FEMA admitted a new batch of disaster workers during an induction ceremony in Sacramento today. When a disaster happens, FEMA sends out its FEMA Corps members.
"They've responded to Hurricane Sandy. They've responded to earthquakes. Even in Napa, when they had the earthquake, we had FEMA Corps teams there," says Sandra Erickson with AmeriCorps in Sacramento. The agency worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to create FEMA Corps four years ago.
Corps members are between the ages of 18 and 24.
"Our members have just finished a month of training here in Sacramento,” says Erickson. “And then they travel throughout the United States after their induction ceremony."
That Sacramento training included first-aid, CPR, team building and conflict management. Erickson says only a handful of the 260 corps members inducted today are from California. They'll be spending the next nine months of full-time service on disaster response and recovery projects.
"FEMA has learned that 18 to 24 year olds are really good with technology,” says Erickson. “And they've figured out how to kind of leverage their knowledge in that area to help in times of disaster. So I'd say that's one of the biggest ways that our program has evolved."
Corps members are given a living allowance of approximately $4,000 for 10 months of service; housing; meals; limited medical benefits; and become eligible for an education award to pay for tuition or student loans.