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Texas Tornadoes Update 2: Joint Preliminary Damage Assessments Continue in Dallas-Fort Worth

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Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment teams, consisting of local, state, FEMA and Small Business Administration representatives are continuing to survey tornado damage in Tarrant County, Texas today. We’re standing shoulder to shoulder with our state partners and will continue to do so until all affected locations requested by the state have been assessed.

Texas, April 6, 2012 --Preliminary Damage Assessment teams fanned out across the Dallas Fort Worth area in the aftermath of the Tuesday tornadoes. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, (r) is Joined JOhn Nelson, of FEMA (L) and Ruby Dailey (c) of Texas Department of Emergency Management.

Texas, April 6, 2012 -- Preliminary Damage Assessment teams fanned out across the Dallas Fort Worth area in the aftermath of the Tuesday tornadoes. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, (r) is Joined John Nelson, of FEMA (L) and Ruby Dailey (c) of Texas Department of Emergency Management.

These “PDA teams” aren’t just looking at the numbers of damaged and destroyed homes, but we’re also gathering information on the impact to these communities as a whole. In a past blog post, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate mentioned that our states have developed robust capabilities to respond to these events. With those capabilities in mind, our partners and teammates at the federal, state, tribal, and local level, as well as voluntary agencies and the private sector bring many types of aid with them to assist in times of need. So we are also looking at whether or not there are enough resources within the state and communities, along with insurance to meet the needs of those that have been impacted.

Throughout much of the day, teams will be walking through tornado-ravaged cities and towns, knocking on doors, and talking to as many residents as possible.

Lancaster, Texas, April 6, 2012 -- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (r) leads state and federal team members through a tornado stricken neighborhood as part of the damage assessment process. Joint preliminary damage assessments are ongoing following the tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Lancaster, Texas, April 6, 2012 -- Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins (r) leads state and federal team members through a tornado stricken neighborhood as part of the damage assessment process. Joint preliminary damage assessments are ongoing following the tornadoes that struck the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Obviously, the teams won’t be able to talk to every single survivor. So if you’ve been impacted and you don’t see one of our teams, make sure to report your damages to local or state officials. These reports will be shared with the PDA team and cross-referenced with the street report, then all of the information will be considered for the assessments.

While assessments are ongoing, you should clean up as needed and be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible and file a claim.

As the teams speak with disaster survivors, they will be asking about whether the damage to homes will be covered by insurance. Often, levels of insurance can be a major consideration when determining whether a state should request a FEMA declaration. Ultimately FEMA cannot duplicate benefits like insurance.

As Administrator Fugate has mentioned before, insurance is often the first and best way of protecting your family and property from disaster. Depending on the coverage limits, disaster survivors may be made far more whole by their insurance policy than they would from supplemental federal disaster assistance.

In any event, it’s always a good idea for survivors to keep receipts of any disaster-related expenses such as lodging, medical, repair and cleaning supplies, etc. You may also want to make a list of the major items that have been damaged such as utilities, appliances, furniture, and personal property.

If you have immediate needs such as shelter, food, water, clothing, etc., you should seek help from the local voluntary and faith-based groups in your area.

The PDA teams are working as quickly and as safely as possible to complete the assessments, so that next steps can be taken by local and state officials.

Monitoring the Tornadoes and Standing By to Support the State of Texas

Denton, Texas, April 3, 2012 -- FEMA Region 6 Planning Section Chief Eddie Pack works in the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) as tornadoes and severe weather move through the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Photo by FEMA/Stephanie Moffett
Denton, Texas, April 3, 2012 -- FEMA Region 6 Planning Section Chief Eddie Pack works in the Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) as tornadoes and severe weather move through the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Photo by FEMA/Stephanie Moffett


 
As severe weather and tornadoes move through the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we are supporting the state of Texas and have been in constant contact with our state partners at the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).

We are actively monitoring the situation from our regional office in Denton, TX and we have activated an Incident Management Assistance Team to support the state, if needed and requested.

We encourage everyone to continue to listen to their local officials for information and instruction during and after the storms. After the storms pass, we advise community members to be careful when entering structures that have been damaged; to wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris; and to not touch downed power lines or objects that are in contact with downed lines.

While we have already seen damage in and around Dallas County, Texas, this storm continues to move and could potentially impact parts of Arkansas. Remember, as severe weather moves into other areas, continue to listen to your NOAA weather radio and local weather forecasts, and be familiar with these terms:
 

  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.

