As FEMA stocks warehouses for the upcoming hurricane season, Virginia Tech expert in disaster recovery Patrick Roberts says they still need to fill reserve and leadership positions.

“FEMA depends on reservists for its surge capacity during a storm. They are usually retirees or recent graduates responding to a disaster in their community. Although they have local knowledge, they are less likely willing to travel across the country to a new disaster. And unlike military deployments, where reservists are guaranteed a job when they return, FEMA reservists are not assured of a job when they leave a deployment that could last months,” says Roberts.   

Roberts adds while “FEMA has an experienced and well-regarded director, some appointed leadership positions remain vacant or filled with temporary, acting administrators.”

About Roberts

Patrick Roberts grew up along the Texas Gulf Coast. He remembers preparing for hurricanes by boarding up his house and standing in long lines for water and food, ready to be without power for days. He is based at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region near Washington, D.C. and his research traces the development of disaster and security organizations and their capacity, performance, and especially their degree of autonomy, or ability to develop and pursue a perspective independent of the will of elected politicians and interests. Read bio here.