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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: Cathy S. Haynes
I don’t remember what it was like to work in emergency management prior to Hurricane Hugo. In a strange way, it was the beginning for us and an experience we still remember today. At 6 a.m. on September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo was heading for Charleston County and the evacuation order was in full effect. The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center, located in a small cinder block building with a metal warehouse attached, was fully activated. The actual room where we worked was plain and unhardened, hardly enough to withstand a Category 4 storm. Hugo made landfall at 10 p.m., and just...
Posted On: September 19, 2014
Author: Yajaira Reyes
Portland prides itself as a “green city,” of so it’s no surprise that it’s known as “America’s biking capitol.” Portland’s enthusiasm for biking goes beyond just helping the environment, however. It also helps the city prepare for emergencies.Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) initiative is a unique effort designed to employ the use of bicycles to carry cargo in case of a disaster to maneuver people and supplies to safety without worrying about gasoline, flooding or other unpredictable conditions.  Our team, FEMA Corps Blue 5, had the opportunity to witness this when we supported...
Posted On: September 8, 2014
Author: Beth A. Freeman
What you do, choose not to do, perhaps even hesitate to do is based on two conditions: the planned and the unplanned. For example, when you notice your gas tank is low on fuel as you leave work one evening, what do you do? You stop for gas, either on the way home or first thing in the morning. Why? Because you plan on going to work the next morning and you’ll need fuel to get there.Now let’s consider an unplanned wrinkle in your evening of plans and normalcy. You’ve fueled up and headed home, going about your evening as planned. It was your night to cook dinner as your spouse was running late...
Posted On: September 5, 2014
Author: Christina Randall
In City of Colorado Springs, the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI)- areas where human development is close to natural terrain and flammable vegetation, covers more than 28,800 acres and includes a quarter of our population.  Two years ago this week, the Waldo Canyon Wildfire, the most costly fire in Colorado history, hit neighborhoods across Colorado Springs and destroyed 347 homes. The effects were devastating to our community and we are still rebuilding two years later.  However, the losses avoided in some areas such as the Cedar Heights neighborhood, are a testament to the fact...
Posted On: June 27, 2014
Author: Roy Wright
One year ago, on May 20, 2013, Moore, Oklahoma experienced a deadly tornado that devastated the area. Less than one year from the event new homes became safer.On April 17, 2014, Moore, Oklahoma, became the first in the nation to establish building code requirements to make residential buildings able to withstand the forces of an EF2 tornado. Building Code Amendments stand out as a great example of managing risk and improving building safety.The code amendment, including requirements for roof sheathing, hurricane straps and stud spacing, is designed so that the homes can withstand winds up to...
Posted On: May 29, 2014
Author: Gwen Camp
Do you know what you would do during a disaster? Do you know if your community is at risk of tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires or flood?Only about two-in-five Americans say that they have a plan for what to do in an emergency. We need to change that. That’s why on April 30th, individuals, organizations, and communities will come together to prepare for emergencies on the very first National Day of Action: America’s PrepareAthon!America’s PrepareAthon! is a nationwide, community-based campaign to increase emergency preparedness and resilience through participation in hazard-specific drills,...
Posted On: April 9, 2014
Author: Shane Cohea
On a typical Sunday in May, I enjoy attending Journey Church and spending time with the family. May 19, 2013 was not a typical Sunday.The National Weather Service had been reporting as early as May 16 that May 19 and 20 could be deadly.For the past 15 years, I have been coaching, leading, and requiring Norman Regional Health System’s 2,500 employees to have a plan to protect themselves and our patients. At the time we had 3 hospitals: Moore Medical Center (MMC) in Moore, Okla. and 2 hospitals 8 miles south in Norman, Okla.  Normally, my family travels the 20 miles with me to the hospital...
Posted On: March 5, 2014
Author: Ken Murphy
Portland Oregon is one of the coolest prepared cities in the Pacific Northwest. They continue to find fun and innovative approaches to make themselves and their community a safer place to live. A bicycle friendly city, they are the creators of the Disaster Relief Trials, which is an event designed for cyclists of all levels, where through a series of challenges the participants showcase how bikes can be used to respond to a major disaster (such as an earthquake) to transport food, water and supplies to support their communities.  This event is a homegrown, community driven practice...
Posted On: February 28, 2014
Author: Mike Sharon
Sounds like it could be a new Ready Campaign, doesn’t it?  But, actually, it’s the tag line for this year’s FIRST Lego League (FLL) Competition challenge: “Nature’s Fury.” Here’s the background: In early fall of each year, FLL releases their challenge, based on a real-world scientific topic. Teams of up to ten children, along with an adult coach, enter the challenge and compete by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (The Project Presentation) guided by FLL Core Values...
Posted On: January 23, 2014

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