Again, please listen and cooperate fully with public officials.  We’ll provide more updates as needed.

Meeting the Needs of Disaster Survivors with the Help of the Whole Community

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We are continuing to work closely with the states that were affected by the recent wave of severe storms and tornadoes in the Midwest and South. In response to those storms, the President has approved major disaster declarations in Kentucky and Indiana making federal aid available to supplement state and local recovery efforts. This federal assistance can provide funding to help eligible individuals and families recover. In Illinois, we are working closely with state officials on joint preliminary damage assessments to help determine the impacts to local governments and public infrastructure.

While federal assistance is an important step in helping people recover from events like the ones we saw recently, it is not always the best or only alternative. State and local governments have developed robust capabilities to respond to and recover from events. And we rely on the whole community’s participation, including the help of the public preparing for and insuring against the uncertainty of disaster.

The Stafford Act provides the process for a Governor to seek a disaster declaration from the President. By submitting a written request to the President through FEMA, a Governor certifies that the combined local, county and state resources are insufficient and that the situation is beyond their capability to recover.

When FEMA joins the state on joint preliminary damage assessments prior to a request - as we have recently in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia - we are looking at things like assistance that is available from other federal agencies - like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, charitable organizations, volunteers and other private interest groups. It is also important to know that we are looking at damage that would potentially be eligible for FEMA assistance.

As I’ve said before, the level of insurance can often be a major consideration when determining whether a state should request a FEMA declaration. Ultimately FEMA cannot duplicate benefits like insurance. In fact, insurance is often the first and best way of protecting your family and property from disaster. Depending on the coverage limits, disaster survivors may be made far more whole by their insurance policy than they would from supplemental federal disaster assistance.

Based on the factors I mentioned, FEMA might review a Governor’s request for assistance and determine that the damage is not beyond the capabilities of the county, city and state to recover. If and when this happens, that’s not necessarily the end of the story, in terms of federal government assistance.

The decision means that the state can proceed to work directly with other federal agencies that can help through their own authorities. These agencies include the Small Business Administration, HUD, Department of Agriculture and others, as well as voluntary agencies.

FEMA and our federal government partners stand ready to assist communities when needed. When the whole community comes together to respond to and help recover from these events - neighbor helping neighbor – we can often meet the needs of everyone, even when FEMA financial assistance is not determined to be necessary.

Recent Tornadoes Highlight the Efforts of State, Tribal, and Locals to Respond to the Needs of Survivors

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While FEMA always stands ready to assist our governors and emergency management partners during an emergency, we are not always the only or best option. By leveraging the strengths and capabilities of the entire team we can more efficiently and effectively meet the needs of disaster survivors. These storms, while tragic, also highlight the incredible work of local and state responders and the leadership of Governors to exercise the robust capabilities of their state to recover.

I talk a lot about this and how FEMA – while part of the team – is not the whole team. In looking at the most recent storms in the Midwest and South, I’m once again reminded and encouraged about how this concept works and the different resources available. There are many types of aid that our partners and teammates at the federal, state, tribal, and local level, as well as voluntary agencies and the private sector bring to assist in a time of need. You also hear us talk about our whole community approach to emergency management. It means we are all in it together. Neighbor helping neighbor – meeting the needs of everyone, even when FEMA assistance is not available.

Often when states choose not to pursue or do not receive a disaster declaration there may be other federal resources available to assist residents that have a need. In the aftermath of these recent storms, we’ve seen examples from across the affected areas of states finding resources to meet their citizens’ needs without the need for federal disaster assistance from FEMA. A specific example is housing. By looking at a state’s own resources identified in a state housing strategy, the state can often identify vacant housing units for eligible survivors. Federal partners, like HUD and the USDA Rural Development can start the process of identifying vacant housing in conjunction with the state without any special federal declaration. For homeowners and business, a state can also apply for assistance from the Small Business Administration. SBA provides low interest disaster loans to homeowners, renters, and businesses that have been affected in an SBA declared disaster. Based on a survivors income and eligibility these disaster loans might be just want is needed to repair, rebuild and move forward.

And let’s not forget that individuals are a large part of the team. Taking proactive steps to purchase insurance can minimize a person’s exposure to the uncertainty of disasters. When FEMA supports states in joint preliminary damage assessments, one the biggest considerations we look at is whether people that were affected have insurance. The level of insurance can often be a major consideration when determining whether a state should request a FEMA declaration. Its also important to remember that even when a FEMA disaster declaration is made, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits. Insurance is the first and best line of defense and even where FEMA’s Individual and Public Assistance programs are made available, we do not provide assistance for damage that would otherwise be covered by insurance.

