Really, I don't want this to become an anti-FEMA blog. But poor Rob spent six hours in a classroom this week and has another six ahead of him next week, and for no good reason.
I gather from his anguished mutterings that the course is about Incident Command Structure in the kind of interdepartmental response that would be required if, say, a 747 took a nose-dive into Herrick Bay. The students are all rural volunteer firefighters used to "mutual aid"--the system around here that allows a local fire department to call in assistance from surrounding towns in case of a big fire or other disaster. So what they're learning in this course is either old hat or geared to city folk.
In a mutual aid situation, the fire chief in the town calling in the aid usually is the incident commander, but there is a graceful and efficient system for relinquishing command to someone else who has more experience with a particular situation. (For instance, a boatyard fire can involve dangerous and flammable substances specific to boatyards, so you probably want to turn incident command over to the person on scene who knows most about boatyard fires.)
The local firefighters are not likely to appoint a finance officer for the incident, as this FEMA course would have them do. "If we need a bulldozer at a woods fire," Rob told a large glass of wine the other night, "we call in the nearest guy with a bulldozer. We don't go out for competitive bids."
The firefighters have to take this course in order for the town to be eligible for FEMA grants. So next week they'll all sit there, glassy-eyed, for another six hours.
On a more positive note, looks like we're getting DSL in our little burb. At least some of us are--you have to be within 3 miles (or is it 3.5?) of the substation next to the library. I never thought I'd see the day. Now I have to decide whether to stick with my original plan of nickel and diming myself to death (i.e. buying the less expensive and slower plan) or getting the faster wireless version. I'm tempted, but I need to do more research on whether I really want more radio waves under my roof. Any insights out there?