Ex-administrator: 'We've got to stop looking at FEMA as 911'

Ex-administrator: 'We've got to stop looking at FEMA as 911'
© Getty Images

Former Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long warned Sunday that Congress, local institutions and individuals must help FEMA for it to complete its mission effectively.

"FEMA faces unrealistic expectations by Congress and the American public," Long told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation." "We’ve got to stop looking at FEMA as 911. This is a partnership."


Long, who served as head of FEMA from June 2017 to May 2019, said that “we have to refocus the training” to better equip citizens in terms of disaster preparedness, including emphasizing that “insurance is the first line of defense.”

“Until Congress starts to incentivize putting building codes in place and land use planning in place, incentivizing states and locals for ensuring their public infrastructure, FEMA's job is impossible,” Long said.

“We have to set realistic expectations for the agency and really bolster the capability from neighbor helping neighbor all the way to the Federal Emergency Management Agency,” he added.

Long’s comments came shortly Hurricane Dorian was upgraded to a Category 5 storm. The storm is not currently expected to make landfall in the U.S., but preparedness experts and meteorologists have emphasized that its path could change with little to no notice.

“What I’d really like to pay attention to is the forward speed of this storm,” Long said Sunday. “The track can change tremendously over the next 24 to 48 hours.”