FEMA Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Branch, Operations Section Chief Dean Scott started his emergency management career as a firefighter.
On Sept. 11, Dean was a firefighter with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and also employed with FEMA as a Disaster Assistance Employee.
Dean was asked to serve on FEMA’s Emergency Support Team, now known as the National Response Coordination Center, to set up a task force.
He was charged with deploying responders, getting them where they needed to go and supporting search and rescue operations.
At that time, communications were sporadic: phone lines were so bogged down that calls were often not going through. To ensure responders needs were being adequately supported, Dean made 12 trips between sites in New York City, the Pentagon and FEMA HQ in Washington, D.C.
When asked if Sept. 11 affected his career path, Dean said, “We learned so much from those responses. It led to changes in how we did business, and I wanted to stay and help carry out these changes before I retired. If anything, Sept. 11 solidified my career path and certainly led me to have more of a career with FEMA than I ever intended before then. “
In 2002, Dean was asked to join a FEMA Tiger Team that would develop a process to reimburse US&R task force Sponsoring Agencies for the expenses they had incurred during the response. What started as a 60-day deployment turned into a multi-year effort, ultimately leading to Dean becoming a full-time FEMA employee in 2006.
“Personally, Sept. 11 was pretty impactful because in addition to the loss of thousands of citizens and over 400 first responders, I lost several friends that day in New York,” said Dean. “It was a broad stroke emotionally.”
“I think it was the beginning of a lot of changes for FEMA that allowed for the betterment of the nation,” he added. “That event began the push for FEMA to be where it is today coordinating federal responses.”