FEMA has said itself that it is best if you make your own precautionary emergency measures, and that you need to be prepared to manage on your own for some time before sufficient government relief can arrive.
That doesn't mean that they have sat still since the disaster that was Katrina and not made any changes.
FEMA Corps Develops the Next Generation Emergency Managers
Jim McKay, Emergency Management Magazine, 13 September 2012 (no hat tip)
FEMA Corps is a partnership between FEMA and the Corporation for National and Community Service that adds additional support for response and recovery of disasters by new FEMA Corps teams within AmeriCorps. Each team will consist of 10 FEMA Corps members, 18- to 24-year-olds who have signed up for the program.
FEMA Corps teams will support preparedness, response and recovery efforts by aiding survivors, helping with public communication efforts and more. The goal is to accumulate 1,600 FEMA Corps team members in the next 18 months, each serving a 10-month stint with the option for a second year. The second-year members will qualify to be team leaders. Until then AmeriCorps personnel will serve in that capacity.
One issue FEMA has had is that it has had little muscle of its own. It relies on a system of contractors to get much of the repair work done. That's o.k. as far as it goes, but there are advantages to have your own immediate responder, boots on the ground, yourself.
One item I am curious about is how are they planning to house all these volunteers. Contractors generally make their own arrangements, and truthefully most of them are a far more experienced and used to being out their on their own.