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Author: Michael Byrne
Birmingham, AL, June 27, 2011 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate addresses employees at the Joint Field Office in Birmingham. On Monday, Administrator Craig Fugate visited the Birmingham Joint Field Office, underscoring the agency’s ongoing focus on Alabama’s recovery from the April tornadoes. The Administrator toured the state in the immediate days following the storm, meeting with federal, state and local officials and ensuring they had the resources needed to respond and recover.In a series of joint state and FEMA meetings, we briefed the Administrator on the progress made thus far and,...
Posted On: June 30, 2011
Author: Michael Byrne
Today, June 27, marks two months since severe storms and tornadoes – some with wind speeds of more than 200 mph – struck hard. It was a catastrophe unlike any other. Tragically, 241 Alabamians were killed. Thousands were left homeless.Our records show that more than 83,200 disaster survivors have applied for financial assistance from state and federal agencies. Think about that. That’s more than the total population of many good-sized Alabama communities.The Federal Emergency Management Agency was in touch with the governor and the state director of emergency management even before the storms...
Posted On: June 27, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Providing disaster assistance doesn’t mean much if survivors don’t get the help they need. We’ve talked about community relations teams before; the FEMA employees who go door to door to share information on how individuals and businesses owners can apply for assistance, and what assistance may be available.With this spring’s tornadoes, severe storms and flooding, our community relations teams have been busy reaching thousands of disaster survivors. We wanted to share the latest video and photos showing the teams in action.And if you’ve been affected by the recent storms, tornadoes and...
Posted On: June 23, 2011
Author: Michael Byrne
Last week, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency and FEMA hosted the Safer Alabama Summit conference in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The aim of this conference was to get the word out about the important role that safe rooms can play in protecting families and communities, and federal funding that is available to build them. I wanted to share a conversation that was the perfect conclusion to the event.Tuscaloosa, Ala., June 13, 2011 -- Federal Coordinating Officer, Michael Byrne, presents at the Safer Alabama Summit.Following the conference, a woman wanted to know how to apply for a grant to finance...
Posted On: June 22, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Summer begins today - a time for backyard barbeques, trips to the beach and lots of outdoor fun, but it’s also a time when dangerous thunderstorms become more frequent. As a series of thunderstorms move across the U.S. this week (and since it’s also Lightning Safety Awareness Week), we wanted to share a few tips on how to stay safe if a thunderstorm rolls into your area.According to the National Weather Service, hundreds of people are struck by lightning each year, causing countless debilitating injuries and 55 deaths on average. If you hear thunder - even a distant rumble or a crackling...
Posted On: June 21, 2011
Author: Gwen Camp
A few weeks back, I wrote about Walter Maddox, Mayor of Tuscaloosa, Ala., when he was featured in a New York Times story talking about his thoughts just after the devastating tornado struck his town.  In this video, the Mayor spends a few minutes with us discussing how training contributed to a more coordinated response at the local level by following Incident Command (IC) principles. Here’s one particular quote from the Mayor that shows the value of training: If we wouldn’t have gone through this training, it would have been a disjointed effort…we would have had [the police...
Posted On: June 20, 2011
Author: Michael Byrne
As a former New York City firefighter, I’m no stranger to trauma. First responders who have witnessed devastation sometimes can’t get the upsetting images out of their mind. Or sometimes they hear cries for help weeks later. One fire response at a social club in the Bronx more than 20 years ago still stays with me. The fire wasn’t huge, and was contained quickly, but when firefighters went up to the second floor, they found several people had died from smoke inhalation. We were just sick – here they had done everything right and still couldn’t save their lives.A lot of us were shaken up after...
Posted On: June 17, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
As our bloggers frequently mention, recovering after a disaster is a team effort, where the public, private sector, voluntary and faith-based groups, and government agencies work together to address the short and long term needs of individuals and the affected community. There have been countless examples of this team effort in action since this spring’s devastating tornadoes, storms and flooding.We wanted to showcase one of the many dedicated voluntary groups assisting in the recovery efforts in Joplin, Mo. since a deadly tornado struck on May 22. A group of military veterans, named Team...
Posted On: June 15, 2011
Author: Nancy Casper
Rogers, AR, June 4, 2011 --A FEMA Community Relations specialist speaks with a resident during an community event in Rogers, AR. FEMA Community Relations specialists were at the fair to provide residents about FEMA's disaster relief programs and to encourage residents affected by recent flooding or tornadoes to register for assistance.Over a month after FEMA’s arrival in Arkansas following the devastating spring storms and tornadoes, state and federal agencies have rushed over $22 million in assistance to families and communities. While much assistance has come quickly, we still have so much...
Posted On: June 14, 2011
Author: Public Affairs
Even though the national media attention has faded in recent weeks, we continue to fully support the state and local efforts across the southeast and central U.S. due to the tornadoes, flooding and severe storms. The response and recovery efforts are truly a team effort, with federal, state, tribal and local government, faith-based and non-profit groups, the private sector, and the public working together to meet the needs of disaster survivors and the affected community.Here are some of the latest images from our photo library, showing our disaster recovery efforts in action. And if you are...
Posted On: June 13, 2011

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