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What We’re Watching: 2/14/14


Germantown, MD, February 13, 2014 -- David Cavell, Sr. uses a snowblower to dig out after a winter storm dropped over a foot of snow on the Washington, DC area. FEMA/Aaron Skolnik
Germantown, MD, February 13, 2014 -- David Cavell, Sr. uses a snowblower to dig out after a winter storm dropped over a foot of snow on the Washington, DC area. FEMA/Aaron Skolnik

FEMA, through its regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Denton, TX, and its National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. as well as its federal partners, including the National Weather Service continues to monitor the winter storm that made its way up the East Coast. It brought as much as 18 inches of snow to some areas and over an inch of ice.

Conditions have continued to improve as the storm moves northward into Canada; however the effects of the storm are still being felt along the coast. Earlier this week, President Obama declared emergencies for 91 counties in the State of Georgia and all counties in the State of South Carolina, at the request of the governors.  A FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is located at the Georgia Emergency Operations Center and another team has deployed to the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center. Additional teams are on alert for deployment as needed.

Our friends at the National Weather Service forecast the potential for a new winter system to bring additional snow to parts of the East and Ohio Valley Friday into Saturday. With the potential for more snow, we want to encourage you to take time to ensure you and your family are prepared.

Your emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries.  It should also include items specific for your family’s needs such as medication, pet supplies and anything else you may need. Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
  • Sand to improve traction;
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment; and
  • Adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.

Some other winter tips to keep in mind:

  • Put a few winter supplies in your car – An extra blanket, rock salt, a shovel, and some food and water will come in handy should you have car trouble or become stranded in your vehicle.
  • Keep your phone charged – This is a good tip regardless of the type of severe weather. Cell phones can be lifelines during an emergency or a power outage, so have a plan for keeping your device charged up so you can connect with loved ones and call for help, if needed.
  • Stay up to date with your latest forecast – visit or on your smartphone for the latest conditions in your area.
  • Listen to local officials – stay tuned to the news and listen to directions from local officials.
  • Limit travel during a storm – only venture out on the roads if it’s absolutely necessary. If you must travel, let someone know your destination, the route you plan to take and when you expect to arrive.

For more winter tips, check out on your computer or phone.

Opportunities to Serve on National Councils

National Advisory Council

Earlier this week, we announced pportunities to serve on the National Advisory Council.  The NAC was established by the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for both natural and man-made disasters. The NAC consists of up to 35 members, all of whom are experts and leaders in their respective fields.  Appointments are for three-year terms, unless otherwise noted.  The Administrator may also appoint additional candidates to serve as a FEMA Administrator Selection for three-year terms.   Applications and nominations will be accepted through March 14, 2014.

Visit the National Advisory Council page for more information on the NAC or for instructions on how to submit an application.


National Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA is also accepting applications from young leaders dedicated to public service and interested in making a difference in their communities to serve on FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council.  The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for young leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit.

These young leaders have the opportunity to complete a self-selected preparedness project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and other national youth preparedness organizations.

Individuals aged 12 to 17 who are engaged in individual and community preparedness or who have experienced a disaster motivating them to help their community, are encouraged to apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council.

All applicants must submit a completed application form and two letters of recommendation. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than February 24, 2014.

Visit the National Youth Preparedness Council page for more information on the National Youth Preparedness Council or to download the application.

Have a great and safe weekend!

Last Updated: 
02/14/2014 - 16:52


Being stranded in your car is no fun, but what can be even worse is when your cell phone dies. For this reason I keep a portable 12v power device in my car to jump start my car or power up 12v devices or to recharge my cell phone.

Wow it looks like the picture was taken here in Denver after a big storm! I feel for you all! Follow the notifications and don't try to be a hero. Storms like this shut us down for a day or two can't imagine what it will do there.

Thank you for providing simple lists with preparedness items. When discussing water storage in vehicles during winter months, please include a reminder about the danger of burst containers from freezing. Using flexible containers with air space stored inside zip top bags (as a second layer of protection from leakage) is much safer than fully filled plastic bottles, for instance. Including a small metal cup or pot is also good for melting frozen water.

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