“This blame game has been going on for a while,” she said. “I've been on the begging end myself to get the state to act.”
The procedure is that when an emergency occurs, Scioto County EMA will assess the damage then report it to the Ohio EMA. Then the state sends another person to assess the situation to do a state verification before presenting their requests to the federal government. The Scioto County EMA has to have a site verification before the wheels get rolling, she said.
“There's definitely a time lag period between their request and when the service arrives,” Carver said. “There is a significant amount of time that passes and certainly any reorganization of FEMA will help plug that gap.”
Carver had 10 federal disaster declarations within the past few years, such as the ice storm and flooding.
“I knew I had the damage that met the federal criteria,” she said. “There have been times in the past where I don't think that they understand the devastation that we had. It's almost like they don't believe you. I can guarantee you that I've never called the calvary in unless all local resources have been exhausted.”
Moving FEMA out of Homeland Security would be a plus, she said. Also, prestaging resources before an event would be helpful.
“(After) you've been up for 36 to 48 hours and you've done a windshield survey that the damage has reached a federal disaster declaration, then you have to wait for the state, then the feds,” Carver said. “(There's) too many layers of red tape.”
Since FEMA was moved under Homeland Security, there have been some differences.
“You've just added another layer to the (red tape),” Carver said. “Now you've got another middle man whose chief concern is terrorism preparedness.”
She said that in the gulf states there was too much questioning before they began to move assistance. She did hear of possible prestaging of supplies in the future.
“When lives hang in the balance and people's well-being is at stake, you have to be proactive,” Carver said. “We'll see how this all this turns out. We hope lessons are learned, but time will tell.”