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Emily Update 2: Administrator Fugate On Getting Prepared

As we mentioned yesterday, we continue to closely monitor tropical storm Emily. The latest update from the National Hurricane Center includes a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, Haiti, Vieques and Culebera, as well as a tropical storm watch for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

This video from Administrator Fugate discusses what we’ve been up to, and how you can get prepared:



Visit www.hurricanes.gov for the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center, and visit the Severe Tropical Weather category on the blog.

News of the Day: A Conversation With Admin. Fugate

In an article in today’s The Hill, they give an inside look into FEMA’s philosophical approach to building and strengthening the team for emergency management, an approach being driven by Administrator Fugate. Since coming to FEMA, he’s been out in front of many changes at the agency, tapping into his years of experience as an emergency medical technician and then as an emergency manager.

Here’s a section from the full article:

The administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has spent the first two years of his tenure streamlining operations at the agency and shaking off deeply rooted habits to build a connected team of local, state and federal officials who are ready to move when emergencies happen.

In a major shift at FEMA, Fugate is looking beyond the information provided by professional first responders during an emergency, instead creating a two-way dialogue with the public, media and private sector to help provide quicker disaster assessments.

FEMA is looking at people in the affected communities as “a resource and not a liability”…The new message was that FEMA needed to “plan for who we serve, not who fits our plans,” Fugate said.

Read more at TheHill.com, or see Administrator Fugate’s blog posts in the “Craig’s Corner” category.

And the Challenge.gov Winner is…

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I'm proud to announce that the Challenge.gov winner is the Map Your Neighborhood program submitted by Penny W. Here’s a little bit about the program from Penny’s submission:


It [the Map Your Neighborhood program] involves meeting with a small group of your neighbors to set up a plan for evacuation, rescue, etc. in the event of a disaster. You physically draw a diagram of your neighbor's homes to include gas shut-offs, water shut-offs, etc. You also inquire and make a list of who has a ladder, chain-saw, rope, muscular strength, or who can provide childcare so others can go to the aid of surrounding neighbors and so on. It is a very easy program to understand and does not rely on a large group to participate, just you and your immediate neighbors. It teaches basic preparedness and give some insight as to what may be needed and who, in your own neighborhood, is able to provide it.

Note: Map Your Neighborhood is a program from the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

Getting prepared in your neighborhood is one of the most important things you can do, because the more prepared you and your community are, the quicker you will bounce back after a disaster.

You can learn more about the Map Your Neighborhood program on the Washington State Emergency Management Division website, and although we only have one winner, there were over 150 ideas submitted, so take another look at some of the submissions to see if you can implement one of them in your community.

As we continue to work with the whole community (federal, tribal, state, and local governments, non-profit and voluntary organizations, the private sector, and the public) to respond to and recover from the recent disasters, we are continuing to encourage individuals, families, and businesses to prepare before the next disaster strikes. And as we all know, hurricane season officially started yesterday, and NOAA is predicting another busy hurricane season. Don’t forget to visit www.ready.gov and www.ready.gov/business.

Congratulations again to Penny W. and the State of Washington Emergency Management Division and thank you to everyone who submitted entries to the challenge.

From Admin. Fugate: How to Help Joplin

The Administrator just returned from Joplin, Mo. and recorded this video to talk about the best ways to help the people of Joplin.




Resources:

The Entire Team – Ready to Support Louisiana

For weeks, we have been monitoring the potential for significant flooding in Louisiana, along with the other states currently being impacted by the Mississippi River flooding and historic water levels. And similar to their actions to mitigate the impacts of flooding in Missouri several weeks ago, today the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Morganza Spillway in Louisiana to help minimize damage to property, structures, and to protect millions of people from historic flood levels.

Our thoughts are with all of those affected by the breach of the Morganza Spillway. While the Army Corps is responsible for levee maintenance and control and the decision to breach this Spillway, FEMA, the USDA and the rest of the federal family are focused on ensuring the safety and recovery of the people and communities we serve, and at the direction of President Obama, we have been working with the state of Louisiana for quite some time to prepare for this event.

USDA wants to assure all farmers who purchased crop insurance and whose crops have been damage by the flooding that you will be eligible for crop insurance indemnities in accordance with the provisions of your crop insurance policy. To all of those producers who are unable to plant, but have purchased crop insurance, you will be eligible for prevented planting payments in accordance with your policy.

In preparation for this action, under the leadership of Secretary Napolitano, FEMA has already deployed staff, including a Federal Coordinating Officer, on the ground in Louisiana. These staff, along with our Regional Administrator, Tony Russell, are in constant contact with the governor and his emergency management team, and are working side by side in the state’s emergency operations center. In addition to personnel on the ground, we’ve identified a staging area in the Baton Rouge area, to ensure the needed supplies, such as water, meals, and blankets, are located close to the affected areas, should they be needed.

In the past two weeks since historic floods have affected the Mississippi River Basin, both of our agencies have been providing updates on the situation and working closely with state and local officials to assist impacted communities and help get people back on their feet. This will continue to be a team effort. Working together, in support of all of our state partners being impacted by this flooding, we will do everything we can to help mitigate this damage and protect the families, farmland and communities we serve.

