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Isaac update 6: August 30 recap

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fema operations meeting
(August 30 -- DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (head of the table) participates on the daily FEMA meeting regarding Hurricane Isaac response. Seated around the table are numerous agencies and departments of the federal government, who are closely coordinating response and recovery efforts.)

Despite Isaac being downgraded to a tropical depression earlier today, the threat of heavy rains and flooding remains in many areas.  At the direction of President Barack Obama we continue to coordinate the federal government's response and recovery efforts.  Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. where she participated in a video teleconference with the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and federal agencies actively involved in response and recovery efforts underway.  FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate is on the ground in Louisiana and met with Governor Bobby Jindal and flew over areas of the Tangipahoa River. 

Last night, President Obama signed major disaster declarations for the states of Louisiana and Mississippi making federal aid available to supplement state and local response efforts for emergency protective measures and debris removal in the areas affected by Hurricane Isaac beginning on August 26, 2012.  These declarations build up on emergency declarations issued for both states earlier this week.  Statewide hazard mitigation is available to all counties and tribal government in Mississippi, and to all parishes and tribal governments in Louisiana.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) remains actively engaged in flood fighting efforts.  USACE teams also have been closely working with the states of Louisiana and Mississippi.  Teams are on the ground providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding along the Tangipahoa River and in Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana.  USACE also deployed emergency power teams to Mississippi and Louisiana, and commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams have deployed to Louisiana.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two Federal Medical Stations, one to Baton Rouge, La., and the other to New Orleans, La. to serve as medical special needs shelters for residents. HHS has deployed five Public Health Officials from the U.S. Public Health Service and two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from the National Disaster Medical System to aid in medical care for sheltering residents. HHS also is providing additional staff and a cache of medical supplies to assist the evacuating patients in Louisiana and there are more than 100 ambulances and more than 300 paratransit seats in Baton Rouge to move patients.

A 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Disaster Distress Helpline was activated by the HHS Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a resource that responds to people seeking crisis counseling after experiencing a natural or manmade disaster or tragedy.  The residents of the Gulf States can call 1-800-985-5990 for assistance.

Incident Management Assistance Teams are in state emergency operations centers in Mississippi and Louisiana as well as supporting state and local needs in Plaquemines Parish, La.  Mobile Emergency Response Teams also are deployed to Louisiana, Mississippi to support state emergency communications requirements including voice, video, and information services. Texas Task Force 1, an urban search and rescue team, is deployed to Louisiana and available as needed or requested.  FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration, tomorrow, will be joining state and local officials in Florida to begin preliminary damage assessments in the hardest hit county.

As the storm continues to move further inland, FEMA's regional offices in Denton, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo. are monitoring Tropical Depression Isaac, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states. Yesterday, FEMA Region VI Regional Administrator Tony Robinson spoke with Arkansas Emergency Management Director David Maxwell, and FEMA Region VII Regional Administrator Beth Freeman spoke with Andrea Stillar, the Deputy Director of Missouri Department of Public Safety.  Today, FEMA Region V Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III spoke with state emergency management directors from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.  Regional Incident Management Assistance teams from Regions V and VII, and other staff are on standby, should they be needed.  An Incident Management Assistance Team and a Mobile Emergency Response Support Team, from a previous disaster, are on the ground in Ohio and can support response efforts for the approaching storm, if needed.

 

helicopters
(August 30, 2012 -- Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division land at Cairns Army Airfield, Fort Rucker, Ala., as a staging area awaiting the call to assist relief efforts resulting from Hurricane Isaac. The Soldiers and a combination of HH-60 Alpha Plus Black Hawk and CH-47F Chinook helicopters stand ready to support our federal and State partners. U.S. Army photo by Kelly Pate)

Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since Tropical Depression Isaac first threatened Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its path to the Gulf of Mexico:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino on a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from the affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. 
  • FEMA Federal Coordinating Officers remain on the ground in Mississippi and Louisiana, working closely with state and local officials to provide the full resources of the federal government to support response efforts to protect lives and property.
  • A National Incident Management Assistance Team deployed to support state efforts in Plaquemines Parish.  This is the second IMAT team on the ground in Louisiana.
  • FEMA deployed teams to join the U.S. Small Business Administration, and state and local preliminary damage assessments (PDA) scheduled to begin tomorrow in Palm Beach County, Florida. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested. 
  • FEMA's regional offices in Denton, Texas, Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo. continue to monitor Tropical Depression Isaac, and remain in close coordination with potentially affected states.  Regional Incident Management Assistance teams from Regions V and VII, and other staff are on standby.  There is also an Incident Management Assistance Team and Mobile Emergency Response Support team, on the ground in Ohio, from a previous disaster that can support response operations from storm, if needed.
  • Texas Task Force 1, a federal urban search and rescue task force with the National Urban Search and Rescue System, and an Incident Support Team remain in Louisiana.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard is rapidly assessing impacts to the maritime transportation system impacts in order to restore flow of commerce through the ports and the Mississippi river.  Seven helicopters and one fixed wing maritime patrol aircraft are conducting search and rescue operations, port assessments and off shore patrols in the Gulf of Mexico.  USCG was responding to a variety of stranded persons in all of the parishes affected by the storm.  17 people and 2 pets have been rescued.  The Captain of the Port of New Orleans has worked closely with the port authorities, the pilots and industry to safely clear a variety of grounded vessels and barges in the confines of the Mississippi river ensuring rapid recovery to the flow of commerce. 
  • FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command pre-staged in Fort Rucker, AL four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, KY and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, VA, to assist in search and rescue efforts.  A Search and Rescue planner has also been activated and deployed to the Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center.  There are four Emergency Planners Liaison Officers deployed to the National Response Coordination Center in support of FEMA and Fort Polk, LA has been designated as a Federal Team Staging Area.  The command activated Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, LA, to validate, plan and coordinate potential DOD support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD's support of potential life-saving and response operations.
  • U.S. Northern Command deployed their Southwest Navy Regional Mass Communications team to the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in New Orleans, LA.
  • The Department of Energy (DOE) is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. DOE and local area utility companies are gathering a workforce of more than 12,000 electricity workers from over 24 states to assess the situation and begin energy restoration efforts once the storm passes.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continues to support the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Emergency Operation Centers and FEMA Regions IV and VI Regional Response Coordination Centers to organize response efforts, deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. USACE's commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams are in Louisiana and others are placed on alert status to support Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.  USACE teams are working with the State of Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish to assist in the flood fight of locally owned levees experiencing overtopping from Isaac.  Teams on the ground are providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding.
  • More than 4,100 National Guard forces in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana are on State Active Duty prepared to respond to Hurricane Isaac.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deployed two Federal Medical Stations to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La., to serve as medical special needs shelters for residents. To provide medical care for sheltering residents, HHS deployed five commissioned corps officers from the U.S. Public Health Service and two 50-person Disaster Medical Assistance Teams from the National Disaster Medical System. HHS also is providing additional staff and a cache of medical supplies to assist the evacuating patients in Louisiana and there are more than 100 ambulances and more than 300 paratransit seats in Baton Rouge to move patients.

