I used to work at a military research institute and I cannot disclose what I did there or which one. Suffice to say I learned a hell of a lot about safety, amongst other things. One chemical I learned about was used to dissolve metals. If you get this on your skin you have an extremely limited time to get this off before it works its way in and starts dissolving your bones leading to an unavoidable and horrific death.
In libertarian world, if a disaster occurs, everyone pitches in and helps survivors. Not on your fucking life. Did anyone notice how those who rushed in to help with the collapse of the world trade center on 9/11 got no help? In Libertarian world you would be helped, I suppose, not sure who by, because all these details are mysteriously unclear. But lets say San Jose, the so-called capital of silicon valley, was leveled by earthquake, would i pitch in to help survivors? Gravely depends.
Peoples homes are full of all kinds of chemicals. Even smoke detectors are radioactive, while I can't remember what kind of emitters are used in smoke detectors, if it was crushed, I definitely wouldn't want its dust lodged in my lungs. I'm not sure how CO detectors work, but even assuming CO detectors are relatively safe, I cannot say for certain. I am not an average engineer (although kindly called so by electrical & electronic engineers), I wouldn't be able to run my eyes over a structure and determine how safe it would be to move this or that, to get pinned bodies out and perhaps I have a better eye at such things than the average, i wouldn't trust it.
As for a headquarters for R&D in Silicon Valley, not on your life. Anyone building proto-test chips, is also dissolving metals and dissolving metals is at least an acid even if its not the horror chemical I described above. The chemicals they use are none the less super dangerous, but building chips is all about dissolving metals.
If I was building a private FEMA it would work with local fire agencies to know what buildings contain what chemicals. Yes average personnel could learn what all the chemical symbols mean but without the appropriate equipment that's next to useless.
FEMA, like CDC, can access information on chemicals in use, experts on rotation, equipment and procedures. Wanna leave that to a bunch of amateurs who may or may not be sober when an emergency occurs? Even if civilians are given adequate training, who are they answerable to? Can they coordinate with military or co-operate with R&D centers?
So where do you concentrate your super skilled task force if you are FEMA? Obviously you would distribute FEMA resources but control it centrally. Deploy it when an emergency occurs but most of the time emergencies aren't occurring, fortunately. Who pays for those resources to be deployed? If this was a private organization, who would be paying for these people to be on call? Who organizes a roster? Who is paid to organize where resources are?
We try to prepare by having a (government paid for) weather bureau trying to predict when a tornado might rip through a town in the mid-west, we try to prepare by (having government paid for entities) predicting when an earthquake will hit on the west coast and we monitor for hurricanes and volcanoes (also paid for by the government). But in reality we don't know when a twister is going to wreak havoc or an earthquake.
Do we want Joe Blow having information about chemicals if he is a citizens' FEMA? Who knows, he may be a Timothy McVeigh. Libertarians will probably say they'd put in all those safe guards that will end up being exactly like the system we have in place already. So what have we gained in libertarian paradise? Absolutely nothing.
If a private organization does it, who is going to pay extra for all the profit they have to make on top of what it'll cost citizens to have the service? The same security authorizing NIST, CIA, FBI, NSA, Military clearances will be able to organize FEMA and CDC clearances. For a private organization, a separate service would have to be created to give security clearances and who knows, it may end up not being as good as the govt service, except it'll cost the tax payer more because the private enterprise will have to make a profit.
Libertarians are so naive.