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Planning for your pets

Disasters can happen in a flash, so it's important to think about your entire family's safety - including your pet's - before an emergency occurs.  Deputy Administrator Serino said it best in this video (along with his cute canine friend), originally done to highlight Pet Preparedness Day 2010:



As a pet owner, one of the easiest things you can do is to put together a kit that includes food, water, medications, treats and other necessary items for your pet's disaster kit.

And since pets are considered members of our families, be sure to include your pet in your family's emergency plan.  This may include having an emergency contact that could take your pet in for a short period of time and knowing what pet-friendly shelters are available if you and your pets have to evacuate.

Visit Ready.gov for more tips on keeping your pets safe before, during, and after a disaster, including:

  • Talking to your pet's veterinarian about emergency planning,
  • Locating hotels and motels that are pet friendly,
  • Having enough basic supplies for every individual and pet to survive for at least three days, and
  • Creating a evacuation plan for you, your family, and your pet.

Other links
- A great place to locate shelters for pets is at Go Pet Friendly.

Posted on Tue, 03/29/2011 - 13:20

Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Getting Prepared

On a daily basis, we work very closely with our partners at the National Weather Service (NWS) as it provides invaluable information on severe weather conditions across the country. Earlier this month, during flood awareness week, Dr. Jack Hayes, National Weather Service Director, and FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate blogged about three steps to flood safety.

In the aftermath of the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami, Director Hayes and Administrator Fugate are reminding Americans that we are not immune from either earthquakes or tsunamis.  While new systems and technology have improved our detection and early warning capabilities, the bottom line is that all of us should take steps to prepare for disasters to lessen their impact on ourselves and our communities.

Today Dr. Hayes and Administrator Fugate’s published a joint op-ed -- check out what they have to say (courtesy of the Sacramento Bee).

Photo Recap: Deputy Administrator Manning in American Samoa

As many of you know, last week Tim Manning, our Deputy Administrator for Protection and National Preparedness, traveled to Hawaii and American Samoa, as part of a previously scheduled trip to meet with our state, territory and local partners and to get an update on how the recovery efforts are going in American Samoa, 18 months after the island was struck by an earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Tim covered a lot of ground during his time there and got to meet with many members of the emergency management team, from the governor, to the territory's emergency medical services team, to village leaders - and we wanted to share some pictures from his trip.

Deputy Administrator Manning meets with the Chief Fuapopo Avegalio of American Samoa EMS and EMS staff.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning meets with the Chief Fuapopo Avegalio of American Samoa EMS and EMS staff. Chief Avegalio reinforced how critical volunteers are to their work and that they focus on supporting emergency preparedness efforts in their different villages on the island.

Deputy Administrator Manning talks with the Chief Fuapopo Avegalio of American Samoa EMS.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning talks with the Chief Fuapopo Avegalio of American Samoa EMS. (Courtesy of Bill Thomas, NOAA)


Deputy Administrator Manning and American Samoa Governor Tulafono after meeting to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts on the island.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning and American Samoa Governor Tulafono after meeting to discuss the ongoing recovery efforts on the island. Among other things, the governor spoke about the territory’s experiences on Friday, March 11, when they and other Pacific islands were at risk of potential impacts from the tsunami. (Courtesy of Bill Thomas, NOAA)


Deputy Administrator Manning and staff from FEMA’s Recovery Office in American Samoa tour homes being rebuilt for disaster survivors in American Samoa.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning and staff from FEMA’s Recovery Office in American Samoa tour homes being rebuilt for disaster survivors in American Samoa. As part of our work to support the territory’s recovery, FEMA has been building homes, in several stages, for disaster survivors whose houses were destroyed by the tsunami.


Deputy Administrator Manning speaks to other federal, state and local members of the emergency management team at the PRiMO conference.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning speaks to other federal, state and local members of the emergency management team at the PRiMO conference. (Courtsey of Bill Thomas, NOAA)


Deputy Administrator Manning and PRiMO partners meet with Pago Pago leadership.
Caption: Deputy Administrator Manning and PRiMO partners meet with Pago Pago leadership. From left to right: Dr. Jeffrey Payne, Chair of the Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO); Representative Henry Sesepasara; Pago Pago Council member Pulu Ae Ae, Jr.; Senator Mauga T. Asuaga; Tim; Dr. Karl Kim, Executive Director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii; Jim Fernandez, NDPC Chair. (Courtesy of Bill Thomas, NOAA)

What We're Watching: 3/25/11


Information on the Japan earthquake and tsunami for U.S. citizens
Over the past few weeks, this blog featured several posts about the tragic Japan earthquake and tsunami, specifically referencing the U.S. government’s role in supporting the ongoing response and recovery, being led by the U.S. Agency for International Development.   We wanted to draw your attention to a new page on USA.gov with information on air quality, food safety, Americans in Japan, disaster preparedness, and donations.  

