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What We're Watching: 12/6/13

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 Photo from National Weather Service.Image of Winter Storm Forecast.

As we head into the weekend, millions of residents across portions of the southern Great Plains and into the Lower Ohio Valley are being or will be affected by a winter storm. As we’ve already seen from its impact earlier this week, this winter storm system has potential to produce moderate to heavy snow, significant ice accumulations and heavy rainfall.  Not only does this storm present hazardous travel conditions, but there is potential for major and prolonged power outages in the greatest impact areas, due to ice loading on power lines and strong wind gusts.

At this time, there have been no requests for federal assistance; however we stand ready to support our state and local partners as needed. We will continue to closely follow the winter storm and will provide updates as necessary.

We encourage all residents in potentially affected areas to follow the direction of local officials and keep informed of local conditions by monitoring local radio or TV stations for updated weather and emergency information.

For those in affected areas remember, if local officials ask residents to stay off the roads, avoid travel unless it’s an emergency. If you must travel, make sure you have an emergency supply kit in the trunk, ensure your cell phone is charged, and inform a family member or friend of where you are going and the route you plan to take.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind:

  • Ensure you have some basic emergency supplies. Water, batteries, flashlights, non-perishable food are a few examples of things that should be in your emergency supply kit.
  • Check on your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or may live alone to make sure they’re OK.
  • If you lose power, use flashlights for emergency lighting. NEVER use candles due to an increased risk of fire.
  • Have a plan to stay warm should the power go out.  Have extra blankets on hand or have an alternative place to go (if it’s safe to travel).
  • Remember, if the power goes out, banks/ATMs may be offline for some time. Have cash on hand.
  • 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.

Visit Ready.gov/winter for more winter weather safety tips and information.

Stay safe (and warm)!

What We’re Watching: 11/8/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Honoring our Veterans

Photo of American Flag.Photo of American Flag. Attribution: By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Dennis Cantrell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here at FEMA we’re fortunate to have veterans from all five branches of our nation’s military working at headquarters, in our regional offices and on the ground during disasters. We appreciate all that they have done by serving in the armed forces and all that they continue to do with their public service here at FEMA.

This Veterans Day, join us in honoring our nation’s veterans, especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Learn more about the history of Veterans Day.

Pass or Fail – Disaster Preparedness 101

Here at FEMA, we talk a lot about ensuring your family and friends are prepared for an emergency.  Well, recently FEMA’s own Director of Individual and Community Preparedness, Gwen Camp helped a family who thought they may be prepared determine whether they were really prepared for an emergency or not.  And if you think your family can use a review on what it means to really be prepared then head over to Ready.gov to take a few simple steps to get prepared.

Join our Team

Here at FEMA, we’re always looking to expand our team and recruit highly motivated people interested in a rewarding career in emergency management. Here are a few open positions within our Digital Engagement Team:

We’d love for you to join our team! Check out our Careers page to learn more about FEMA and browse through other opportunities that are available throughout the agency.

Have a great and safe weekend!

What We’re Watching: 10/18/13

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Throughout the recent government shutdown, FEMA was committed to supporting disaster survivors. Ongoing response operations to recent disasters have continued because this work is funded by the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF), which did not lapse with other appropriations on September 30, 2013. It will take time for FEMA to get back to business as usual. We ask for your patience in the coming days and weeks as we reactivate all of FEMA’s activities following the government shutdown. Below are some highlights from this past week of FEMA activities.

ShakeOut Time!

The ground shook (figuratively) and we practiced how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On (literally) during the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill yesterday.

Millions of individuals, families, students, teachers, businesses and organizations across the country took part in the ShakeOut.   You may only have seconds to protect yourself in an earthquake, and ShakeOut earthquake drill is a time for people to practice what to do during an earthquake.  So remember, if an earthquake occurs, just DROP under a sturdy table, COVER your head, and HOLD ON until the shaking stops.

