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Author: Jessica Stapf
The floodwaters glistened in the long-awaited sunshine. The sleepy town couldn’t remember the last time it saw sunlight, thanks to the storms that lingered for days—far overstaying their welcome. It’s always been said that after drought comes the flood, but that hadn’t been the case until that fateful summer. Storm after storm ravaged the area, leaving nothing but destruction in their wake. This type of destruction was left behind in parts of Louisiana and Mississippi back in 2005. Hurricanes swept away nearly everything in areas of the Gulf Coast: homes, businesses,...
Posted On: March 25, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
After stressful and traumatic events, people can seek relief in a variety of ways--talking with friends and loved ones, seeking counseling from professionals, or even through petting and cuddling with animals. You may have heard the term “therapy dog” or “comfort dog” and thought they were the same thing. For people who work in this field, there’s actually a distinction between the two.Therapy dogs operate in non-emergency environments: think of a college library packed with stressed students during finals – an environment that is definitely tense, but...
Posted On: March 22, 2016
Author: Brittany Trotter
What do you envision when you think about emergency management? Some images that probably come to mind are natural disasters, families losing their homes, and first responders like police officers and firefighters. Now think about the people who work in emergency management. Do the people you envision look like the communities they serve and include people from diverse backgrounds? How many women do you see?As a woman, I’ve often thought about emergency management as a field traditionally dominated by men. Today, that is still the case, but while we still have a long way to go, we...
Posted On: March 18, 2016
Author: Rafael Lemaitre
Conventional lines of communication can be impacted after a disaster. This we know. Phone lines can go down, cell service can be overrun with calls, texts, and emails and it can be difficult for survivors as well as first responders to get in touch. This isn’t a far-fetched scenario or intellectual exercise. It’s a reality we’ve seen happen over and over during disasters small and large. Enter Amateur Radio—or what those involved in the hobby refer to as "ham radio."Amateur radio enthusiasts—or “hams” as they’re often called...
Posted On: March 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Editor’s Note: Spoiler Alert! This post mentions plot points of some of the most popular movies this awards season. Our lawyers would prefer we didn’t name the films because of a little thing called copyright law, but it won’t take long to figure them out. “Lights, Camera, Action:” Famous words in showbiz. They’ll be saying them right before they begin broadcasting a super prestigious awards show that’s coming up.It’s peak awards season and this is the award everyone talks about—before movies come out, when they come out, after they...
Posted On: February 26, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters impact communities across the country, the people affected by them can lose anything and often lose everything. It's a trying time for many of them; who may not even have a home to go back to or a place to call their own.There can be multiple solutions to this problem. Some survivors can go stay with friends or family members. Some survivors are eligible to receive rental assistance. Some survivors are placed into manufactured housing units—when there’s no other place for them to go.I can hear the questions now."But, wait. Aren't you talking about those...
Posted On: February 16, 2016
Author: Geralyn M. Ryan
Saturday, September 12, 2015, started out as a normal day for Jose Simon III, Chairman of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California Tribal Council, and then it got a little interesting for Jose: I had a General Council meeting in the afternoon and was thinking about going to a football game later on. My plans changed after the council meeting, when I walked outside and saw a wildfire burning in the distance. I spent the next few hours helping tribal members, checking on friends in the community and talking with officials from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the...
Posted On: February 2, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Picture this—a scene that could happen anywhere in the United States…The rain was coming down in sheets for what felt like the umpteenth straight day. People lost track of how long ago it started--it felt like it would never end.  The storm clouds that shrouded the town in a blanket of steely gray sadness looked like they hadn’t moved an inch.It rained. And rained. And rained some more.Tin roofs and windowpanes echoed with the sound of the raindrops. Flooded streets closed--and the landscape was dotted with fluorescent orange detour signs. The water had nowhere to go...
Posted On: January 28, 2016
Author: Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D, RN
Editor's Note: Cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blog.Flint, Michigan is in the midst of a serious public health crisis, with high levels of lead in its water supply. President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Saturday, ordering federal assistance to support state and local response efforts.With the emergency declaration in place, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has now been designated the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating federal government response and recovery efforts.This means that HHS will, in...
Posted On: January 19, 2016
Author: Alessandro Amaglio
Sometimes, when we think about historic preservation, we think of places like New Orleans with its grand houses and graceful gardens, or maybe we picture the rolling hills of Gettysburg. But, long before Europeans arrived in Louisiana or the decisive battle of the Civil War, the Lake Miwok Indians were raising their families, practicing their religion and burying their dead in villages throughout Northern California.In September 2015, as a pair of explosive wildfires raged across Calaveras and Lake counties, Suntayea Steinruck was organizing the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer /State...
Posted On: January 19, 2016