Jump to content

Critics target FEMA’s post-Ike contract inspectors


Bill Kibbel
 Share

Recommended Posts

By MIKE SNYDER Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

In the months since Hurricane Ike’s landfall, hundreds of thousands of Texans have entrusted their hopes for housing assistance to temporary contract workers who inspected their homes for storm-related damage.

At the peak of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s individual assistance program last fall, 2,360 inspectors from throughout the country were documenting damage to Gulf Coast homes. With varying levels of training and experience, these inspectors are motivated to work quickly because they’re paid a flat fee per inspection and must cover most of their own expenses.

These factors and others have created a flawed inspection system that withholds assistance from many deserving families, according to a former FEMA inspector and lawyers representing families who say they were unfairly denied assistance or didn’t get enough to repair their homes.

Read the article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took the FEMA Inspectors "class" a number of years back and it was a total dissapointment. I felt that I had a pretty good feel for inspecting homes since I had owned my own inspection company for 20+ years but the entire class was dedicated to learning how to operate their computer and familiarizing one with their "program" (which I thought was very poorly written from an inspecting standpoint). There was minimal discussion on what to report on and it appears from the other comments that one inspectors idea of habitable can be at odds with another inspectors. Personally, I would recommend that FEMA set more stringent qualifications for their inspectors (educate them on what info they need to make a REAL determination) - either construction or inspecing experience and stipulate that no inspector can repair residences that they have "inspected" (eliminate any conflicts of interest). Many of the people taking the class I was in were not capable of performing a quality assessment due to their past experiences (many were RE agents looking to do something on the side). The best part of the class - which they saved until last - was the pay scale. They were "willing" to pay us $37.50 per assessment and boldly proclaimed "when you get familiar with the program" you can do 10 a day!! Wow, thats almost $400.00 a day - and on top of that you had to find your own lodging, food and rent a car!! Explain to me how you do these three things in an area that has just been devestated by a natural disaster? You could spend all of what you made just to survive. Needless to say, when they called for a deployment to Florida I had to decline. As usual, FEMA (and the rest of the govt for that matter) have their heads in a place they cannot see out! On second thought, give me a few of the Katrina trailers so I have a place to stay after I buy some property near my favorite fishin' stream.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I also took the FEMA "inspector" training courese; first the initial class and then I made it half way through the advanced class. I have operated my own inspection company for 6 years. I am professionally trained, State Certiffied and have an Associates degree in Civil Engineering Tech. I am also a Professional Fire Fighter and am assigned to a structural collapse team. I was very disappointed in both the training and the lack of qualifications for their perspective/future inspectors. The entire class focused on how to make money working for FEMA, not on how to inspect a home or on how to help these people in their time of need. Another major problem was the so called inspectors in the class. They ranged from people with zero experience in construction and inspection procedures to retired people looking for something to do. I don't want anyone to think I look down on older people trying to make some extra money, but a disaster zone is not the place for anyone that is not in some type of good physical shape. It would be nice to think FEMA and the Federal government will take a real close look at the program and make some drastic changes. For myself, I believe they should look at using local, State and/or Nationaly certified inspectors. I know FEMA looks at local inspectors as a conflict of intrest, but all state and nationaly certified inspectors adhere to both a set of standards of practice and code of ethics.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...