Here’s how the ShakeOut played out for a few FEMA staff yesterday:

Lincroft, N.J., October 17, 2013 -- FEMA employees practice how to drop, cover, and hold on during the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.Lincroft, N.J, October 17, 2013 -- FEMA employees practice how to drop, cover, and hold on during the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill.

Although the ShakeOut is over, we encourage you to continue to practice earthquake drills along with other safety drills to prepare your family and friends for an emergency.  And even though the Great ShakeOut was yesterday, you can still be counted as a participant (along with over 18 million Americans) by registering at the Great ShakeOut website.

Visit www.shakeout.org for more information on the ShakeOut and remember, if the ground starts shaking, Drop, Cover and Hold On.

 

Fort Collins, Colo., October 16, 2013 -- Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams working in Big Elk Meadows to register disaster survivors, coordinate outreach efforts.Fort Collins, Colo., October 16, 2013 -- Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams working in Big Elk Meadows to register disaster survivors, coordinate outreach efforts.

Colorado Flood Recovery Continues

We continue to support ongoing recovery efforts underway in Colorado following last month’s flooding. To date, more than 12,500 impacted individuals and families have been approved for FEMA assistance, accounting for more than $44 million in approved assistance. Here are a few photos highlighting the work being done to assist residents during the recovery process.

Fort Collins, Colo., October 16, 2013 -- Denver Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS) deploys a inflatable satellite dish in support of Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) working in the isolated community of Big Elk Meadows to register disaster survivors.Fort Collins, Colo., October 16, 2013 -- Denver Mobile Emergency Response System (MERS) deploys a inflatable satellite dish in support of Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams (DSAT) working in the isolated community of Big Elk Meadows to register disaster survivors.

Loveland, Colo., October 11, 2013 -- FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Community Education Outeach (CEU) specialist Amelia Pino discusses the various programs that FEMA is offering to residents affected by recent flooding at a Lowe's Hardware Store. FEMA is working with local, state, businesses and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by the flooding.Loveland, Colo., October 11, 2013 -- FEMA Hazardous Mitigation Community Education Outeach (CEU) specialist Amelia Pino discusses the various programs that FEMA is offering to residents affected by recent flooding at a Lowe's Hardware Store. FEMA is working with local, state, businesses and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by the flooding.

Jamestown, Colo., October 9, 2013 -- Deane Criswell, FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, and Dan Alexander, FEMA Long Term Recovery Director, look at map which shows the course of the flood waters in and around the Jamestown, CO area. FEMA is working with local, state, volunteer and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by flooding.Jamestown, Colo., October 9, 2013 -- Deane Criswell, FEMA Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, and Dan Alexander, FEMA Long Term Recovery Director, look at map which shows the course of the flood waters in and around the Jamestown, CO area. FEMA is working with local, state, volunteer and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents affected by flooding.

Jamestown, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams arrive via helicopter in the isolated community of Jamestown to help register disaster survivors for disaster assistance.Jamestown, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams arrive via helicopter in the isolated community of Jamestown to help register disaster survivors for disaster assistance.

Jamestown, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams arrive in Jamestown to go door to door to make sure any residents still in town are registered for assistance with FEMA.Jamestown, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams arrive in Jamestown to go door to door to make sure any residents still in town are registered for assistance with FEMA.

Lyons, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- William Lindsey, a FEMA Public Affairs Officer (PIO) talks with a TV reporter who was documenting a housing inspection in Lyons, Colo. FEMA provides housing inspection to eligible FEMA applicants.Lyons, Colo., October 2, 2013 -- William Lindsey, a FEMA Public Affairs Officer (PIO) talks with a TV reporter who was documenting a housing inspection in Lyons, Colo. FEMA provides housing inspection to eligible FEMA applicants.

Lyons, Co, October 7, 2013 -- A Salvation Army volunteer gives a resident food at a temporary disaster recovery site in Lyons, Colo. The town of Lyons experienced significant damage when flood waters hit the town.Lyons, Co, October 7, 2013 -- A Salvation Army volunteer gives a resident food at a temporary disaster recovery site in Lyons, Colo. The town of Lyons experienced significant damage when flood waters hit the town.