Even in the absence of a FEMA disaster declaration and after insurance claims have been paid, there might still be a need to address some unmet needs. So we look to another member of the team, voluntary organizations. As we highlighted a few days ago, this past year alone, the American Red Cross aided survivors and communities in response to storms, flooding, fires and tornadoes in 46 states and territories. But, the voluntary agencies that come to the aid of survivors include many more than the American Red Cross. Local organizations, faith based groups and access and functional needs partners often meet the needs without needing to go outside the community. For more information on Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters, take a look at one of our past blog posts by Deborah Ingram, Assistant Administrator, Recovery Directorate where she wrote about engaging voluntary agencies before, during, and after a disaster.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families as they continue to recover from the tornadoes and severe weather. FEMA and our federal government partners stand ready to assist communities when needed. But, as states recover from these recent storms, I want to applaud the wonderful work they are doing to meet their citizens needs.

Update 8: Overview of Response and Support Efforts to the Severe Weather


Since the deadly tornadoes first struck last week, FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, Ga., has been in close contact and coordination with the impacted states. The administration, through FEMA, is closely monitoring storm impacts and remains in close contact with emergency officials in impacted states across the country to ensure that any unmet needs are addressed. FEMA and its partners have teams on the ground in hard hit areas, and are prepared to deploy additional teams and resources, if needed by the states.

Last week, President Obama spoke with the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes, and offer condolences to families who have lost loved ones. DHS Secretary Napolitano spoke, Saturday, with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee following the storms that affected these states.

The following is an overview for Monday, March 5:



  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, Ga., continues to closely monitor conditions in the areas affected by severe weather, and has been in close coordination with state and local officials. FEMA continues to stand ready to support the states, as requested.
  • Regional Administrator Phil May is in Kentucky, and meets with Emergency Management Director John W. Heltzel for updates on the state response efforts there.
  • Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) Team proactively deploys to Kentucky to provide secure and non-secure voice, video, and information services, operations, and logistics support to response operations, if needed.
  • At the request of the states, FEMA preliminary damage assessments are underway in Kentucky, Illinois, and West Virginia. These assessments are an important step in identifying the damages in impacted counties and will help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • At the request of the state, FEMA deploys teams to Ohio to assist with joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • Community relations teams deploy to Tennessee to assist with situational awareness following the storms in support of the state and governor, as requested.
  • FEMA continues to monitor winter weather across the Mississippi Valley that may impact response operations or disaster assessments.

See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.

Update 7: Overview of Response and Support Efforts to the Severe Weather


Since the deadly tornadoes first struck, this past week in the Midwest, FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, GA, is in close contact and coordination with the impacted states. The administration, through FEMA, is closely monitoring storm impacts and remains in close contact with emergency officials in impacted states across the country to ensure there are not any unmet needs. FEMA and its partners have teams on the ground in hard hit areas, and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources, if needed by the states.

This past week, President Obama spoke with the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes this week, and condolences to families who had lost loved ones. Yesterday, Secretary Napolitano spoke with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee following the storms that affected these states.

The following is an overview for today, Sunday, March 4:



  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, Ga., continues to closely monitor conditions in the areas affected by severe weather, and has been in touch with state and local officials via a conference call held today.
  • At the request of the states, FEMA deploys teams to Indiana and Tennessee to assist with joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested. These assessments are expected to begin Tuesday, March 6.
  • 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.  An additional 10,000 meals and more than 350,000 additional liters of water are en route to the incident support base strategically located close to the impacted areas. 
  • The preliminary damage assessments for Missouri were completed.  The assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and will help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.   

See yesterday's blog post for a recap of earlier federal activities.

Update 6: Safety Tips When Returning to Damaged Areas

As communities inspect the damage from the storms, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who’ve lost loved ones and whose lives have been affected by the severe weather and tornadoes.

As areas become more accessible, FEMA encourages disaster survivors to be careful around debris and damaged buildings. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines or electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and using extreme care to avoid further hazards.

Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:


  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power.
  • Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper -- or even outside near an open window, door or vent. These sources can cause carbon monoxide (CO) -- an odorless, colorless gas -- to build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
  • Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.
  • Cooperate fully with public safety officials.