Previous daily recaps:

Isaac update 5: August 29 recap

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coast guard planning
(Mobile, Ala., Aug. 29, 2012 - Lt. Audie Andry, Lt. Cmdr. Rob Donnel and Lt. Matthew Hunt, MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter pilots from Aviation Training Center Mobile, Ala., look over charts before flying into hurricane affected areas after being pre-staged in Houston on Aug. 28, 2012.)


We continue to work closely with our federal, state, local and tribal partners as Isaac impacts portions of the Gulf Coast. As we mentioned in our blog post earlier today that included safety tips, flooding and power outages remain significant threats from Isaac, even though it was recently downgraded to a tropical storm.  

Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since yesterday’s update:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

  • The President was briefed by DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Knabb on the current impact of the hurricanes and federal government response and recovery actions.
  • President Obama, joined by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb, convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
  • Secretary Napolitano also called Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to talk with them about preparations ahead of the arrival of Isaac and to offer any support they might need.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was on the ground in Louisiana, where he visited the state emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, met with Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
  • Secretary Napolitano also called Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to talk with them about preparations ahead of the arrival of Isaac and to offer any support they might need.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was on the ground in Louisiana, where he visited the state emergency operations center in Baton Rouge, met with Governor Bobby Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.   

national guard photo
(August 28 - Personnel in the National Guard Command Center in Arlington, Va., monitor the progress of Tropical Storm Isaac as it makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico. The NGCC, which serves as a hub that provides an overall tracking and coordination of National Guard elements, has gone to 24 hour operations in preparation for Isaac making landfall. Isaac's predicted path has it hitting the Gulf Coast region sometime Tuesday or Wednesday. U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jon Soucy.)

  • FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. 
  • The Department of Energy (DOE), is the designated Federal Sector-Specific agency directing Emergency Support Function12 (ESF-12) activities for the Energy Sector under the National Response Framework. DOE has teams of responders specializing in energy infrastructure and coordinating with deployed personnel, other Department offices, and Federal and State and local agencies in responding to the emergency. 
  • FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command deployed four UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters from Fort Campbell, KY and two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters from Norfolk Naval Air Station, VA, to assist in search and rescue efforts.  A Search and Rescue planner has also been activated and deployed to the Baton Rouge Emergency Operations Center.  There are four Emergency Planners Liaison Officers deployed to the National Response Coordination Center in support of FEMA and Fort Polk, LA has been designated as a Federal Team Staging Area.  The command has activated Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, LA, to validate, plan and coordinate potential DOD support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD's support of potential life-saving and response operations.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard will resume initial response activities aimed solely at saving or protecting lives, to include evacuating people from the affected area, as soon as weather permits, and will continue to monitor conditions at all impacted ports. 
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) continued to support the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana Emergency Operation Centers and FEMA Regions IV and VI Regional Response Coordination Centers to organize response efforts, has deployed Emergency Power Teams to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. USACE's commodities, debris, and temporary roofing teams have deployed to Louisiana and others have been placed on alert status to support Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.  USACE teams also have been closely working with the State of Louisiana and Plaquemines Parish to assist in the flood fight of locally owned levees experiencing overtopping from Isaac.  Teams on the ground are providing technical assistance, such as hydraulic modeling and finding available portable pumps, to reduce flooding. 
  • The American Red Cross (ARC) has provided shelter to more than 5,200 residents Tuesday night at about 80 shelters in six states from Florida to Texas as Hurricane Isaac made landfall along the Gulf Coast. Also, ARC deployed about 2,700 trained Red Cross disaster workers across the Gulf to run shelters, serve meals and distribute relief items. The Red Cross pre-positioned 311,000 ready-to-eat meals, kitchen support trailers and truck loads of relief supplies with clean up and personal hygiene items, cots, blankets, coolers, shovels, tarps and gloves. In addition, the Southern Baptist Convention had mobile kitchens capable of producing thousands of meals a day staged across the Gulf Coast alongside the Red Cross. Just outside the storm area, 187 emergency response vehicles were ready to move into affected communities as soon as weather conditions allow.  Local shelter locations are available at http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter
  • Mississippi National Guard responded to Hurricane Isaac with approximately 1,500 members from across the state including military police and others with civil support abilities that would enable them to assist local authorities in recovery and relief efforts.  Guard members scouted potential sites for the distribution of food and water and established communications with the various local authorities.  Louisiana National Guard pre-staged approximately 680 troops and assets across the New Orleans metropolitan area in order to better protect the community and its citizens as Hurricane Isaac churns toward the Gulf coast.  In order to quickly respond to possible high-water evacuation or search and rescue missions, Soldiers from the 769th Engineer Battalion, 225th Engineer Brigade, staged Humvees hitched with boats at Jackson Barracks.
  • FEMA's Congressional Affairs Division hosted a Congressional Briefing via conference call in conjunction with NOAA's National Weather Service for the Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi Congressional delegations, Congressional Asian, Black and Hispanic Caucuses and our Authorizers and Appropriators.  The purpose of the call is to provide an update on the latest track of Hurricane Isaac and FEMA's current posture and preparations going forward.
  • FEMA's Private Sector Representative in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C. continues to engage National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) members requesting store open/closed status from impacted areas.  Additionally, the NBEOC will host a call at 2:30 PM EST followed by Region Private Sector calls.

Previous daily recaps:

 

Isaac Update 4: Safety Tips

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louisiana isaac planning meeting

(Baton Rouge, La., Aug. 29, 2012 -- Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal leads the Louisiana Unified Coordination meeting in response to Hurricane Isaac. To his right is FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, who was on the ground in Louisiana to meet with state and local officials as Isaac moved through the area.)

As we continue to monitor the effects of Hurricane Isaac, we remain in close contact with state emergency management partners in Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana as we continue to work with federal, state, local and tribal officials in providing assistance in response to the storm.  As Hurricane Isaac continues to bring strong winds and heavy rain through the Gulf Coast, we wanted to share some safety tips for those who may be in an area experiencing severe weather. 

Isaac is bringing significant amounts of rainfall, so flood safety is key.  We urge residents in coastal and inland areas to monitor local TV, radio or your NOAA weather radio and be alert to the possibility of the risk of flooding and flash flooding.  As always, listen to the instructions of local officials.  If they give the order to evacuate, do so immediately (and remember to take your pets with you).  Here are a few additional flood safety tips:

  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
  •  Flood safety terms
    • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
    • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
    • Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
    • Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Power outages are being reported in the impacted area, so here are some tips to keep in mind before and during a power outage:

Before

  • Ensure you have a battery-powered or hand cranked radio to listen for emergency updates and news reports.
  • Have flashlights or electric lanterns on hand to provide light; candles may add a spark of adventure during power failures, but they are dangerous fire hazards. Flashlights and electric lanterns require batteries so consider, during extended outages, keeping a supply of extra batteries.
  • Remember, microwaves will not work! It’s important to keep a three- to 14-day supply of water and of nonperishable food such as ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, canned juices, milk, and soup. Additionally, have a hand-operated can opener available. FEMA recommends one gallon of water per person per day.

