FEMA pictures
FEMA pictures

Photo courtesy FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been around since 1979. Although much of FEMA's recent press has been negative, the agency has been a powerful force in helping Americans prepare for, deal with, and recover from some of the worst disasters in history. From hurricanes and earthquakes to nuclear power plant meltdowns and toxic contamination, FEMA has been there to assist people in uncertain situations.

In this article, we'll find out what FEMA does, how it operates and how it has changed. We'll also review FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters.