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What We're Watching: 4/4/14

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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.

Editor's Note: The America’s PrepareAthon! Google+ Hangout section has been updated with a link for lLive Closed Captioning for the event.

Supporting Individuals and Communities Impacted by the Washington Mudslides

Snohomish County, Wash., March 26, 2014 -- A FEMA Senior Leadership Meeting takes place discussing the Oso Mudslide. From the left to right is Michael Hall, Federal Coordinating Officer, Sharon Loper, FEMA Deputy Region Administrator-Region X, Ken Murphy, Regional Administrator-Region X and Jackie Gladish, Operations Chief-Region X. Steve Zumwalt/FEMASnohomish County, Wash., March 26, 2014 -- A FEMA Senior Leadership Meeting takes place discussing the Oso Mudslide. From the left to right is Michael Hall, Federal Coordinating Officer, Sharon Loper, FEMA Deputy Region Administrator-Region X, Ken Murphy, Regional Administrator-Region X and Jackie Gladish, Operations Chief-Region X. Steve Zumwalt/FEMA

Earlier this week, President Obama announced a major disaster declaration for the state of Washington in response to the Oso Mudslide. The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in Snohomish County, including the Sauk-Suiattle, Stillaguamish, and Tulalip Tribes.

At the request of the state, FEMA deployed Urban Search & Rescue IST White, CA-TF7 and 20 Canine Search and Rescue Teams have been deployed in addition to the Urban Search & Rescue WA TF-1 deployed as a State Asset. Our National-IMAT West, Bothell MERS personnel and MEOV are also deployed to Washington and assisting with ongoing response and recovery operations.

37 a.m., the same time that the mudslide occurred on Saturday March 22, 2014. Washington National Guard personnel continue to help the community of Oso in the wake of the mudslide. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rory Featherston WA ANG)Tech. Sgt. Tayler Bates and Tech Sgt. Tony Rohrenbach, members of the Washington Air National Guard, 141 Civil Engineer Squadron pause for a moment of silence at 10:37 a.m., the same time that the mudslide occurred on Saturday March 22, 2014. Washington National Guard personnel continue to help the community of Oso in the wake of the mudslide. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rory Featherston WA ANG)

Due to the localized impacts of the disaster, FEMA is working closely with residents, tribal members, and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area on a one on one basis.

For updates on response and recovery efforts, follow FEMA Region 10 on twitter or visit the state’s disaster page.

Monitoring Severe Weather

Today and into the evening, our partners at the National Weather Service forecast a slight risk for severe thunderstorms across parts of the Central Gulf Coast. If you live in that region, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Know your severe weather terminology:
    • Severe Thunderstorm Watch - Tells you when and where severe thunderstorms are likely to occur. Watch the sky and stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for information.
    • Severe Thunderstorm Warning - Issued when severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property to those in the path of the storm.
    • 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.
  • Remember the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.
  • Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
  • Look for the following danger signs:
    • Dark, often greenish sky
    • Large hail
    • A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
    • Loud roar, similar to a freight train.
    • If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.

For more tips on severe weather, visit Ready.gov/severe-weather.

We will continue to monitor the severe weather activity and provide updates as needed.  We encourage you to monitor local weather conditions in your area as weather can change in a short amount of time. Stay up to date by visiting www.weather.gov on your computer or http://mobile.weather.gov on your phone.

Join us for an America’s PrepareAthon! Google+ Hangout

We’re getting ready for America’s PrepareAthon! – a nationwide day of action on April 30, 2014. There are a lot of ways you can join in, like holding a preparedness discussion or taking part in a drill so you know what to do during an emergency.

To find out more, join Administrator Fugate, the Weather Channel, AARP, and local leaders from around the country on Monday, April 7 for a Google+ hangout at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss America’s PrepareAthon! Join the conversation now by asking questions on Twitter using #PrepareAthon. And you can watch the Hangout live on Mondayat 1:00 p.m. by visiting the White House Google+ and YouTube pages.

Live closed captioning is also available during the Hangout.

Visit ready.gov/prepare for more information or check out this blog from FEMA alum Paulette Aniskoff at the White House.

FEMA Celebrates 35 Years of Commitment

Earlier this week, we celebrated our 35th anniversary of serving the American people.  Each and every day, FEMA employees are on the frontlines working with our communities, tribes and disaster survivors – always ready to do what is needed for the American people during some of their most trying times.

Throughout the years, we’ve continued to refine, redefine, and reshape the way we do business to better serve the American people. Since April 1, 1979, when President Jimmy Carter signed the executive order that created FEMA, our commitment to the people we serve and the belief in our survivor centric mission has and will never change.

Visit our 35th Anniversary page to see a timeline of our activity over the past 35 years.

Have a safe weekend!

