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Author: Rafael Lemaitre
All it takes is one.One hurricane. One tornado. One flood, earthquake, or fire to displace a family, upend a business, destroy a school - or worse.  No one is immune to the threat of disasters, and 2014 was no exception. View in FEMA Multimedia LibraryIn March, we witnessed an entire community wiped away from the mudslide that hit Oso, Washington. In August, an earthquake hit Napa damaging buildings and homes.  And in September, severe weather in Michigan generated significant flooding, affecting thousands of families in Detroit, just to name a few.  But how does 2014...
Posted On: March 12, 2015
Author: Craig Fugate, John Podesta
(Editor's note: This post originally appeared on the White House blog.)When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the storm sent water cascading into the South Ferry subway station, pouring into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, inundating neighborhoods from Staten Island to Queens. At Battery Park in lower Manhattan, water reached more than 9 feet above the average high-tide line.One factor fueling the surge -- New York Harbor, where waters have risen about a foot since 1900. We know that rising sea levels, higher average temperatures, higher ocean temperatures, and other effects of climate...
Posted On: January 30, 2015
Author: Jessica Stapf
Flash flooding in El Paso, TX caused a disruption during the early Monday morning commute of many people, including one woman whose truck was swept into a canal by fast-moving flood water. Some quick-thinking teachers that were on their way to training became first responders as they helped the woman escape being trapped between her vehicle and the canal’s wall. Not all first responders are fire fighters, police officers, or paramedics. Often, first responders are fast moving bystanders with a mind to help.The video of the dramatic rescue, filmed by a news reporter turned rescuer is available...
Posted On: September 24, 2014
Author: Tony Russell
It’s been nearly a year since the massive flooding that struck several areas of Colorado.  With little forewarning, heavy rains left streams and rivers swollen.  The images in the aftermath of this dramatic event remain striking: communities isolated as entire roads were washed away, homes destroyed by the torrent of water, and streams and rivers that changed course entirely.While the impact of the flooding was significant, even more impressive was the teamwork shown at all levels of government, the private sector, and volunteer agencies, as well as the resilience and determination...
Posted On: September 11, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
Quick trivia question: what’s the most common disaster in the U.S. that impacts the most people year after year?  The answer: Flooding.  This week, we’re focused on flood safety as part of National Flood Awareness Week.  I went back through the video archives and pulled out two stories that demonstrate our key themes for this week.  If you’ve got five minutes, these two videos are worth your time.The first one is from Hurricane Irene in 2011.  It profiles a town in Vermont that dealt with significant flooding and shows many of the ways flooding can disrupt our lives....
Posted On: March 17, 2014
Author: Roy Wright
Helping homeowners and communities know their risk of being impacted by disasters stands as one of our top priorities at FEMA. When you know your risk, you can prepare for the worst, take steps to mitigate against hazards, and protect yourself, your family and your property.Year to year, flooding is the most costly disaster in America. Flood maps play a vital role in helping us prepare for flooding by informing communities about the local flood risk. Flood maps help communities to incorporate flood risk into their planning. They’re also the basis for flood insurance rates through the National...
Posted On: February 21, 2014
Author: Lars Anderson
Although the clouds and rain may have passed, individuals and communities in central Colorado are still dealing with impacts from the recent flooding.  Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the flooding, especially as dangerous conditions continue in many areas.  It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede – which means those in impacted areas should remain vigilant to stay safe.Here’s a recap of the priorities from today:Search and Rescue operations continue, with five teams active in hard-to-reach areas.As some residents return...
Posted On: September 18, 2013
Author: Savannah Brehmer, Ashlie Chandler
Five days ago, Alaska reached the one-hundred-day mark since the Yukon River broke in mid-May and swallowed its first riverside community.Disaster recovery has demanded that responders adapt to Alaska’s unique environment. Many of the villages affected by this spring’s flooding are so remote, recovery cannot be delivered via road-based means. Hard-hit communities continue to come together to discuss plans for the future and strategies for building back stronger and more resilient.Below are 10 milestones reached in the 100 days of Alaska’s response and recovery:$3.3 million in Disaster...
Posted On: August 30, 2013
Author: Gene Gruber
While I couldn’t be there in person to present the Community Rating System plaque to the City of Altoona Commissioners during their recent meeting, I did want to recognize that as of October 1, 2012 the City of Altoona joined an elite group of communities across the country who are going above and beyond the minimum requirements to make their communities safer from flood risk.For a bit of background, the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the...
Posted On: June 24, 2013
Author: Scott Schermerhorn
As part of the Swift Water Rescue Team for Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, I have been involved in swift water responses for the past decade. Over the course of these responses, I have learned much about the power of water and the damage that floods can create. Floods, caused by nature or man-made, can occur at any time and can affect anyone. Being prepared and heeding warnings and public safety announcements may be the only way to ensure your safety.  Let me discuss a few of the situations I’ve seen as a rescuer and how they tie back to some of the common phrases...
Posted On: March 21, 2013

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