After Katrina the federal government sought volunteers to go to the Gulf coast to assist in recovery and other activities.
A recent check with FEMA revealed that there is no program in existence at present to provide this ready trained and experienced force to disaster areas.
FEMA and OPM should implement a program where government employees can volunteer for disaster relief. Any training, skill set assessment, and other factors could be resolved in the calm of everyday life. Then when calamity hits, the force could be searched for properly trained people for specific tasks to be deployed rapidly.
The federal Government employs folks that have a very wide and diverse skill set. Many are also veterans with additional skill sets that make them invaluable in natural disasters when flying by the seat of your pants actions and reactions / personal management, and work arounds are essential.
The government has the transportation resources, personnel, and other resources to track and administer a system such as this. Just as important is the fact that these government employees are going to be paid regardless if the work station is at the home agency or in a disaster area.
Most importantly, government employees have skill sets that span every aspect of our society; blue collar to the various science and research disciplines. Having a ready, able, and trained force to respond to any national emergency would seem to be invaluable.
Having that force screened, categorized, and available for deployment before a national emergency ; priceless.