Also knowing that a lot of our blog readers live and work around Washington, DC we thought it was worth mentioning that the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC also starts today. 

In response to the recent earthquake and tsunami disasters, the Festival activities will kick off with a fundraising event, Stand With Japan.  People are asked to meet at the Washington Monument to walk around the Tidal Basin in the spirit of hope and rebuilding.  For more information on how to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, visit Interaction.org.

Severe weather outlook
Keeping with the pattern of active weather this past week, snow is expected to hit parts of the East coast this weekend.  Looking ahead to next week, National Weather Service forecasts are calling for heavy precipitation in the Southeast, along with colder temperatures and localized river flooding for the Upper Midwest.

Be sure to visit Ready.gov for information on getting prepared for the hazardous weather that Spring can bring, and stay up to date on your local forecast at weather.gov.

National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) conference wraps up
This past week, hundreds of emergency management professionals, State and local officials, private sector representatives, and concerned citizens participated in the NEMA conference held in Washington D.C.  Bringing together so many members of the emergency management team is an important step in strengthening relationships that can help communities and individuals prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.  For more information on the 2011 NEMA Mid-Year conference, visit their website.

Mayors & First Responder Training

Editor’s Note: Mr. Hildreth is the Mayor of Pacific, Wash., a town in Western Washington between Seattle and Tacoma.

Mayor Richard Hildreth of Pacific, Wash., prepares for emergency responder training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.


Mayor Richard Hildreth of Pacific, Wash., prepares for emergency responder training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

I recently completed the Hazard Assessment and Response Management (HARM) course, at FEMA’s Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP), in Anniston, Alabama, which trains students to conduct a multi-disciplined response to a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, or Explosive  incident. As a mayor charged with making key decisions that impact my local response teams during a major incident, advanced, hands-on training makes me an informed member of the emergency management team in my community.

The HARM course is one of a handful I’ve taken at the CDP.  Some people may wonder why an elected official would attend training at FEMA’s CDP. I return to the CDP because of the unique training and because there is no other place civilian responders can go to validate their skills in an actual toxic chemical environment.

Specifically, the training helped me understand the challenges a first responder might face, the steps needed to ensure public and responder safety, and the working conditions within which first responders must operate.

But how does my experience at CDP training relate to you?

As Americans, we cannot afford to be caught off guard when a disaster occurs. No matter what your role is in your community, getting prepared for emergencies can ease the initial burden on our first responders immediately following a disaster, allowing them to focus on those that have been most affected.

It is often difficult to take time out of our busy schedules to attend training, or take the simple steps needed to get prepared.  In my own experience, it is easy to push disaster preparedness to the back burner and deal with the everyday issues that come with being a local elected official.

However, I encourage you to look into emergency preparedness training opportunities offered in your local community. If you are an emergency responder, visit the CDP Web site to find out more about the specialized, all-hazards training offered.

Both my community and I are better prepared after taking courses like those offered at the CDP. That’s why officials with roles in emergency response and thousands of concerned citizens from around the country participate in training each year. Our communities and businesses are worth it.  But more importantly, our citizens are worth it.

- Richard Hildreth

Mayor Richard Hildreth (pictured front-left), of Pacific, Wash., assists his team of emergency responders transport a simulated survivor through the initial stage of decontamination during an exercise.

Mayor Richard Hildreth (pictured front-left), of Pacific, Wash., assists his team of emergency responders transport a simulated survivor through the initial stage of decontamination during an exercise.

News of the day: Midwest Flood Fight

We’ve talked a lot about the flooding in the Midwest that’s forecasted, or is already happening, for the Midwest this spring. Previous blog posts have discussed how individuals can get prepared and what we’re doing to assist the other members of the emergency management team.

However, we wanted to specifically highlight some of the actions being taken by those team members --- State and local governments, voluntary and faith-based organizations, local businesses, and committed citizens --- in the Midwest flood fight.

The stories below are only a small sample of the many preparations being taken by individuals and communities across the Midwest:

If you haven’t taken steps to get prepared for a flood, visit Ready.gov today.

SMEM = Social Media in Emergency Management

As we've mentioned before on the blog, social media is becoming increasingly important to disaster survivors and emergency managers. 

Tomorrow, I will be attending an event on social media in emergency management with colleagues of mine, as part of the annual National Association of Emergency Managers Mid-Year Conference.  The goal of the social media event is to bring together the team --- emergency managers from the Federal, State and local levels, technology volunteers, private sector, and others who are involved in the social media space --- to continue the dialogue about using social media and technology in emergency management and beyond. 