During

  • If using a portable generator during a power outage, it should always be operated outside, away from doors and windows to avoid dangerous carbon monoxide.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
  • During the winter, let the sun warm rooms during the day and close shades and curtains at night.
  • Avoid plugging emergency generators into electric outlets or hooking them directly to your home's electrical system - they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
  • When the power comes back on, wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances, to help eliminate problems that could occur if there's a sharp increase in demand. If you think electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call your local power company.

Remember, this storm will likely impact inland areas, so even if you don’t live in a coastal area the possibility of experiencing flooding, tornadoes, power outages and high winds from Hurricane Isaac still exists. We encourage all residents in the states of Isaac’s projected path to visit www.Ready.gov for more safety tips and to stay safe as the storm moves through.

Isaac Update 3: Ongoing Response Efforts

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secretary napolitano at fema

(Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino hold a briefing with FEMA Regions in regards to Hurricane Isaac preparations.)

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meets with MEMA Director Robert Latham (left) and Mississippi Gov. Bryant (center) to discuss Hurricane Isaac preparations. FEMA continues to support state and local partners as communities along the Gulf Coast prepare for Hurricane Isaac.

(FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate meets with MEMA Director Robert Latham (left) and Mississippi Gov. Bryant (center) to discuss Hurricane Isaac preparations. FEMA continues to support state and local partners as communities along the Gulf Coast prepare for Hurricane Isaac. Dan Watson/FEMA)

We continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local partners as Hurricane Isaac makes landfall across the Gulf Coast.  Earlier today, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb briefed the President on ongoing preparations for the storm, and the expected track.  This afternoon, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for the State of Mississippi in advance of the storm’s landfall, and yesterday, President Obama also signed an emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana.
 
The declarations make federal support available to help save lives, protect property, and preserve public health and safety in designated counties and parishes.  In Louisiana, federal partners continue to support the needs of the local and state officials to ensure access to buses, paratransit for people with access and functional needs and ambulances.

Scores of ambulances staged in Baton Rouge await orders to deploy to help Louisiana residents as Hurricane Isaac threatens to make landfall along the Gulf Coast. The State of Louisiana, FEMA, and other federal agencies are working closely, ready to respond where needed. Gina Cortez/FEMA

(Scores of ambulances staged in Baton Rouge await orders to deploy to help Louisiana residents as Hurricane Isaac threatens to make landfall along the Gulf Coast. The State of Louisiana, FEMA, and other federal agencies are working closely, ready to respond where needed. Gina Cortez/FEMA)

In advance of the storm, FEMA placed four Incident Management Assistance Teams and liaisons on site at emergency operations centers in Gulf states and moved two Mobile Emergency Response Support teams and additional commodities to pre-positioned locations closer to the potential impact areas.  FEMA also has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has established supply sites in Shelby, Miss., Meridian, Miss. and Pineville, La. closer to potentially affected areas.   Finally, Texas Task Force-1, a federal urban search and rescue team has been deployed to Louisiana.  Other support teams have been identified and are ready to deploy as needed and requested. 

As the Administrator mentioned yesterday, forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for significant rainfall for much of the Gulf Coast as a result of Isaac.  As a result, flooding is likely to occur.  We urge coastal and inland residents to be familiar with flood and flash flood terminology and safety tips:

  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • The National Weather Service is the official source for weather information and severe weather watches and warnings, so follow your forecast at http://www.weather.gov/ on your computer or http://mobile.weather.gov/ on your phone.
  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

As Gulf Coast residents prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Isaac, our partners at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service urges everyone to make food safety a part of their preparation efforts:

  • Store food on shelves that will be safely out of the way of contaminated water in case of flooding.
  • Group food together in the freezer — this helps the food stay cold longer.
  • Have coolers on hand to keep refrigerator food cold if the power will be out for more than 4 hours.

Finally, if the high winds and rain from Isaac cause the power to go out, remember these tips:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if you keep the door closed.
  • A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if half-full).

Read the USDA blog post for a full list of food safety tips.

secretary napolitano at fema

(Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, visits the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA Headquarters in response to Hurricane Isaac.)

The FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center has been activated. The RRCC puts all key emergency personnel needed to initiate response to a disaster in a unified center for federal agencies to deploy assets and work with state emergency managers until a field office can be established. FEMA/Tim Burkitt

(The FEMA Region IV Regional Response Coordination Center has been activated. The RRCC puts all key emergency personnel needed to initiate response to a disaster in a unified center for federal agencies to deploy assets and work with state emergency managers until a field office can be established. FEMA/Tim Burkitt)


The following is a full timeline of some of the key activities and events for today (see yesterday’s activities):

  • President Obama signed an emergency declaration for the State of Mississippi, in advance of Tropical Storm Isaac, making federal support available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, in designated coastal counties, for an incident period beginning August 26 and continuing.
  • The President was briefed by DHS Secretary Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Knabb on preparations for the storm, and the expected track.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • This afternoon, the President's emergency declaration for the state of Louisiana, in advance of Isaac's landfall, was amended to add the parishes of Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Cameron, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Franklin, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Pointe Coupee, Rapides, St. Helena, St. Martin, St. Mary, and West Baton Rouge.
  • FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, established Incident Support Bases at Camp Beauregard in Pineville Louisiana and in Shelby, Mississippi and in Meridian, Mississippi to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. 
  • A FEMA Disability Integration Specialist is on the ground in Baton Rouge, LA to continue to reach out to disability groups in the area to support information sharing and ensure our response efforts fully includes individuals with access and functional needs.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has deployed a small command-and-control team and two Disaster Medical Assistance Teams in support of potential post storm health care needs, as well as personnel to support the activation of the FEMA ambulance contract to evacuate patients in Louisiana if needed.
  • The Corporation for National and Community Service has deployed more than 100 AmeriCorps members to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida, with additional deployments expected in the coming days.  Serving through the American Red Cross and other organizations, AmeriCorps members are supporting sheltering operations in Hattiesburg, Miss.; Pensacola, Fla.; and Baton Rouge, Madisonville, and Tangipahoa parishes in Louisiana.  In New Orleans, AmeriCorps members are assisting the city in providing evacuation and preparedness information to the public. In Jackson MS, AmeriCorps members are assisting the United Way in providing preparedness information to the public.  In Hancock County, Miss., volunteers worked to assist disabled seniors secure their homes and properties in preparation of the storm's landfall.
  • Amtrak reported that service to and from New Orleans is suspended until Wednesday, August 29, due to the forecasted hurricane landfall of Tropical Storm Isaac. No alternate transportation is available to and from New Orleans and the three cities where Amtrak service will temporarily originate and terminate.
  • The American Red Cross has opened many shelters along the Gulf Coast states.  To find an open shelter, please visit https://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.
  • The Department of Energy has deployed staff to the FEMA National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, DC, the FEMA IV Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) in Atlanta, GA,the FEMA VI RRCC in Denton, TX, and the Florida Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Isaac Update 2: August 27 Recap

Author: 

(For the latest Isaac update, visit the Hurricanes category on the blog.)

At the direction of President Obama, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is coordinating the federal government's support and preparations in states potentially affected by Tropical Storm Isaac. Earlier today, the President was briefed by FEMA Administrator Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on preparations for the storm, and the expected track. Following the briefing, the President convened a call with Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. The President made clear that he has directed Administrator Fugate to make sure the Governors have the resources they need as the storm approaches, and asked each Governor to identify additional needs if they arise.

In advance of the storm, FEMA has placed four Incident Management Assistance Teams and liaisons on site at emergency operations centers in Gulf states and has moved two Mobile Emergency Response Support teams and additional commodities to pre-positioned locations closer to the potential impact areas.  Other support teams have been identified and are ready to deploy as needed and requested. 

Earlier this afternoon, President Obama signed a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana due to Tropical Storm Isaac, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in coastal parishes.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and other federal officials have had calls with governors and tribal and local leaders to discuss their preparations for the storm and to ensure they had no unmet needs.   

At all times, FEMA maintains commodities including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, to support states if needed and requested.  FEMA has distribution centers in Atlanta, Ga. and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, has prepositioned supplies in Jacksonville, Fla. and Montgomery, Ala., closer to potentially affected areas.  

FEMA and its federal partners, through the FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. and its FEMA Regional Response Coordination Centers in Atlanta, Ga., and Denton, Texas, will continue to monitor Tropical Storm Isaac and remain in close coordination with state, tribal and local officials in potentially affected areas to provide any support requested.

"States, tribal and local governments continue to provide direction to residents and individuals along the Gulf Coast.  FEMA encourages individuals to follow the direction of these officials, and if told to evacuate, do so.  Now is the time to check your family emergency plan, contact information and check your emergency supplies.  Information is available on Ready.gov or Listo.gov," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "FEMA and its federal partners remain in close coordination with states and tribal governments across the Southeast, and has teams on the ground in each of the potentially affected states to provide support as needed, and additional teams are on alert to deploy, if requested."

Below is a timeline of some of the key activities and events that have occurred since Tropical Storm Isaac first threatened Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on its path to the Gulf of Mexico:

Monday, August 27, 2012

  • President Obama signed a pre-disaster emergency declaration for the State of Louisiana due to Tropical Storm Isaac, making available federal support to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in coastal parishes. The emergency declaration for direct federal assistance for emergency protective measures covers the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.
  • The FEMA activated the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., a multi-agency coordination center that provides overall coordination of the federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, to support state requests for assistance from Gulf Coast and Southern states.  FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states. 
  • According to the 5:00 p.m. NOAA National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to the Alabama-Florida border, including metropolitan New Orleans, Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Alabama-Florida border to the Aucilla River; and for the Intracoastal City to Morgan City, Louisiana.  A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the east of Sabine Pass to west of Intracoastal City, Louisiana.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video-teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • FEMA has Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and liaisons on site at the state emergency operations centers in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.  Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) teams are also on the ground in Florida and Alabama to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations, and with any potential requests for assistance.
  • FEMA's Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Jacksonville, Florida, and Montgomery Alabama, continue to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. 
  • "Hurricane Hunters" from the Air Force Reserve's 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron continue to do aerial reconnaissance on the storm and relay critical data to National Weather Service forecasters in Miami.  Sophisticated onboard instruments and small canisters are dropped by parachute to the ocean's surface collect accurate measurements of the storm's location and intensity and feed the data continuously to the National Hurricane Center via an onboard satellite link. In addition, the aircraft sends automated messages every 10 minutes, relaying barometric pressure, wind speed and direction, and other measurements.  The Hurricane Hunter aircraft are doing more than three missions a day, now that the storm is approaching 300 miles from the U.S. Coast. 
  • The U.S. Coast Guard advised Gulf Coast residents to move their vessels to protected areas where they will be less likely to break free of their moorings or to be otherwise damaged. Boats that can be placed on a trailer should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those mariners who leave their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets, emergency position indicating radio beacons, and fenders. Also, if residents have hazardous materials on or near the water, residents are responsible for any spills that may occur. U.S. Coast Guard urges residents to take the necessary precautions to secure these materials prior to any foul weather.
  • U.S. Northern Command has activated portions of their Region VI Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), and Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to validate, plan and coordinate potential Department of Defense (DOD) support of FEMA's hurricane response operations and to facilitate DOD support of life-saving and response operations. 
  • FEMA's Private Sector Representative in the National Response Coordination Center (NRCC) in Washington, D.C. continues to engage National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) members; keeping them informed of federal efforts in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.
  • FEMA Region IV held a private sector conference call to discuss current activities at the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC), and relayed updates from Gulf Coast state partners. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

  • President Barack Obama was briefed by FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and National Hurricane Center Director Dr. Rick Knabb on the projected track and timing of the storm as well as steps being taken by the Administration to support potentially impacted states.  
  • Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano spoke with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to discuss the city's preparations for the storm.
  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, DC remained elevated to its 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests for coastal states.  FEMA Region IV and Region VI Response Coordination Centers (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia and Denton, Texas remained activated to coordinate any requests for federal assistance, if requested by the potentially affected states. 
  • FEMA's Region IV Private Sector liaison deploys to the Florida Division for Emergency Management Operations Center to embed with Emergency Support Function for Business and Industry.
  • FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMAT) and liaison officers are deployed to the Alabama and Mississippi emergency operations centers to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. 
  • FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Montgomery, Alabama to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested. 
  • FEMA Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) arrived at the Florida Division for Emergency Management Operations Center.  MERS is a flexible response asset that provides self-sufficient, mobile communications, logistics, and operations capabilities required for the on-scene. 
  • Three FEMA Mobile Communications Office Vehicles (MCOVs) arrived at the Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida.  MCOVs are multi-purpose central office facilities that are activated to support FEMA and on-scene emergency management personnel.
  • FEMA Incident Management Team (IMAT) and a pre-designated Federal Coordinating Officer is present at the Louisiana State Emergency Management Agency Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge to coordinate with state and local officials and to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.
  • The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas due to Tropical Storm Isaac.  According to the 11:00 a.m. National Weather Service advisory, a Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef and the Florida Bay.  A Hurricane Watch is in effect for east of Morgan City, Louisiana to Indian Pass Florida including Metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.  A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef; the Florida west coast and the Florida Panhandle from north of Bonita Beach, FL to Indian Pass, FL including Tampa Bay; and Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach.  As of 11 am, tropical storm conditions are occurring in the Tropical Storm Warning area along the Florida East Coast; tropical storm conditions are expected to spread northward along the west coast of Florida and into the eastern Florida Panhandle tonight and Monday.  Hurricane conditions are possible in the Hurricane Watch area along the North Coast on Tuesday, with tropical storm conditions possible by Monday night.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard sets port condition Zulu to the Port of Miami, Port Everglades and Port of Palm Beach in anticipation of Tropical Storm Isaac.  The ports will remain closed to all incoming and outgoing vessel traffic until directed by the Captain of the Port.  The U.S. Coast Guard also sets port condition Yankee for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee to all inbound commercial vessel traffic due to the approach of Tropical Storm Isaac.  The U.S. Coast Guard urges owners of larger boats to move their boats to inland marinas where they will be less vulnerable to breaking free of their moorings or damage. Smaller boats should be pulled from the water and stored in a place that is not prone to flooding. Those who are leaving their boats in the water are reminded to secure life rings, life jackets and small boats.
  • The American Red Cross has opened more than a dozens of shelters in Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. To find an open shelter, please visit http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter

Saturday, August 25, 2012

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a conference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • FEMA Region IV Incident Management Assistance Team arrives to the Florida Emergency Operations Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.  The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center (RRCC) located in Atlanta, Georgia continued to be activated to Level III and a FEMA liaison remains in the Florida State Emergency Operation Center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.
  • FEMA Region VI Response Coordination Center (RRCC) was activated to a Level III (partial activation) to monitor the storm and proactively support any potential needs or requests from Louisiana or Texas and deployed the Regional Incident Management Assistance Team to the State of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP).
  • The NOAA National Weather Service issued several severe weather watches and warnings for coastal areas in Florida.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Florida Keys (including the Dry Tortugas), the west coast of Florida from Bonita Beach southward to Ocean Reef, and for Florida Bay.  A Hurricane Watch also is in effect for the Florida east coast from Golden Beach southward to Ocean Reef.   A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida east coast from Sebastian Inlet southward to Ocean Reef, and for Lake Okeechobee. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Florida east coast north of Sebastian Inlet to Flagler Beach, and for the Florida West Coast north of Bonita Beach to Tarpon Springs.
  • U.S. National Park Service announced the closure of Big Cypress National Preserve in Ochopee, Florida beginning at 12:00 noon Eastern.  These closures are conducted in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture advised coastal residents in states who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Tropical Storm Isaac.  USDA offered tips to help residents protect the health of these animals in the event of power outages, flooding and other issues that can be associated with strong storms.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • The FEMA Region IV Response Coordination Center located in Atlanta, Georgia is activated to Level III and maintains a FEMA liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response.
  • FEMA, in coordination with U.S. Northern Command, established an Incident Support Base (ISB) in Jacksonville, Florida to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather, allowing the federal government to quickly move supplies throughout nearby affected states, should they be needed and requested.  U.S. Northern Command also deployed the Region IV Defense Coordinating Officer and support staff elements to Florida in support of preparations. 
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends coastal residents include food safety as part of your preparedness plan.  Power outages and flooding that often result from weather emergencies compromise the safety of stored food, and planning ahead can minimize the risk of food borne illness. USDA food safety tips include having a cooler on hand to keep refrigerator food cold in case of power outage, and to group food together in the freezer; this helps the food stay cold longer.  Additional food safety preparedness tips can be found at USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service's website www.fsis.usda.gov .
  • The NOAA National Weather Service issued tropical storm watches for the Florida Keys including the Dry Tortugas, the Florida East Coast south of Jupiter Inlet, the Florida West Coast south of Bonita Beach, Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee. 
  • FEMA, NOAA and the American Red Cross hosted a conference call with staff members of the Congressional delegation from Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, to provide updates on the storm forecast, federal preparations underway and sheltering and response efforts being undertaken by the American Red Cross and volunteers.
  • The American Red Cross is preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. There are 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles already in Florida and 28 more are moving into the state in advance of the storm with an additional 78 on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship emergency supplies if necessary.
  • U.S. National Park Service announced the Biscayne National Park closes in Preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac.  The temporary shutdown is conducted in accordance with its Hurricane Plan and in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.
  • U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in preparation for Tropical Storm Isaac urged federal firearms licensees and federal explosives licensees and permittees to be prepared and protect their merchandise and facilities.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  The conference had the participation of emergency management leadership from potentially affected states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
  • The FEMA National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) conducted a conference call with nearly 100 private sector members.  The NBEOC is intended to provide the private sector with enhanced information-sharing capabilities during disaster response and recovery.
  • The U.S. Coast Guard captain of the port set hurricane condition Whiskey for the Port of Key West, Fla.   A heightened condition in which hurricane force winds are possible within 72 hours. All commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and all tank barges greater than 200 gross tons desiring to remain in port must arrange safe mooring. They shall also complete an application and submit it in writing within 24 hours to the Coast Guard Captain of the Port to remain in port. Commercial vessels and barges greater than 500 gross tons and tank barges greater than 200 gross tons departing the port must depart no later than 24 hours prior to the arrival of gale force winds.
  • The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. continued an elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Florida. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

  • FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate held a video teleconference call to discuss the latest developments with the National Weather Service, partner agencies and regional representatives to assess their needs and readiness.  Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency and Florida Division of Emergency Management participated on the call.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) deployed a Regional Emergency Coordinator to the Puerto Rico. HHS was monitoring the storm and was prepared to deploy federal public health and medical resources if requested by the commonwealth or by the state of Florida.
  • FEMA, through its Regional Office in Atlanta, Ga. and Caribbean Area Division, had been monitoring Tropical Storm Isaac in the eastern Caribbean Sea, and had been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA), Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) and the Florida Emergency Management Agency.  
  • FEMA Region IV Liaison deployed to the Florida Division of Emergency Management to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls potentially impacting disaster response.
  • FEMA Region II RRCC remained activated with the presence of Emergency Support Functions from Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency Logistics and Resources, U.S. Health and Human Services, Mass Care and U.S. Department of Energy.
  • The FEMA National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. was elevated to a 24/7 enhanced watch to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
  • FEMA's Caribbean Area Division activated Emergency Support Functions to critical help identify potential needs and gaps in the areas of transportation, public works and engineering, mass care, logistics and resources, public health and medical services and energy. 
  • FEMA continued to maintain ongoing contact with Congressional delegations that could have constituents who reside within potentially-impacted storm zone impact areas of Tropical Storm/Hurricane Isaac's projected path.

 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

  • FEMA, through its Caribbean Area Division, is monitoring Tropical Depression #9/Tropical Storm Isaac in the central Atlantic Ocean as it moves towards the eastern Caribbean Sea, and has been in close coordination with Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) and Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA).
  • The Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) that supports Caribbean activities remained activated, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
  • In advance of the storm, FEMA proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with commonwealth/territory and local officials, should additional support be requested, or needed.  Additionally, FEMA had liaisons in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands emergency operations centers, to further strengthen coordination. These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged, year-round, at FEMA's Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico. 
  • American Red Cross liaisons coordinated with Region II Regional Response Coordination Center, Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency and Virgin Island Territorial Emergency Management Agency RCC, PREMA, and VITEMA. Call downs of its volunteers and the preparation of shelter teams for the USVI were conducted. Region II is coordinating with government and non-profit partners to support shelter operations, including feeding and logistics.
  • NOAA National Weather Service issued a public advisory to indicate that a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Warning are in effect for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

  • FEMA Region II's Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) activated to a Level III (Partial Activation) to support Caribbean activities, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Emergency Support Functions in the areas of Transportation, Public Works and Engineering, Mass Care, Logistics and Resources, Public Health and Medical Services and Energy are represented in support of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

  • FEMA Region II activated and started deploying a contingent of the Region II Incident Management Assistance Team to Puerto Rico in anticipation of events related to Tropical Depression 9/Tropical Storm Isaac.  IMAT members help with coordination, should emergency response assistance be needed.
  • U.S. Northern Command deployed Region II Defense Coordinating Officer (DCO), Defense Coordinating Element (DCE) and service Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officers (EPLO's), compromised of specially trained experts to assist in disaster response, to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to assist FEMA in assessing if DOD's unique capabilities will be required.