What We’re Watching: 9/27/13

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Images of Colorado Flooding & Recovery

As we continue to support the ongoing recovery efforts in Colorado, we wanted to share a few photos of highlighting the work being done to assist survivors. To date, more than 19,000 Coloradans have applied for FEMA assistance, with more than $29 million in approved assistance for impacted individuals and families.   If you’re looking for ways to help those affected by the flooding, visit HelpColoradoNow.org for a list of trusted organizations  and volunteering resources.

Evans, Colo., September 25, 2013 -- Disaster response group Christian Aid Ministries help muck out homes in Evans. Many community and voluntary organizations are assisting residents with recovery efforts. Evans, Colo., September 25, 2013 -- Disaster response group Christian Aid Ministries help muck out homes in Evans. Many community and voluntary organizations are assisting residents with recovery efforts.

Evans, Colo., September 25, 2013 -- Disaster response groups Hands.org and AmeriCorps join forces to help muck out homes in Evans.Evans, Colo., September 25, 2013 -- Disaster response groups Hands.org and AmeriCorps join forces to help muck out homes in Evans.

Evans, Colorado Septemeber 25, 2013 -- Jewish Disaster response organization Nechama and Muslims for Humanity join forces to help muck out homes in Evans.Evans, Colorado September 25, 2013 -- Jewish Disaster response organization Nechama and Muslims for Humanity join forces to help muck out homes in Evans.

Colorado Springs, CO September 24, 2013 -- A Small Business Administration (SBA) representative talks to a resident about the services that may be available to her at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods. Colorado Springs, Colo., September 24, 2013 -- A Small Business Administration (SBA) representative talks to a resident about the services that may be available to her at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.

Colorado Springs, CO September 24, 2013 -- A FEMA Individual Assistance specialist talks to a resident about the services that may be available to him at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods. Colorado Springs, Colo., September 24, 2013 -- A FEMA Individual Assistance specialist talks to a resident about the services that may be available to him at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.

Colorado Springs, CO September 24, 2013 -- A FEMA Mitigation specialist talks to a resident about the services that may be available to her at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.Colorado Springs, Colo., September 24, 2013 -- A FEMA Mitigation specialist talks to a resident about the services that may be available to her at a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Colorado Springs, CO. FEMA is working with local, state and other federal agencies to provide assistance to residents, businesses and communities affected by the recent floods.

For continued updates on FEMA’s role, visit the disaster webpage or follow the FEMAregion8 account on Twitter.

National Preparedness Month Wrap-Up

Staton Island, N.Y., Sep. 4, 2013 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate met with the Port Richmond, NY Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) while visiting Staten Island for National Preparedness Month.Staten Island, N.Y., Sep. 4, 2013 -- FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate met with the Port Richmond, NY Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) while visiting Staten Island for National Preparedness Month.

As the month comes to an end, we want to take a moment to thank everyone who took steps to get prepared for disasters and joined the national preparedness community. All across the country, families, businesses, communities and organizations held preparedness events educating others about emergency preparedness.

Although National Preparedness Month is just about over, we hope you’ll continue to encourage others to make a family plan and to host preparedness community outreach events, fairs, workshops, webinars and trainings.

Have a great weekend!

What we’re Watching: 9/20/13

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truck with search and rescue teamsBoulder, Colo., Sep. 16, 2013 -- FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue teams head out to conduct a search in Left Hand Canyon. Photo by Michael Rieger/FEMA

At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Colorado flood response

We continue supporting the ongoing response in Colorado to the flooding and mudslides that have affected thousands across the state.  As dangerous conditions are still present in many areas, we’re encouraging people to remain vigilant and follow safety advice given by their local officials. 

