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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

FEMA Launches New Mobile Web Site For Smartphones

FEMA Launches New Mobile Web Site For Smartphones, news release, Federal Emergency Management Agency, April 28, 2010.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate announced the launch of FEMA’s new mobile Web site, m.fema.gov. The mobile Web site makes it easier to access critical information regarding emergency preparedness and what to do before and after a disaster right on a smartphone.

FEMA on YouTube, Twitter

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) now has its own channel on Youtube: youtube.com/fema and its own twitter feed: twitter.com/femainfocus. And, of course, it has a number of RSS feeds, fema.gov/help/rss.shtm.

More here:
FEMA In Focus: Where FEMA Was, Is Now, and Where FEMA Is Going, FEMA Press Release HQ-09-004, January 7, 2009.

FEMA starts channel on YouTube, By Alice Lipowicz, FCW.com, Jan 08, 2009.

Hurricane Resources

I’ve seen a lot of good resources related to Hurricane Ike over the past week, and thought I’d compile them here.

Speaking Out Against FEMA Information Delays

Senator Mary Landrieu wrote an article at poynter.org, “letting the sunshine in” to illuminate delayed FEMA response to FOIA requests in regards to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. For example, Mark Schleifstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune filed a FOIA request with FEMA regarding its disaster response operations and planning. After two years (and asking him twice if he was “still interested”), FEMA has yet to act.

But it’s this part of the article that really hits a nerve:

“Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that it had filed a FOIA request in 2006 seeking documentation on FEMA’s contracting procedures and the decisions behind deploying travel trailers across the Gulf Coast. FEMA says they will release the information — for a fee. The going price for the truth is apparently $209,990, principally to defray copying costs. The agency said the documents are not available electronically and that the only hard copies are stored in its New Orleans field office. Meanwhile, on its Website, FEMA itself advises that, ‘If you plan ahead and copy what you have onto compact disks, you can be secure in knowing that they will not be lost in the future.’ “

I just don’t know what to say after reading that…

FEMA Workers Play Role of Reporters

What?! That’s right. FEMA deputy director Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson held a phony news conference on Tuesday (story here and here) about assistance to victims of wildfires in southern California. At the news conference, FEMA employees played the part of reporters and asked Johnson softball questions. I don’t know which is worse: having a director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency who’s previous job was as a commissioner for an Arabian horse association or having a FEMA director who thinks it’s ok to hold a sham news conference for political gain. FEMA deals with serious life and death situations (Katrina, wild fires etc)  and so should have leaders of the highest qualifications, NOT political lackies who do not take their jobs seriously.