When inspecting damages to your home, consider the following tips:

  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
  • In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.
  • If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
  • If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal's office and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.

For more information on how you can protect your family before, during, and after emergencies, visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov. If you have a Blackberry, Android or Apple device, you can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.


Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- Regional Administrator Phil May, Deputy Regional Administrator Mary Lynn Miller and senior staff participate in a coordination call following the deadly tornado outbreak on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3.
Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- Regional Administrator Phil May, Deputy Regional Administrator Mary Lynn Miller and senior staff participate in a coordination call following the deadly tornado outbreak on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3.

Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- FEMA staff in the Atlanta Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) participate in a video teleconference on the anticipated federal role in the response to the deadly tornado outbreak of March 2-3.
Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- FEMA staff in the Atlanta Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) participate in a video teleconference on the anticipated federal role in the response to the deadly tornado outbreak of March 2-3.


The following are a few updates since yesterday's response and support update:

  • At the request of the states of Indiana and Tennessee, we are deploying teams to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments will begin Tuesday, March 6 and the purpose is to identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the respective governors determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • The four teams deployed to Missouri to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments completed their assessments yesterday, Saturday, March 3. The assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and will help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • More than 109,000 meals and 648,000 liters of water are en route to the incident support base that FEMA and the Department of Defense established in Kentucky. The purpose of the incident support base is to stage commodities (meals, water, cots and blankets) close to the impacted areas if needed and requested by the states.

For those looking for ways to help tornado survivors, cash donations to disaster relief organizations are preferred because financial contributions will allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts quickly and provide goods and services that disaster survivors need.

This morning, Administrator Fugate reiterated this point:

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. We recognize that individuals and organizations will want to do what they can to help those affected by these devastating storms. I encourage those who are interested in helping, to do so by supporting the voluntary agencies that are providing disaster relief in affected areas. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters provides information on trusted organizations that provide disaster relief. Again, I encourage you to give generously. Thank you.

 

Update 5: Overview of Response and Support Efforts to the Severe Weather


Updated: March 4 at 4:15 PM EST

Since the deadly tornadoes first struck, this week in the Midwest, FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, is in close contact and coordination with the impacted states. This week, President Obama spoke with the governors of Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes this week, including yesterday and overnight, and condolences to families who had lost loved ones. Today, Secretary Napolitano spoke with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee following the storms that affected these states Friday evening, and overnight.

The administration, through FEMA, is closely monitoring the storms and their impacts and remains in close contact with emergency officials in impacted states across the country to ensure there are not any unmet needs. FEMA and its partners have teams on the ground in hard hit areas, and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources, if needed by the states.

The following timeline provides an overview of these and other federal activities, to date, to support the impacted states, families and communities.

Saturday, March 3


  • President Obama speaks with the governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky to express his concern for citizens impacted by the severe weather and tornadoes this week, including yesterday and overnight, and offer condolences to families who had lost loved ones. The President acknowledges that the extent of damage may not be known for days, and reiterates to each governor that FEMA stood ready to provide assistance, if necessary, to the extensive response efforts already underway in each state, led by the governors' teams.
  • Secretary Napolitano speaks with the governors of Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee in response to the storms affecting the states Friday evening, into Saturday morning.
  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Ill., and Atlanta, Ga., continues to closely monitor conditions in the areas affected by severe weather, and has been in touch with state and local officials via conference calls held daily. (Editor's Note: added March 4, 2012 at 4:15 PM EST)
  • FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. is activated, and its Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicago, Ill. is fully activated to support state requests for assistance. Regional Response Coordination Centers in Kansas City, and Atlanta, are partially activated and monitoring requests for assistance.
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices. Today, the National Weather Service is forecasting a slight risk of severe thunderstorms across the eastern Gulf Coast into the coastal Carolinas. Main threat will be heavy rains across much of the Southeast today.
  • Incident Management Assistance Teams are proactively staged in Indiana and Kentucky to assist in coordination efforts as the states continue to respond and begin to recover from this devastating storm outbreak.
  • 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.A national Incident Support Base is established in coordination with the Department of Defense to stage commodities such as meals, water, cots and blankets in strategic locations close to the impacted areas, if needed and requested by the states. More than 98,000 meals and 146,000 liters of water are en route to the incident support base.
  • A FEMA liaison to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center, participates in aerial assessments of the hard hit areas in Indiana.
  • The Private Sector Representative from Wal-Mart is working in the National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. to gather situational updates, to communicate and coordinate with private sector entities.
  • The Department of Energy, as of 9:00 am, reports there are currently more than 139,000 customers without power in the impacted states.
  • U.S. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Distress Helpline is available for those impacted by the storms. Trained and resourced crisis counselors can be reached 24/7 from anywhere in the impacted region by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting 'TalkWithUs' to 66746. More information is available online.
  • More than 15 Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster are providing emergency assistance including sheltering, feeding, distribution of emergency supplies, debris cleanup, and mental and spiritual care to impacted states.