To date, over 12,000 individuals in Adams, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties have applied for FEMA assistance, resulting in over $8.5 million in approved aid for affected individuals and households.   Nearly 800 FEMA staff are on the ground supporting the response efforts – including professional search and rescue units, teams going door-to-door encouraging residents to apply for FEMA assistance, inspectors assessing home damage, and staff at our Disaster Recovery Centers.
search and rescue meetingBoulder, Colo., Sep. 16, 2013 -- Morning briefing for Urban Search and Research teams at Boulder Airport. Teams are deployed to assist in the Colorado flood response. Photo by Michael Rieger/FEMA

FEMA is only part of the team that’s supporting the flood response – there are many volunteer groups, non-profit organizations, state and local agencies, private sector entities, and members of the community who are pitching in.  If you’re looking to help, the best source for donating or volunteering is HelpColoradoNow.org, which is operated by the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

A few days ago I wrote a quick recap of the response efforts, so check out that blog post for some more statistics.  And if you’re looking for ongoing updates on FEMA’s role, visit the disaster webpage or follow the @femaregion8 account on Twitter.

In case you missed it: Recognizing excellence

All around the country, many individuals and groups are working hard to “move the needle” and better prepare themselves and their neighbors for emergencies.  Yesterday, we recognized some of the most creative and successful approaches by announcing the winners of the 2013 FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Awards.

If you’re looking for some inspiration in building emergency preparedness in your home, neighborhood, school, workplace, or city – the award winners can help.  For example, the award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Preparedness went to the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University.  They delivered a statewide youth summer camp that included key skills like emergency response training, leadership development, and community-specific action planning.   

So check out Ready.gov for a full list of the winners – get inspired today!

Mark your calendar

The next FEMA Think Tank call

When: Wednesday, Sept. 25, 1 p.m. EDT

What:  The FEMA Think Tank is an open forum to discuss relevant topics in emergency management and disaster response.  The next Think Tank session will focus on how to cultivate innovation in the “white spaces” of emergency management. 

The white space can be defined as the space between the boxes in an organization chart—mostly unoccupied territory where rules are vague, authority is fuzzy, budgets are nonexistent, and strategy is unclear. This is often where innovative activities that help reinvent and renew an organization most often take place.

How: As soon as it’s available, the call-in information will be posted to fema.gov/thinktank. All are welcome to join the discussion and ask questions!


Twitter chat on inclusive emergency preparedness

When: Tuesday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m. EDT

What: Our @femaregion7 Twitter account will host a live chat on Twitter to discuss simple ways to make disaster preparedness applicable for everyone.   In addition to taking your questions, they’ll bust some common myths of inclusive disaster preparedness. 

How: Follow along using #ALLReadyChat – and you can “watch” the conversation even if you don’t have a Twitter account.  For those who would like to submit a question or topic for discussion during the chat, you can tweet it to @femaregion7 or e-mail it to FEMA-New-Media@fema.dhs.gov.

With that, have a safe weekend!

What We’re Watching: 9/13/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Ongoing Colorado Flooding

Caption: from @boulderpolice. Briefing at Emergency Operations Center this morning.Caption: from @boulderpolice. Briefing at Emergency Operations Center this morning.

In addition to the tropical activity in the Atlantic, we’re also closely monitoring the ongoing floods in central Colorado.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the disaster survivors and families who have lost loved ones in Colorado due to the severe weather and ongoing flooding. Last night, President Barack Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts. The declaration makes direct federal assistance support immediately available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in areas of Colorado, including Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties.

According to the National Weather Service, flooding advisories remain in effect for several areas in Colorado, and severe weather remains in the forecast through the weekend in some areas.  It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede. 

We continue to support local efforts to keep residents and communities in the impacted areas safe.  We urge residents to continue to monitor weather conditions and to listen carefully to instructions from their local leaders and take recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue.

Here are a few safety tips to help keep you safe during flooding:

  • If flooding is occurring or is expected, get to higher ground quickly.
  • Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid flooded areas.
  • Give first responders space to do their work by following local public safety instructions.

Those in areas with the potential to be affected by flooding should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard and discuss what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:          

  • 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: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
  • Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.

If you would like to help those affected by the flooding, visit http://www.helpcoloradonow.org/.