Recap of Admin. Fugate’s Visit to Alabama on Thursday (April 29)

Yesterday, at the request of President Obama, Administrator Fugate traveled to Alabama to meet with Governor Bentley and Alabama Emergency Management Agency Director Art Faulkner, along with other federal, state and local leaders.

Craig started the day in Birmingham where he met with Senator Shelby and Representatives Aderholt and Sewell. Together, along with members of the Alabama National Guard, and thanks to their helicopter support, the group did an aerial damage surveillance tour from Birmingham to Tuscaloosa.



Craig met up with Governor Bentley and Art Faulkner, Director of Alabama Emergency Management, in Tuscaloosa to discuss the ongoing response efforts and to ensure the Governor's team had no unmet needs, and then traveled with the Governor to a devastated part of the city, to meet with state and local officials and disaster survivors.

At a press conference following the meetings, Craig praised the first responders, non-profit and faith-based organizations, as well as members of the general public for their courage, their quick response to this devastation, and for their tireless efforts to save lives and help the disaster survivors.



He also reiterated that FEMA stands in support of the Governor and his team - who is leading the response and recovery efforts in the state.

He then did some interviews with local and national news outlets about FEMA operations in the state and discussed how the recovery efforts will take some time.

Today, Administrator Fugate traveled around the state, this time accompanying President Obama.
For continued information about how FEMA is supporting response and recovery efforts, keep visiting our blog at blog.fema.gov.

Administrator Fugate Travels to Alabama

At the request of President Obama, Administrator Fugate is travelling to Alabama today to meet with Gov. Robert Bentley, and other state and local officials, to assess damage and ensure the state is receiving all support needed for response and recovery operations.  Details regarding Administrator Fugate’s visit to Alabama will be posted on the blog later today.

Since the tornadoes struck, through our regional office in Atlanta, Ga., we have been in constant contact with the governor’s office and state emergency management officials, and have deployed staff to Alabama’s emergency operations center to help with coordination needs. 

And in case you missed it last night, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for Alabama, providing federal support to state and local response efforts. 

For the latest information about FEMA’s response, see the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

Video: Update From Admin. Fugate on Southeast Tornadoes and Severe Storms

Posted by: Public Affairs

As many of you have no doubt seen, devastating storms and tornadoes struck the southeastern U.S. last night.  Here’s a video update from Administrator Fugate on the latest:



Forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for more severe weather today.  If you are in the potentially affected area, be sure to stay updated with your local forecast and follow the direction of local officials.

For tips on staying safe before, during and after a tornado, thunderstorm or flood, visit Ready.gov or our mobile site (m.fema.gov).

To keep updated with our latest updates, visit the Severe Storms / Tornadoes category on the blog.

Less than 2 Weeks to Go to Central U.S. Shakeout – What Will You Do?

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For months, FEMA has been working closely with 11 of our state partners and many other members of the team to get the word out about the Great Central U.S. Shakeout – the first-ever multi-state public earthquake drill taking place next Thursday, April 28 at 10:15 am central time.

And as of today, we’re less than two weeks away – which means it’s time for all of us, across the entire team, to get involved and do our part to get the word out. Why?

The recent – and tragic - earthquakes we’ve seen from Japan, the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history, to the earthquakes that struck New Zealand, Chile, Haiti and our own U.S. territory of American Samoa, that destructive disasters can hit us anytime, anywhere, and often without any warning.

And none of us – no matter where we live – are immune. In fact, earthquake activity has been felt in all fifty states. Like it or not, we simply don’t have the luxury of thinking “this couldn’t happen here.”

While we can’t prevent earthquakes or other disasters, we can take important steps to prepare for them. One way you can prepare is to join more than two million people who are participating in The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut, the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history. Eleven states are participating in the ShakeOut, including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee; and so far, over 2.2 million people have signed up.

It’s a great start, but with 40 million people living in the central U.S. region, we know we can do even better.

Drills like the Shakeout are among the easiest and most cost-effective ways individuals and communities can learn how to protect themselves if an earthquake strikes. It’s easy to sign up; it’s free; and anyone can participate from anywhere – whether you are at school, at the office, at home, on the soccer field, or even visiting the doctor. All you have to do is sign-up here http://www.shakeout.org/centralus/ to get simple instructions on how to participate.

So we’re challenging all of you, our partners on the team, to join us in The Great American ShakeOut. Get involved; and be prepared!

If you’re a Member of Congress in one of the 11 central U.S. states participating in the ShakeOut, help us get the word out to your constituents. Make plans to participate in an event or do a drill with your congressional office. Post ShakeOut information, including widgets, on your website.

If you’re a school, college or university, plan a "shakeout" drill on your campus. Already, over 1,526 schools and 62 colleges and universities are participating.

If you own, manage or work at a business, get your staff and coworkers involved. Already, over 200 businesses and 290 non-profits have signed up, and that doesn’t include the many state and local government agencies that are planning to do drills.

At FEMA – we’ll be doing our part, in partnership with our regional offices in the central U.S., to participate in drills on April 28. We’ll be sharing more about our plans on the FEMA blog, so stay tuned.

Learn more about how to participate here: http://www.shakeout.org/centralus.

And if you’re already participating, let us know what you’re planning. Leave a comment below or tweet me @craigatfema.

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