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Learning How to Register for Disaster Assistance

Since Hurricane Isaac, FEMA has been busy helping survivors get the help they need. We learned that there are several places kids and their families can visit if they need help or have questions. First, we visited a Disaster Recovery Center in Louisiana.

A Disaster Recovery Center is where people can meet face to face with friendly FEMA staff. The people you meet at the center can teach people how they can get help after a disaster. So whether you are looking to learn who may be able to help fix your home or simply looking for information about how the recovery process works, we learned that a Disaster Recovery Center is a great place for people to visit. FEMA and other organizations are standing by ready to assist.

disaster recovery center

Even though we only visited one center, FEMA has set up many other Disaster Recovery Centers in both Louisiana and Mississippi. You can check out the Disaster Recovery Center Locator to find one near you!

If a survivor cannot visit a Disaster Recovery Center, we learned that there are three other ways to register for disaster assistance:

1. We visited, where families can apply online:

applying online

2. We also downloaded the FEMA App, where people can apply on their smartphone:

stella and fema app

3. Finally, people can apply for assistance on the telephone by calling 1-800-621-FEMA.

disaster help line

It is not just FEMA helping disaster survivors - so many groups are working hard to provide survivors with the help they need. We hope you can help us spread the word about all the ways Hurricane Isaac survivors can apply for assistance!

Our visit to the American Red Cross

Even though Hurricane Isaac is gone, there is a lot of work to do!  We’ve been here at FEMA watching all the activity that happens after a disaster to get families back on their feet.  A lot of people in Louisiana and Mississippi need help, and we have learned that it takes teamwork to get them what they need!

FEMA isn’t the only group working to help survivors.  There are a lot of volunteers helping families who have been impacted by Hurricane Isaac.  Volunteers are people who help others for free, because they want to make a difference.  FEMA works with many groups of people who volunteer their time, services, and supplies during disasters.   There have been so many of these helping hands after the hurricane!

One of FEMA’s partners that relies on volunteers to get the job done is the American Red Cross.  Today, we stopped by the Red Cross to see what they are doing to help people after Hurricane Isaac.

stanley and stella at red cross

The Red Cross provides meals, supplies, and shelter to people during and after a disaster.  A shelter is a place where families can stay if their homes are in harm’s way or damaged during a disaster.

red cross shelter

The Red Cross also provides useful things to people after a disaster, like these:

red cross comfort kit

That’s called a “comfort kit”.  It is given out so people can have important things they need, like a toothbrush, comb for your hair, tissues, and a bar of soap. While visiting the Red Cross, we also learned they have trucks that carry food and supplies to the disaster area. 

red cross truck


Here is a map showing where some of the Red Cross trucks are located across the country:

map with location of red cross trucks

There are lots of ways for everyone to get involved and help survivors of Hurricane Isaac.  You can be a volunteer or raise money to give to volunteer groups (like the American Red Cross and other groups that do important work after disasters).  

If you are interested in helping, you and your family can visit the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website at  We were so happy to learn about the work of one of FEMA’s partners that relies on volunteers, and we hope to visit more soon! The work of these groups goes a long way to help families and communities recover from disasters.


Editor’s note: We are providing the following examples for your reference. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, companies or applications.

FEMA Flat Stanley & Stella - Their Emergency Supply Kit

This week, here at FEMA, we have been watching Tropical Storm Isaac in the Caribbean.  This storm has made it very windy and rainy in places like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. However, the storm’s path is still not sure, so it is very important for everyone in the Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S. to be prepared. 

One way kids and their families can be prepared is to build an emergency supply kit.  This kit will be helpful in situations that could be scary.  What if the power goes out at home?  What if bad weather stops you from going to the grocery store for several days? What if your family needs to leave home fast to go to a safer place? 

Build a kit!  We took some time today to add some important supplies to our kit:

flat stanley and stella with their kit

Now it’s your turn!  Here are a few important supplies you should have ready before Tropical Storm Isaac (or any storm) arrives:

  • Food:   Have a three day supply of food that won’t spoil.  Don’t forget food for your pets!
  • Water:  Have a three day supply of water.  Have one gallon of water for each family member, per day.
  • Flashlight:  This will help you see in case your power goes out.  Be sure to keep extra batteries!
  • First Aid Kit:  You can purchase a first aid kit at your local drug store.
  • Weather Radio:  This will help your family stay informed of what is happening outside.
  • Games:   Include your favorite games!  If the TV and internet are not working, you will want some books and games to keep you and your family entertained. 

Visit to find the full list of emergency supplies (or this kid-friendly version).   You can keep these supplies in something as handy as a backpack!   Be sure to keep your emergency supply kit nearby, and make sure everyone in your family knows where it is.  

Even if Tropical Storm Isaac doesn’t come near your home, it is still a great idea for you and your family to prepare an emergency supply kit.  You never know when you might need it! 

Preparing for Earthquakes on the Anniversary of Last Year’s East Coast Earthquake

Today is the anniversary of last year’s earthquake along the east coast – the biggest earthquake to hit the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains.   To remember the importance of preparing for unexpected events, we visited the Washington Monument – it was damaged during the earthquake.  Many of FEMA’s partners also visited the Washington Monument today, including the National Park Service, Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium, U.S. Geological Survey, and representatives from the Virginia and D.C. governments. 

We met with Tim Manning, one of the big bosses at FEMA.  He talks about our visit to the Washington Monument and the importance of preparing for earthquakes and other emergencies.

We learned how to register for the Great Southeast Shakeout which will occur on October 18.  The Shakeout is an earthquake drill where schools and businesses practice “drop, cover, and hold on” – the appropriate steps to take if you feel the ground shaking.  We encourage you to register and participate with us!   

fema flat stanley and stella at washington monument

While we cannot always predict when a disaster will happen, we can at least prepare by practicing what actions to take.   We encourage you to visit to learn even more tips about preparing for earthquakes.

Flat Stanley and Flat Stella Join FEMA

Hi, and thanks for reading our very first blog post. Our names are Flat Stanley and Flat Stella, and we are very excited to be two of the newest employees at FEMA. You’ll be seeing a lot of us as we help kids learn more about disasters and emergencies – a job Administrator Fugate asked us to do!

FEMA does a lot of cool things that you may not know about. By following our adventures around FEMA, we hope to share all sorts of fun facts and photos about staying safe.

So as we start our first day at FEMA, we did what any new employee does – we got our pictures taken for our official badge!

Photo of a cutout cartoon (Flat Stella) taking a picture by the FEMA Photo Badge Office

Photo of a cutout cartoon (Flat Stella) wearing a badge with FEMA personal nearby.

Here we are making our way through security and to our new offices. Our new badges work!

Photo of cutout cartoons (Flat Stella and Flat Stanley) positioned over a signboard that reads Elevated Security Condition 100% ID Check

We're so glad to be here!

Photo of cutout cartoons (Flat Stella and Flat Stanley) positioned near a keyboard and computer (with the FEMA Website webpage open)

Now that we are set up and working, we hope you will continue following our adventures as we travel around FEMA and visit with other people who help keep America safe. When we have some fun and interesting things to share, we will post them on this blog.

If you would like to suggest an adventure or ask us a question, you can comment below, find us on the Flat Stanley Facebook page, the FEMA Facebook page, or even e-mail us at our new e-mail address (!

We are excited about sharing our upcoming adventures!


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