Visit the FEMA Social Hub for trusted emergency management accounts and updates to follow.

We will continue to provide updates on the flooding in Colorado as necessary.

An Active Atlantic

National Hurricane Center Graphic of the Atlantic.National Hurricane Center Graphic of the Atlantic.

We’re in the traditional peak of hurricane season, and the Atlantic Ocean is doing its part to remind us.  As the National Hurricane Center’s map shows, there are lots of areas of activity that we’re keeping an eye on.  Now is the time to polish up your family’s plan for a hurricane – especially since there aren’t any significant threats to U.S. states or territories at this time.  I ask that you take one step this weekend: talk with your family about how you’d stay in touch during/after an emergency.  Ready.gov has a great list of things to talk through and think about as you review your plan!

Mark Your Calendar: Sept. 18 Higher Ed Twitter Chat

Next week, our @FEMAlive account will be moderating a Twitter chat to discuss “Unique approaches to emergency preparedness in higher education”.  I’m particularly excited since there are already a few schools lined up to participate, like DePaul University, Florida State University, and the University of Boston College!  But one good thing about Twitter is that live chats are open to anyone.  So if you’re an emergency management professional in higher education, or are interested in the topic, you’re welcome to join in next Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 1 p.m. Eastern by following #EDUPrepChat.

I hope you can join us!

Videos to share

As National Preparedness Month continues, we wanted to share a few video reminding folks to prepare for an emergency. Here are a few videos we encourage you to share with your family and friends.

Have a great weekend!

What We’re Watching: 9/6/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

PrepareAthon! Launch

prepareathon information boothWashington, D.C., Sep. 5, 2013 -- A representative from The Great ShakeOut provides information on earthquake preparedness to a participant at America's PrepareAthon!. America's PrepareAthon! is a nationwide, community-based campaign for action to increase emergency preparedness and resilience.

In case you missed it, yesterday FEMA and several of our key partners launched America’s PrepareAthon!.  The PrepareAthon! is all about encouraging emergency preparedness through community engagement and simple actions. Things like practicing earthquake safety during the October 17 Great ShakeOut, or attending a preparedness fair in your area during National Preparedness Month – those are what the PreapreAthon! encourages people to participate in.


people ducking under a tableWashington, D.C., Sep. 5, 2013 -- During America's PrepareAthon!, The Great ShakeOut conducted an earthquake drill encouraging participants to Drop, Cover, and Hold On during an earthquake.

PrepareAthon! has some great momentum thanks to yesterday’s kickoff event at the National Academy of Sciences.  We had a live Twitter chat on the new @PrepareAthon handle busting a few of the “myths of preparedness” along with our partners. And senior leaders spoke about recent research from the National Academy of Sciences and FEMA about “moving the needle” of emergency preparedness across the country:

gentleman speaking at podiumWashington, D.C., Sep. 5, 2013 -- Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., Chair, Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters for the National Academy of Sciences encourages individual preparedness at the PrepareAthon!.


administrator fugate speaks at podiumWashington, D.C., Sep. 5, 2013 -- FEMA Administrator, Craig Fugate urges individuals to take simple preparedness steps during America's PrepareAthon.

I hope you’ll join in the spirit of America’s PrepareAthon! and join in the upcoming Great ShakeOut earthquake drill on October 17, or by linking up with an event in your area during National Preparedness Month!

Ready Kids

And in keeping with the emergency preparedness theme, I wanted to remind you of a newly launched section of Ready.gov, specifically for getting kids prepared for emergencies.  It’s at Ready.gov/kids and has sections for parents, educators, and of course, kids.  As one example of what you’ll find on the site, here’s a kid-friendly template for making a family communication plan:

preparedness checklist

If you’re looking for continual updates from Ready, check out their Facebook and Twitter accounts!

With that, have a safe weekend!

What We’re Watching: 8/30/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Weather Outlook

According to our friends at the National Weather Service, there are currently no severe weather threats impacting the U.S.  Heavy rain is expected for parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic going into Labor Day presenting the potential for flooding over portions of the Southeast.  Folks in the Northern Rockies and Northern and Central Plains can expect higher than normal temperatures over the next couple of days. 