Isaac: Closely Monitoring Storm’s Progress

Author: 

(Update below was posted at 6:30 p.m. EDT, Monday, August 27. Find the latest Isaac update at the Hurricanes category on the blog.)

This evening, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for Louisiana, making federal assistance available to assist state and local governments with the preparation and response efforts to the effects of Tropical Storm Isaac. The President’s action authorizes FEMA to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.  Assistance has been made available to save lives and protect property and public health and safety in parishes of Ascension, Assumption, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, and Washington.

According to today’s forecasts from the National Hurricane Center, Isaac continues west-northwestward and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves through the Gulf of Mexico.  Isaac is expected to continue to move over the eastern Gulf of Mexico today and approach the northern Gulf Coast tomorrow.   Forecasts from the National Weather Service are calling for significant rainfall for much of the Gulf Coast as a result of Isaac.  As a result, flooding is likely to occur.  We urge coastal and inland residents to be familiar with flood and flash flood terminology and safety tips:

  • Driving through a flooded area can be extremely hazardous. Almost half of all flash flood deaths happen in vehicles. When in your car, look out for flooding in low lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips. As little as six inches of water may cause you to lose control of your vehicle.  Remember – turn around, don’t drown.
  • The National Weather Service is the official source for weather information and severe weather watches and warnings, so follow your forecast at www.weather.gov on your computer or http://mobile.weather.gov on your phone.
  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Watch: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: Rapid rises on streams and rivers are occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

I’d like to remind everyone that this is not just a storm for New Orleans – this is a storm that will affect a large area around the Gulf Coast.  That means those in several cities, counties, and states will be affected by high winds, heavy rains, flooding, and possible power outages.  With that said, here’s a quick update on what we’ve been doing since our last update:

  • This morning, we activated the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C., that provides overall coordination of the Federal response to natural disasters and emergencies, to support state requests for assistance from Gulf Coast states. 
  • Our Incident Management Assistance Teams remain on site at the state emergency operations centers in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi.  These teams are working with our state partners and are at the ready for potential requests for assistance.
  • Mobile Emergency Response Support teams have also deployed to Florida and Alabama to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to state response operations, and with any potential requests for assistance.
  • In advance of the storm, we moved basic commodities – like water, meals and blankets - closer to the potentially affected areas.  These supplies remain ready to quickly deploy if they are requested and needed by our state partners.

 


(Update below was posted at 12:10 p.m. EDT, Sunday, August 26)

The latest 5-day forecast track for Isaac, courtesy of the NOAA National Hurricane Center:

isaac five day forecast track

Reminder: The area in the cone above shows where the center of the storm may pass – individuals living anywhere within the cone should pay close attention to the latest forecasts for the direction of the storm.

New severe weather watches and warnings continue to come out from the NOAA National Weather Service as Isaac moves closer to the U.S.  Isolated tornadoes are possible in some areas of Florida today, so be sure to follow local TV and radio reports for your local forecast (also at weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov).  In addition, a hurricane watch has been issued for much of the Gulf Coast, stretching from the Florida panhandle westward to Morgan City, Louisiana (this includes New Orleans and Lake Ponchartrain.

A few operational highlights from this morning:

  • We have an Incident Management Team at the Emergency Operations Center in Louisiana to assist the state with coordination and any potential requests for assistance,
  • We are deploying an Incident Management team and liaison to Alabama to strengthen coordination, and
  • We are deploying a liaison to the Mississippi Emergency Operations Center as well.
  • Local officials have opened several shelters in Florida.  Contact your local emergency management office to learn about shelters in your area.
    • Or you can search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).  In addition, the American Red Cross also maintains a list of shelters at http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter.
    • Before you go to a shelter, always check with your local emergency management agency for availability & services.

And as a reminder for those who may be in the path of Isaac, you can get hurricane safety tips right on your phone by downloading these useful apps:

 


(Update below was posted at 4:00 p.m. EDT, Saturday, August 25)

 fork lifts moving supplies
Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 24, 2012 -- These forklift operators are loading meals onto a truck at the Atlanta Distribution Center to be shipped closer to areas that may be impacted by Tropical Storm Isaac. FEMA moves commodities and equipment before the storm arrives to ensure quick delivery after the storm has passed.

According to NOAA’s National Weather Service update at 2 p.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to strengthen and become a hurricane tomorrow as the storm approaches the Florida Keys and parts of Florida.  Many areas in Florida are currently under severe weather watches and warnings due to Isaac, and here’s a reminder on what those terms mean:

  • A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions (sustained winds over 74 mph or higher) are expected within 36 hours. 
  • A Hurricane Watch, in this case, means that hurricane conditions are possible within the next 24-36 hours. 
  • A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds over 39 mph or higher) are expected within 36 hours. 
  • A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours. 

For those in the potentially affected area, here are a few safety reminders:

  • Follow the direction of local officials.
  • Have a safe place to go as the storm passes.
  • Secure your property – clear loose or clogged drains, bring in outdoor furniture, decorations, or garbage cans.
  • Isaac is forecast to bring heavy rains: Don’t drive or walk through flooded areas. Remember: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.

In Florida, the National Parks Service has closed the Big Cypress National Preserve, including all licensed commercial services and visitor services, until the passage of the storm. These closures are conducted in the interest of public safety, and to ensure park staff concentrates completely on securing and protecting park resources and facilities.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also offering these tips to coastal residents who have livestock and pets that might be affected by Isaac:

Livestock Safety

  • Make sure barns and structures where live­stock can be sheltered are in good repair. If more space is needed for your stock, make arrangements for the use of other sheltering facilities in close proximity to your facilities.
  • Calculate the feed and water requirements to maintain livestock and poultry during an emergency.
  • Make preparations for protecting feed and water supplies and providing emergency electrical power if necessary.
  • If possible, cover feed and forage stored outdoors with a tarp or plastic sheeting. Routinely cover open water supplies, such as troughs and stock tanks.

Pet Safety

  • If you have not been ordered to evacuate, make sure you have enough pet food and water on hand to feed your pets during an emergency. 
  • An emergency pet shelter might be available near the human emergency shelter, check with your local emergency management agency to find the nearest emergency pet shelter to you. Do not stay behind with your pet if state or local officials order you to evacuate.
  • Pet owners should be prepared to provide the following information to pet shelter workers if possible: name; species and breed; sex; color; distinctive markings; age; microchip identification number; vaccination records; health conditions and required medication.

For additional safety tips for your livestock and pets, visit: www.usda.gov/disaster & www.ready.gov/animals.

