the agencies had no idea how quickly its new program would be put to the test. They provide support in areas ranging from working directly with disaster survivors to supporting disaster recovering centers to sharing valuable disaster preparedness and mitigation information with the public.During Hurricane Sandy operations, FEMA Corps members made their presence felt right away. Or that the test would come in the form of Hurricane Sandy.AmeriCorps members have a strong history of responding to natural and manmade disasters, so it was a no-brainer to create a program dedicated to this purpose.

Teams on the ground in New York and New Jersey provided direct assistance to disaster survivors by working at Disaster Recovery Centers and going door-to-door in impacted neighborhoods providing disaster information.Through mid-July, FEMA Corps teams provided 419,207 hours of Hurricane Sandy assistance.

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