Posted by Denny Conway

Grinnell Rotary met Tuesday, September 11, 2018, at 6:00 p.m.  On the agenda were a meal, business meeting, and program.

    The majority of the business meeting was spent organizing and reviewing the details for the upcoming event:  Rotary Kites Over Grinnell, which will be held Saturday, September 29, 2018, at the Ahrens complex.

    Rotarian Gerry Adams introduced the speaker for the evening, Rachel Bly.  Bly first became interested in tonight’s topic, Emergency Management, through her role on the city council, and her role at the college.  She has taken FEMA classes online, followed by a month long set of classes at the Basic Academy. Bly stated that the vision of emergency management seeks to promote safer, less vulnerable communities with the capacity to cope with hazards and disasters.   In 1802, the Congressional Disaster Relief Act was passed, giving federal aid in a disaster to businesses. The next step in emergency relief was Civil Defense. In the 60’s and 70’s, a series of natural disasters hit the U.S., most of them having impacts that were much greater than the local community could handle.  In 1979, President Carter created FEMA, and in 1988, the Stafford Act was passed. This put into place the system that we have today, and allows for a presidential declaration that frees up money to assist with disaster response and recovery. It also gives FEMA the authority to coordinate response efforts and covers all hazards, including terrorism and natural events.  FEMA has a bit of a checkered history, with Hurricane Katrina being one example of a disaster where many things went wrong. Major reforms have been implemented since Katrina. Using the theory of whole community, every one of us has a role in a disaster, we share a responsibility in preventing a disaster (by being aware, reporting things that are out of the ordinary, learning about mitigation); being prepared personally and in our organizations, and by being a part of the recovery efforts if a disaster should strike.

    Rotary meets every Tuesday at West Side Family Restaurant.


Dennis Conway