From an operational perspective, today, we deployed an Incident Management Assistance Team to the Louisiana emergency operations center, and we’ve had a liaison in the Florida emergency operations center since Thursday to assist the state with coordination and any potential requests for assistance.  As a follow-up from yesterday’s update, we coordinated with U.S. Northern Command to establish an Incident Support Base in Jacksonville, Florida to proactively stage commodities closer to areas potentially affected by severe weather.

meeting in fema region four
Atlanta, Ga., Aug. 24, 2012 -- FEMA Deputy Administrator Richard Serino and Region IV Administrator Phil May participate in a video teleconference with FEMA Headquarters, the National Hurricane Center, and other FEMA regions to discuss preperations for Tropical Storm Issac.

  


(Update below was posted at 5:00 p.m. EDT, Friday, August 24)

meeting about tropical storm isaac
Washington, D.C., Aug. 22, 2012 -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano meets with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to discuss Tropical Storm Isaac’s progress.

Yesterday, the storm passed to the south of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, however, a flash flood watch remains in effect for parts of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. While the exact track of the storm is uncertain, the National Weather Service forecasts severe weather associated with Isaac may begin to affect parts of coastal Florida starting as early as this evening through Sunday.  This includes the potential for high winds, heavy rain and rough surf. 

If you are a resident or plan on visiting coastal Florida, here are some reminders:

  • Check your family’s emergency supply kit – make sure you have food, water, medications, and other necessities to sustain you and your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Follow the direction of local officials –any evacuation orders come from local officials, so follow their guidance. When it comes to swimming, follow local warnings as well. Even the best swimmers can fall victim to the strong waves and rip currents caused by storms.
  • Keep up to date with local conditions – follow TV and radio reports from your area, or visit www.weather.gov (http://mobile.weather.gov on your phone) for the latest forecast.
  • Remember food safety – power outages and flooding may happen as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane, so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer.

We will continue to work closely with our partners at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels as we prepare for the effects of Isaac.  Even if you don’t live in a hurricane-prone area, you can learn how to prepare for the natural or man-made events that could happen in your area at Ready.gov.
 


(Update below was posted at 6:20 p.m. EDT, Thursday, August 23)

Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center and National Weather Service are calling for the storm to pass Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands today, with total rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches (with a maximum amount of 10 inches possible) in parts of the commonwealth and territories.

As we’re sure those in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are watching Isaac closely, the main threat at this time is flooding.  Remember – avoid walking or driving through flooded areas – it only takes six inches of fast-moving flood water to knock over an adult and two feet to move a vehicle.  Also, flooding can happen two ways: gradually or very suddenly.  If there is any possibility of the sudden kind, otherwise known as a “flash flood”, move immediately to higher ground. 

And as you follow your local weather forecast through local TV and radio, here are some flood terms to be familiar with:

  • Flood Watch - Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Watch - Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Flood Warning - Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Flash Flood Warning - A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

FEMA has activated an Enhanced National Watch in Washington, DC, as well as the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) that supports Caribbean activities, to proactively support any potential needs or requests from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Florida. Today, we deployed a liaison to coordinate with the Florida Division of Emergency Management as Isaac moves towards the mainland U.S.   

We’re also making sure our commodities are in order and ready to go, if needed.  We maintain supplies, including millions of liters of water, millions of meals and hundreds of thousands of blankets, strategically located at distribution centers throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Looking ahead

Here’s the latest 5-day forecast track from the NOAA National Hurricane Center:

five day forecast track from national hurricane center

At this time, it is still too early to know where the storm could pose a threat to the U.S. Coast.  History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so we’re encouraging coastal residents to monitor weather conditions and make sure you’re taking steps to prepare your home, family, or business.  For example, take today to replace any expired food or water in your emergency kit, and make sure you have enough supplies (including medications) for your family and pets.

Useful links

What to do before, during, and after a hurricane or tropical storm

Latest Isaac forecast from the National Hurricane Center

 


(Update below posted 5:30 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, August 22)

We continue to closely monitor Tropical Storm Isaac through both our Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico and Regional office in New York City.  Forecasts from the National Hurricane Center predict potential severe weather may begin as early as Thursday, in some areas of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Along with our federal partners, we are urging residents to take steps to prepare for severe weather, such as possible high winds, flooding, and possible power outages.

Here’s the latest 5-day forecast track of Isaac, courtesy of the NOAA National Hurricane Center:

five day forecast track from national hurricane center

Reminder: The area in the cone above shows where the center of the storm may pass - the effects of the storm will not be confined to the area within the cone.

What we’re doing

In advance of the storm, we have proactively deployed Incident Management Assistance Teams to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to coordinate with territory and local officials, should additional support be requested or needed.   Additionally, we have liaisons in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico emergency operations centers to further strengthen coordination.   These assets supplement federal resources and personnel that are staged year-round at FEMA’s Caribbean Area Office and Caribbean Area Distribution Center located in Puerto Rico. 

Residents or visitors in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands

  • Listen to the instructions of local officials. Local officials make decisions on sheltering in place or going to your pre-designated safe meeting location.
  • Have important supplies ready to sustain you and your family, if needed.  This includes a battery-powered radio, flashlight, extra batteries, cell phone charger, medicines, non-perishable food, and first aid supplies.
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest forecast – Follow local radio and TV reports, as well as forecasts from the National Hurricane Center.  
  • For more tips on what to do before a hurricane or tropical storm, visit Ready.gov/hurricanes on your computer, m.fema.gov on your phone, or download the FEMA app from your smartphone’s app store.

Residents or visitors in Florida, the Gulf Coast, or the East Coast

At this time, it is still too early to know whether the storm could pose an immediate threat to the U.S. Coast.  History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly, so FEMA encourages coastal residents to monitor weather conditions and take steps now to get prepared for potential severe tropical weather.  Since the storm is still a few days away, now is the time to check your emergency kit and family plan.
 

Useful links

What to do before, during, and after a hurricane or tropical storm

Latest Isaac forecast from the National Hurricane Center

Effective Hurricane Preparedness Requires All of Us Working Together

Author: 

People often ask me why FEMA no longer calls people with disabilities and other people with access and functional needs “vulnerable” or “special needs”?

The answer is straightforward: it’s the people who fail to prepare who are the ones who are most vulnerable in disasters. When people with disabilities have a plan for disasters and are prepared, they are in a much better position to ensure that they have the best possible outcomes during and after a disaster such as a hurricane. With approximately 50% of the population having access and functional needs, those needs are not special, they are simply what the whole community needs to address when planning for disasters.

FEMA’s Office of Disability Integration and Coordination has been working closely with our partners and stakeholders in the disability community during this Hurricane Preparedness Week to spread the word about preparing for hurricanes, severe weather and other disasters. Last week, we held a call with representatives from the disability community and you can listen to the podcast and see the transcript from that call here.