Friday, March 2


  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, continues to closely monitoring conditions in the areas affected by severe weather, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA’s Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicagi is fully activated to support state requests for assistance.;Regional Response Coordination Centers in Kansas City, and Atlanta, are partially activated and monitoring requests for assistance
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • Joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel are underway in 17 Missouri counties. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • A FEMA Disability Integration specialist is deployed as part of the preliminary damage assessment team in Branson, Mo., and has been working to assess the needs of people with disabilities and those with access and functional needs.
  • At the request of the states, FEMA deploys teams to Illinois and West Virginia to assist with joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments are scheduled to begin Monday, March 5.
  • Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels declares a state of emergency, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator, Andrew Velasquez is in constant communication with Indiana emergency management officials.
  • FEMA deploys a liaison officer to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center to provide support to the state, to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond to the devastating storm outbreak.
  • An Incident Management Assistance Team is deployed to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center.
  • Kentucky Governor Beshear declared a state of emergency, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.

Thursday, March 1


  • President Obama calls Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, and Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to hear about the response efforts underway and determine if federal support is needed.
  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, Chicago, and Atlanta, closely monitor conditions in Midwest states affected by severe weather, including tornadoes, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • Illinois Governor Pat Quinn declares a state of emergency for the southern third of the state of Illinois, making state response and recovery resources available to the impacted areas.
  • The State of Illinois requests joint preliminary damage assessments for eight counties. FEMA is deploying teams to begin assessments on March 5, as requested. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • The State of Missouri and the Small Business Administration have comprised a team of private sector specialists to conduct assessments of impacts on the business community of Branson, Missouri. A FEMA private sector representative is on the team.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon orders the National Guard deployed to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery.
  • In Kentucky, local states of emergency are in effect for Muhlenberg, Larue and Morgan Counties.

Wednesday, February 29


  • FEMA is in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Beth Freeman has reached out to the governors of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.  FEMA’s regional office in Kansas City, has been in constant contact with officials at the Kansas Department of Emergency Management, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency since the severe weather hit.
  • FEMA Regional Administrator Andrew Velasquez III reached out to the Governor of Illinois and is in constant communication with the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Director Jon Monken. FEMA Region V is also in communication with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and continues to monitor the situation.
  • Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declares a state of emergency in Missouri in response to severe storms. The governor’s emergency declaration makes available state government resources, such as personnel, equipment and facilities, to support and assist disaster response operations.
  • Prior to severe weather, FEMA had staff in Springfield, Ill., participating in a planning workshop. Two FEMA staff members remain at the state emergency operations center to monitor the situation alongside the state.
  • The Missouri Business Emergency Operations Center, located at the Missouri State EOC, has been virtually activated to facilitate two-way communications between the private sector, SEMA, and FEMA.
  • State emergency management in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana report damage from tornadoes in some areas.
  • At the request of the State of Missouri, FEMA deploys teams to Missouri to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel which are scheduled to begin Friday, March 2. These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • Missouri Governor Nixon has ordered the National Guard deployed to support local law enforcement agencies with emergency coordination and recovery.

Tuesday, February 28


  • FEMA, through our regional offices in Kansas City, and Chicago, is closely monitoring conditions in Midwest states affected by severe weather, including tornadoes, and has been in touch with state and local officials.
  • FEMA stays in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service forecast offices.
  • The Governor of Kansas declares a State of Emergency, which makes available state government resources, such as personnel, equipment and facilities, to support and assist disaster response operations.

Update 4: Responding to the Severe Weather & Ways to Help


Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who've lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storms that hit the Midwest and South.

Our regional administrators have been in touch with state emergency management officials in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee, and at this time, we have not received any requests for federal assistance from the affected states.

