The release of the third season of the Netflix hit series House of Cards provides a great opportunity to provide some insight into what FEMA Corps is all about. I wanted to use this space to share some truth about the real-life men and women who wear the “FEMA Corps” blue shirts you may have seen onscreen.
*Rest assured – no spoilers here!
Truth: FEMA Corps is a real program.
I’m proud to be a former FEMA Corps member. The FEMA Corps program was created in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service to enable young people to help their communities by getting involved in emergency management and federal service. I served as a Corps Member from August 2013 through May 2014, where I saw firsthand how disasters impact communities across the United States and how programs like FEMA Corps can make a lasting impact. I was able to play a part in the response to the Colorado floods in September 2013. After completing our assignment there, my team and I spent five months working at FEMA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Truth: FEMA Corps members really do register people for disaster assistance.
FEMA Corps teams, made up of eight to ten individuals, receive the same training as full-time FEMA staff members in order to ensure that disaster survivors are receiving the assistance they need.
When flooding ravaged several counties in Colorado, my fellow Corps Members and I were on the scene -- helping FEMA staff work to make sure disaster assistance went where it needed to go. That could mean going door-to-door in disaster-impacted areas or working at a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center like in this photo:
Finally, a myth: Anyone is eligible to be a FEMA Corps member.
As a program run through AmeriCorps, normal FEMA Corps members can be between the ages of 18-24 years old. This may have been portrayed differently on the show. However, there are plenty of opportunities for more experienced individuals to serve as Team Leaders.
As a former FEMA Corps member and current FEMA employee, it’s exciting to see the program become more familiar to folks across the country – not just because of a cameo on a popular Netflix series. The FEMA Corps program and its members are worthy of this recognition because of the great work they do every day to make our communities safer and more resilient.
If you or someone you know may be interested in becoming a FEMA Corps member, the application period is open until April 1.
From our lawyers: This post is for informational purposes only. FEMA does not endorse or recommend any third party services, TV shows, or organizations.