Unfortunately, people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs aren’t always included in their community’s emergency preparedness efforts. Whether you have access and functional needs yourself or know of others who do, we ask that you Be A Force of Nature and help your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors to make sure they’re prepared for the next hurricane or severe weather event. Consider becoming more involved in local, regional, and state emergency management efforts. In this respect, full inclusion in community preparedness efforts ensures that no one is “special” or has “special needs”. Rather, everyone is working together towards a fully prepared community.

In the following video, Neil McDevitt, our Disability Integration Communications Specialist, joins me in talking about how the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination is working with our internal and external partners to enhance awareness of preparedness for the whole community and we’re also talking about steps we’re taking personally to prepare for hurricanes this year.

FEMA encourages all individuals in hurricane-prone areas to know your risk and make a pledge to prepare at www.ready.gov/hurricanes. You can complete your emergency preparedness plan, update your emergency kit and Be a Force of Nature and share your preparedness efforts with family, friends and Community partners.

The Seven Rights of Hurricane Season Preparedness

Author: 

What’s the first thing you think of when someone says “hurricane supplies”? Maybe it is water, or batteries, or first aid supplies - all standard items in preparedness kits. What happened to those items before you purchased them? Someone had to buy the components, ship them, assemble the product, pack it, store it, ship it, store it again, market it, and finally, sell it to you. The companies providing those services, and you, the end consumer, are all part of a supply chain.

Now think about the things we use in disaster response – sandbags to stop rising floodwaters, food and water distributed in mass care operations, life-saving medicines used by first responders, even toys and games used by care-givers at shelters to give children a safe, low-stress environment. Imagine yourself as a disaster survivor needing those items, and the importance of resources to provide supply chain activities in emergency response hits home in a hurry. In fact, it is the success or failure of supply chains – the availability of life saving resources - that determines the magnitude of a disaster.

It is said that “information has to be accessible to be actionable”. In disaster response, the product has to be where it is needed to be useful. In supply chain management, we talk about the “seven rights” - the right product has to be delivered to the right customer, at the right time, at the right location, in the right condition, in the right quantities, at the right price. In a post-disaster scenario, a failure in any of those “rights” means that survivors don’t get the products and services they need, and the party responsible for product the products gets a black eye.

To ensure the “rights” are all met, we must ensure resiliency in both our commercial and disaster response supply chains. Yes, we need to pre-position products, but we also need to pre-position relationships that can be called upon when primary sources are inaccessible. We have to eschew rigid hierarchical structures and look for innovative, but secure, solutions. Like sharing for-profit private sector delivery networks, or using affinity groups to identify alternate sources. Creative answers are out there; we just have to ask the “whole community” to help us find and implement them.

At the American Logistics Aid Network, we harness the know-how and resources of the supply chain industry to bring relief to disaster survivors. ALAN connects relief organizations and emergency agencies responding to disasters with donations of transportation services, staging areas, warehouse storage, expert advice, and other vital resources. Visit www.ALANAid.org to learn more about our organization.

Preparing for this Year’s Hurricane Season

Author: 

Editor's Note: This blog was originally posted on the White House Blog.

Today marks the start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Under the direction of President Obama, FEMA and DHS stand ready to support our state and local partners as the tropics start to produce their annual cyclones, storms, and hurricanes. On Wednesday, I joined Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano as well as partners from NOAA, DOE, the Army Corps of Engineers, and representatives from states and the private sector to brief the President on steps FEMA and our partners have already taken to meet the challenges of the 2012 hurricanes season. That briefing underscored the importance of the whole community, from the federal government to individual citizens, working together to get prepared before a potential storm threatens a region, state, or community.

Long before the start of this year’s hurricane season, FEMA has worked closely with our partners at the state, local and tribal levels. This includes openly sharing information and expertise that will improve resiliency across our nation, cities, towns, neighborhoods, and families. For FEMA, building relationships before a disaster strikes is vital to working closely together during and after an emergency situation.

But government doesn’t prepare for and respond to disasters alone. Right alongside are the hundreds of businesses, voluntary agencies, and faith- and community-based organizations who provide vital services to both communities and individuals affected by disasters. Some of these organizations provide for basic needs like food, water, and shelter – while others respond to needs such as financial consulting, animal sheltering, or help processing your insurance claim.

While all the players I mentioned play a part in keeping our nation and neighborhoods safer in case disaster strikes – these efforts will fall flat unless individuals take part in their own preparedness. Fortunately, the short amount of time and effort it takes to make our families and homes safer is well worth the payoff if an emergency should happen. For example, here are three simple steps you can take today:

So as we move into the traditional start of the Atlantic hurricane season, I encourage you to respond to the important role you play as part of the emergency management team. You can start with one of the three steps I listed out above, or by pledging to prepare at Ready.gov/hurricanes.

Target: Preparedness helps build strong, healthy, and safe communities

Editor's Note: The views expressed by Bryan Strawser do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.

At Target, ensuring our guests, team members, local communities, and our facilities are prepared for emergencies is a critical part of what we do on Target’s Global Crisis Management Team.

Target’s Corporate Command Center, or “C3”, operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, monitoring events around the globe that could impact our guests, team members, and local communities. C3 keeps in close contact with teams across the country so that we can prepare for, and quickly respond to, almost any situation.

We believe that the more guests and team members are prepared in advance of a disaster, the easier it is for communities to quickly recover. People who are prepared required fewer services from relief agencies, allowing organizations to concentrate their efforts on those most affected by a disaster.

We help our team members prepare for disaster at home by providing tips on how to keep themselves and their family's safe. We provide an emergency hotline they can call if they are affected by a disaster. Target also provides education and resources so that Target team members are prepared to help Target respond to and recover from disasters that may affect our company and our communities.

Target has plans in place for all of our facilities to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recovery from disasters. At Target, we believe that if we as a company can recover quickly from disasters that affect our company and team members, we are better able to help our communities get back on their feet quickly. We also know that by doing so, we’re able to help lift the load off of our public sector partners.

Our planning combined with the real time monitoring and response capability within our Corporate Command Center allows Target to ensure that our stores and local communities have the supplies they need before and after a disaster hits. For example, during Hurricane Irene last year, we quickly shipped pre-staged merchandise in our distribution centers to stores from the Carolinas up to our northernmost stores in Maine. This helped our guests and team members have the emergency supplies that they needed to prepare for and respond to the disaster.

We don’t do any of this alone. Target has a long standing commitment to providing support for disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery efforts. One of our most important partners is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), with whom we share information before, during, and after a disaster strikes. In advance of a disaster, information from FEMA helps us understand the potential impact and make preparedness decisions to ensure our guests and team members are safe. During and after a disaster, we share information on the recovery of our stores and assistance that we’re providing to the local community with FEMA, while receiving additional information that helps us quickly recover our stores and local communities.

Learn more about Target’s Command Center in this recent story by Minneapolis TV Station KARE-11.

Bryan Strawser is Target’s Senior Group Manager for Global Crisis Management. He leads a diverse team of executives in a comprehensive effort to mitigate risk, minimize loss and business disruptions, and provide a safe and secure environment for Target and the communities it serves. His areas of responsibility include business continuity management, crisis operations, global intelligence, and Target’s two corporate command centers.

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