We encourage everyone to monitor weather conditions in your area as the weather can quickly change. Visit www.weather.gov on your computer or http://mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device.

#NATLPREP Month is Here!

As you may know, September is National preparedness Month and all month long we’ll be sharing different preparedness information and events as well as stories of people and organizations that have taken the necessary steps to get prepared. We’ll also be encouraging residents, family, organizations and businesses to get prepared and encourage those in your community to get prepared too!

Just in time for National Preparedness Month, the Ready campaign recently redesigned the kids section on Ready.gov.  The redesigned site features a section for parents, educators and even kids where you’ll find easy to read information on preparing for an emergency, and soon you’ll be able to find fun games and tests to see if you know what to put in an emergency kit.

In addition to the new enhancements on the website, the campaign released these short videos encouraging parents to have a serious discussion with their kids about what to do and whom to call during an emergency. Check them out below:

As we head into the peak of hurricane season, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment to think about how prepared you are? What about your family and friends?  If you’re like the families in the videos above, then I encourage you to head over to Ready.gov and take the first step in preparing for an emergency by completing one simple step: making a family emergency plan.  Remember, disasters don’t discriminate, take action today!

Prepare-A-thon Next Week

Join us for a Preparedness Twitter Chat next Thursday, September 5 at 10:15 a.m. EDT.  The chat will focus on dispelling popular preparedness myths! If you’re on Twitter, follow @PrepareAthon for more information on the chat, and be sure to use #PrepareAthon to participate in the conversation. To submit a myth or question, tweet @PrepareAthon or email FEMA-prepareathon@fema.dhs.gov.

Check out our New Channels

We’ve recently launched a few new social channels and want to make sure you’re following or Like these accounts.

  • Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) Twitter  – The Center for Domestic Preparedness recently launched a Twitter account. For updates related to emergency responder training, be sure to follow them online.
  • Ready Facebook – Our Ready campaign has finally joined Facebook. Make sure you “Like” their page for more information and updates on preparing your friends and loved ones for an emergency.

Photos of the Week

Here are a few of our favorite photos from the week. For more photos, visit the FEMA Photo Library.

Edison, N.J., Aug. 27, 2013 -- A business owner signs up and speaks with New Jersey Small Business Development Center representatives at the Sam’s Club Emergency Preparedness Expo. Through this event, home and business owners can network with federal and local emergency managers about responding and recovering from disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Edison, N.J., Aug. 27, 2013 -- A business owner signs up and speaks with New Jersey Small Business Development Center representatives at the Sam’s Club Emergency Preparedness Expo. Through this event, home and business owners can network with federal and local emergency managers about responding and recovering from disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

Edison, N.J., Aug. 27, 2013 -- Federal Emergency Management Agency Private Sector Specialists, Pamela Mason and Art Goetz, speak with business owners and the public about preparedness techniques to mitigate disasters like Hurricane Sandy at the Sam’s Club Emergency Preparedness Expo.Edison, N.J., Aug. 27, 2013 -- Federal Emergency Management Agency Private Sector Specialists, Pamela Mason and Art Goetz, speak with business owners and the public about preparedness techniques to mitigate disasters like Hurricane Sandy at the Sam’s Club Emergency Preparedness Expo.

Fairbanks, Alaska, Aug. 24, 2013 -- FEMA Public Information Officer Victor Inge (L) is interviewed by staff writer Sam Friedman (R) from The Daily News-Miner regarding the end of the FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) registration period. FEMA is distributing IA disaster assistance grant information to news organizations in an attempt to register individuals that may be eligible for assistance before the registration period closes.Fairbanks, Alaska, Aug. 24, 2013 -- FEMA Public Information Officer Victor Inge (L) is interviewed by staff writer Sam Friedman (R) from The Daily News-Miner regarding the end of the FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) registration period. FEMA is distributing IA disaster assistance grant information to news organizations in an attempt to register individuals that may be eligible for assistance before the registration period closes.

