Former FEMA director Michael D. Brown, criticized over his agency's slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster-preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.
"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses -- because that goes straight to the bottom line -- then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown told the Rocky Mountain News.
Brown said officials need to "take inventory" of what is going on in a disaster to be able to answer questions and to avoid appearing unaware of how serious a situation is.
In the aftermath of Katrina, critics complained about Brown's lack of formal emergency management experience and cited e-mails that later surfaced showing him as out of touch with the extent of the devastation.
The lawyer conceded that, while he was head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, mistakes were made in the response to Katrina. He also repeated that he had been planning to resign before the hurricane hit.
"Hurricane Katrina showed how bad disasters can be, and there's an incredible need for individuals and businesses to understand how important preparedness is," he said.
Brown said companies have already expressed interest in his consulting business, Michael D. Brown LLC. He plans to run it from the Boulder area, where he lived before joining the Bush administration in 2001.
"I'm doing a lot of good work with some great clients," Brown said. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me."