In order to support any state requests and to coordinate our response, we've activated our National Response Coordination System in Washington, D.C. and our Regional Response Coordination Center in Chicago.

Earlier, Administrator Fugate remarked:


Our priority, as always, is to make sure that we are here to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe. FEMA has teams on the ground in hard hit areas and is prepared to deploy additional teams and resources if needed by the states. We urge residents in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials. If asked to remain in shelters, homes or safe places or to avoid affected areas, please do so. Roads may be damaged or blocked by debris, and traffic jams can slow emergency managers and first responders in doing their job.

How You Can Help Tornado Survivors

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster, and we know a lot of people are asking the question: how can I help?

Cash donations are the best way to help and we ask that you visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters for a list of organizations that you can feel confident in making a donation to. You can also follow NVOAD on Facebook and on Twitter @NationalVOAD.


Emergency Management Partners Response

The following are some of the things we are doing along with our emergency management partners to respond to the disaster and support the disaster survivors:


  • At the requests of the states, along with the Small Business Administration, we have deployed teams to Missouri and Illinois to assist with preliminary damage assessments.These assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
  • A FEMA disability integration specialist was part of the preliminary damage assessment team in Missouri to assess the needs of people with disabilities and access and functional needs who were displaced from their independent living center.
  • We have proactively deployed a federal coordinating officer to Indiana, who is serving as a liaison to the Indiana Emergency Operations Center to provide support to the state and to assist in coordination efforts as the state continues to respond to the recent storms.Incident Management Assistance Team and eleven community relations teams have also been proactively deployed to Indiana to assist with situational awareness following the storms and to support the state as requested.
  • At all times, we maintain 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 if needed.
  • We have also coordinated with the Department of Defense and established a national Incident Support Base in Kentucky to stage commodities in strategic locations close to the impacted areas, if needed and requested by the state. More than 98,000 meals and 146,000 liters of water are en route to the Incident Support Base.
  • Many local governments and voluntary agencies, such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, are providing shelter to disaster survivors who have been displaced from the storms.

We urge residents in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials and take the recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue. Listen to state and local officials who ask you to remain in shelters, homes or safe places until they give the “all clear” to travel. Roads are very likely to be damaged or blocked by debris, and traffic jams slow emergency managers and first responders as they attempt to reach hard-hit areas.

Visit Weather.gov and mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device for the latest weather forecast from the National Weather Service.

Visit Ready.gov or Listo.gov for more information on tornado and flood safety tips. If you have a Blackberry, Android or Apple device, you can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.

Update 3: Preparing for Continued Severe Weather in the Midwest

As we have all seen on the news and on social media, states throughout the Midwest have been affected by deadly tornado outbreaks over the last few days. State emergency management officials in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee have reported tornado in several areas, and our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who have lost loved ones and those whose lives have been affected by the storms.

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a moderate risk for severe thunderstorms across southern Indiana, southwest Ohio, most of Kentucky, central Tennessee, northeast Mississippi and northwest Alabama today. There is a slight risk of severe weather from near Lake Erie southward to the central Gulf Coast states. The main threats will be tornadoes, widespread damaging wind, large hail and flash flooding. The most significant flash flood threat is from southeast Tennessee into northwest Georgia, northern and central Alabama and east central Mississippi.

As Administrator Fugate often says:

Severe weather can strike when you least expect it. Remember, no matter where you live, it’s important to listen to NOAA Weather Radio and local news and to monitor for severe weather updates and warnings, and follow instructions of state and local officials.

FEMA remains in close contact with our federal partners at the National Weather Service, especially since these storms can sometime occur unexpectedly with little to no warning. Discuss with your family what to do if a watch or warning is issued and if you have severe weather in your area, keep in mind these safety tips:

for tornadoes:

  • Tornado Watch: Tornadoes are possible. Remain alert for approaching storms. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
  • Tornado Warning: A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Take shelter immediately.
  • Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
  • Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings. Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
  • Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report downed power lines and electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
  • After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.

for flooding:


  • 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.

Also, be sure to check your homeowner or renter insurance because most homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage, but most people can purchase flood insurance – including renters, business owners, and homeowners. Individuals can learn more about their flood risk and how to get their flood insurance policy by visiting www.floodsmart.gov.

Visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov for more information on tornado and flood safety tips. If you have a Blackberry, Android or Apple smartphone or tablet, you can download the FEMA app to access safety tips and checkoff items in your emergency kit.

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