Enjoy your labor day and the extended weekend!

What We’re Watching: 8/23/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

Photos of the week

secretary napolitano shakes hands with fema employeesQueens, N.Y., Aug. 23, 2013 -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with staff from FEMA and other agencies during a visit to the New York Joint Field Office, thanking them for their efforts in helping New York recover from Hurricane Sandy.

fema employee talks with community memberLong Beach Island, N.J., Aug. 18, 2013 -- Hazard Mitigation Community Education Outreach Task Force Crew Leader, Paul David Lear, speaks with Long Beach Island residents about techniques that can help minimize property damage in the event of severe weather like Hurricane Sandy at the Long Beach Island Arts Festival.

Summer weather continues

The severe weather over the last week shows what summer tends to bring – wildfires in the west, tropical storm and hurricane threats around the Atlantic, and severe storms across the country.  No matter where you live, make sure you’re staying current on the latest conditions:

  • For wildfires - InciWeb is where you can find the latest updates on wildfires happening across the U.S. It’s a site where interagency partners provide their updates, so it’s a great source for the latest on the ground information.  And for wildfire safety tips, visit www.Ready.gov/wildfires
  • For tropical storms and hurricanes - While there are currently no tropical storms or hurricanes threatening the U.S. or our territories, the National Hurricane Center website and mobile site are worth bookmarking on your computer and phone.  For what to do before, during, and after a tropical storm or hurricane, visit Ready.gov/hurricanes.
  • For severe storms & other weather – Visit the National Weather Service website or mobile site for the latest on severe weather advisories, watches, or warnings.  Ready.gov/severe-weather has details for staying safe, so check it out before severe weather threatens.

Adding “disaster reporting” into the FEMA app

For those of you that already have the FEMA app on your phone or tablet, you may have noticed an update over the last few weeks.  The team has been working hard to incorporate several new features and improvements, especially one feature called Disaster Reporter.  Disaster Reporter allows people to upload a photo of what they’re seeing during or after a disaster and submit it to a public map.

The updated FEMA app is currently available for Android and Apple devices – the updated Blackberry version is under development.

With that, have a safe weekend!

What we’re watching: 8/16/13

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At the end of each week, we post a "What We’re Watching" blog as we look ahead to the weekend and recap events from the week. We encourage you to share it with your friends and family, and have a safe weekend.

To round out the week, here are a few of the updates from around our digital channels that showcase what’s at the top of our list this week:

From Facebook: Peak hurricane season is here

Earlier this week, the FEMA Facebook page posted this graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  It shows the number of hurricanes and tropical storms over the last 100 years, and as you can see, we’re entering the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season:


hurricane historic data

And in line with this time of year, we’re currently monitoring a tropical depression in the Atlantic.  It’s still too early to tell whether it will have an impact on the U.S., but now’s the time to make sure you and your family are prepared for the rest of the hurricane season.  Two easy ways are to have a plan, should a hurricane threaten your community, and have emergency supplies standing ready at home, in your car, and at your workplace.   

Ready.gov/hurricanes is a great place to start your planning, or at http://m.fema.gov/hurricanes on your phone.

From the blog: AARP partnership

Earlier this week, I shared my thoughts about a new partnership between FEMA and the AARP.  Partnerships are critical to successful emergency management – as this video reinforces from Administrator Fugate and AARP CEO, Barry Rand:

So check out the blog post and let us know your thoughts!

From Twitter: National Preparedness Month

In case you didn’t know, September is National Preparedness Month.  It’s a time when FEMA and our partners make an extra effort to share the importance of people being prepared before a disaster strikes.  FEMA’s Ready campaign is a key player in National Preparedness Month, and this year they’ve made it easy to host your own preparedness event during September:

I encourage you to join the preparedness community at community.fema.gov and share how you’re planning on getting your family, business, or neighborhood better prepared for emergencies.

With that, have a great and safe weekend!

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