Just like we saw after the Tennessee floods and just like we're seeing in Japan, the recovery process from any disaster can be long, and getting information out throughout the whole recovery process is just as important as during the response.

If you're completely new to social media, want to learn more, and/or want to start using social media in your emergency management capacity, I encourage you to follow the conversation on Twitter from tomorrow's event by following #smem11.  After tomorrow, you can participate in the conversation by following #smem and share your thoughts, ideas and experiences.

And as always, on Twitter you can follow @fema and Administrator Fugate @CraigatFEMA (see this article in Computer World for more information on Administrator Fugate's view of social media and technology at FEMA).

I look forward to hearing from you, either on Twitter or by leaving a comment below.

- Shayne

Two Documents for FEMA’s Future

Author: 
Over the past year the agency has undertaken efforts to consider its foundations and to think strategically about the outcomes it will achieve over the next few years. This self-examination has resulted in the creation of two guiding documents: FEMA Publication 1 (Pub 1) and the 2011 – 2014 Strategic Plan.
 
Pub 1 outlines the agency’s principles and culture while describing its history, mission, purpose, and philosophy. Pub 1 also serves as the operational link to, and provides the context for, the implementation of the new strategic plan for the agency.
 
The strategic plan will serve as a guiding document for the agency as it looks to the future of emergency management. The strategic plan includes four initiatives to build the capabilities of FEMA as an organization and the emergency management team as a whole. These initiatives are:
 
  • Fostering partnerships and engaging the entire community in the practice of emergency management;
  • Establishing priorities to stabilize communities after a catastrophic event and contribute to a full recovery;
  • Building a shared understanding of risk among our partners; and
  • Enhancing the agency’s ability to learn and innovate.
These documents will have a significant impact on setting a direction for the future of the agency, and I’m excited about our direction. More information about the Strategic Plan or Pub 1 is available online at www.fema.gov/about/strategicplan2011-2014.
 
 

- David

Training Updated for Citizen Responders

Author: 

If you are thinking about getting trained in basic disaster response skills and becoming part of your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), or if you are already a CERT member or trainer, I encourage you to check out our updated CERT Basic Training course materials.

For those that don’t know, CERTs are a committed group of local volunteers who have received training in emergency response and preparedness who can play a vital role in assisting the community after a disaster. The updated CERT course materials cover topics ranging from first aid to search and rescue. We made some updates to improve the clarity of the training content, along with making sure that all of the procedures are up-to-date. We worked with multiple stakeholders, including local CERT trainers and technical experts, to update the Basic Training materials.

In addition to checking out the updated materials online, I encourage you to attend a webinar on the new and updated material on Tuesday, March 29th, 2011. Ensuring that communities are prepared before disaster strikes is a top priority for our agency, and making sure communities have the most up-to-date training curriculum is one piece of promoting individual and community preparedness.

If you have taken a CERT course recently or are interested in getting trained, I welcome your feedback on putting CERT training into action. As you are coming up with ideas, check out my last blog post about a CERT success story.

-Rachel

Other info
- CERT is a FEMA program sponsored by local government to train and involve community members in disaster response and relief efforts. For more information on CERT and to access the updated training, go to www.CitizenCorps.gov/cert.

Tsunami Awareness Week - Take the Time Now to Prepare


As rescue and recovery efforts continue in Japan, this tragedy should also serve as an important reminder that disaster can strike anytime and anywhere. This week happens to be National Tsunami Awareness Week, and our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association are urging all Americans who live along U.S. coastlines to take the threat of tsunamis seriously.

There are a few simple tips to remember:

Warning signs of a tsunami

  • A strong earthquake, or one that persists for 20 seconds or longer
  • The ocean withdraws or rises rapidly
  • A loud, roaring sound (like an airplane or a train) coming from the ocean
  • Tsunami warnings broadcast over television and radio, by beach lifeguards, community sirens, text message alerts, National Weather Service tsunami warning center Web sites and on NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards

What you should do if you see these signs

  • Keep calm
  • Immediately move to your local tsunami shelter using defined tsunami evacuation routes
  • If there are no evacuation routes defined, move to higher ground that is at least 100 feet in elevation, a mile inland, or to the highest floor of a sturdy building and STAY there
  • If you are already in a safe location, STAY there
  • Move on foot when possible - do not drive - this keeps the roads clear for emergency vehicles
  • Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio or news broadcasts for changes in tsunami alerts
  • Stay away from the coast and low-lying areas until local officials say it's safe to return

This week should also serve as a crucial reminder for all Americans, no matter if you live near the coast or not, to take the time to get prepared now, before disaster strikes. Anyone can visit Ready.gov to learn how.

For more information visit Ready.gov or http://www.tsunami.gov/.

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