What we're Watching: 3/14/14

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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 the National Weather Service, this weekend from the Upper Midwest to New England, you can expect cooler temperatures than we’d expect for this time of year. A low pressure system off the coast of Texas is also expected to strengthen and move into the Southeast, bringing heavy rain and high winds from the Florida Panhandle to Eastern North Carolina.

As the system moves farther North, the precipitation has the potential to bring some late season snow. It’s expected to bring 3-6 inches of snow to the Mid-Atlantic region beginning on Sunday evening and going into Monday.

The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang summed up the fluctuating weather we've been experiencing in Washington, D.C. well with this tweet:



Stay up-to-date with the weather forecast in your area by visiting www.weather.gov and mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device.

Thawing into Flood Season

While it might not seem like it everywhere yet, spring is right around the corner. And with spring comes an increased chance of flooding, as we see heavier rainfall and melting snow.

Next week, we’re teaming up with NOAA for National Flood Safety Awareness Week. All week long (March 16-22), we’ll be sharing flood safety information and tips along with the steps you can take to protect your family and home from flooding.

You don’t have to wait until next week to start learning how to protect your family and home from flooding – you can visit Ready.gov/floods today for information on flood safety, and check out FloodSmart.gov for information on the benefits of flood insurance.

We hope you’ll join us in spreading the word. Have a great weekend!

Editor's Note: FEMA is providing this information about third party events as a reference. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.

What We’re Watching: 3/7/14

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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 the National Weather Service, there’s a mix of winter weather in store for parts of the country this weekend. Parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes should expect cold temperatures this weekend, particularly Sunday. Heavy rain and mountain snow is also expected for parts of Oregon, Northern California and Northern Idaho. Heavy rain is forecasted for parts of Central and Southern Texas through Monday and lastly, high winds for the down-sloping regions of the Northern High Plains on Sunday.

Stay up-to-date with the weather in your area by visiting weather.gov or http://mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device. 

Spring Forward and Check Your Smoke Alarm

This Sunday, it’s time to change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time and spring forward. While you’re fixing the time on the clocks in your house, take the opportunity to check that the batteries are working on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Remember, a properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Learn more smoke alarm tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.

Severe Weather Preparedness Week Wrap-Up

All week long, we’ve been sharing severe weather stories, preparedness information, safety tips, and encouraging everyone to learn the severe weather hazards that affect your area and take steps to ensure you’re prepared against them.

One of the stories we shared came from Shane Cohea, Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness for the Norman Regional Health System, who shared his experience from last May when EF-4 and an EF-5 tornadoes struck his hometown of Moore, Okla. As the Director of Safety, Security, and Emergency Preparedness, it was Shane’s responsibility to ensure the hospital had an emergency plan in place and on May 20, 2013 with an EF-5 tornado was headed directly towards the hospital, his plan was put to the test.

Here’s a piece of his story:

For the past 15 years, I have been coaching, leading, and requiring Norman Regional Health System’s 2,500 employees to have a plan to protect themselves and our patients. At the time we had 3 hospitals: Moore Medical Center (MMC) in Moore, Okla. and 2 hospitals 8 miles south in Norman, Okla.  Normally, my family travels the 20 miles with me to the hospital command center. This was not the case on that day in May. As I sat alone in the quiet hospital command center, dreadful words came from the live weather updates on TV. A massive, deadly tornado touches down in Norman, Okla., only a couple of miles east of our main hospital (Norman Regional Hospital), where I am working.

You can read all of Shane’s story on our blog.

We want to thank everyone who helped us spread the word and encourage severe weather preparedness this week. Just because the week is almost over, it doesn’t mean that you can’t continue to share your severe weather stories or photos and inspire others to change. Be a force of nature and continue encouraging your family, friends, neighbor, and coworkers about the importance of preparing for severe weather.

Visit Ready.gov/severe-weather for more information on preparing for severe weather.

Video of the Week

Here’s a great video from Chelsey Smith about her experience surviving tornado. It’s a reminder of how preparedness can save lives. Chelsey established a response plan at a young age in Alabama at the encouragement of her parents. When a tornado passed through her neighborhood, her family remained safe and unharmed.

 

View in FEMA Multimedia Library

Join the FEMA Team

Do you have an interest in technology and disaster response and recovery? Then you’re in luck – we’re looking to add a Tech Corps Specialist to our National IMAT team.

Responsibilities include:

  • Integrating resources & expertise from the tech sector during disaster response and recovery operations;
  • Building a network of technology partners that are prepared, trained, and certified to engage in disaster response on a voluntary basis;
  • Leading the identification, assessment, and prioritization of technology related community and survivor disaster response and recovery needs that can appropriately be addressed by voluntary resources.

Learn more about this position & more about Tech Corps at www.fema.gov/tech-corps.

Have a great and safe weekend!

 

What We’re Watching: 2/14/14

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Germantown, MD, February 13, 2014 -- David Cavell, Sr. uses a snowblower to dig out after a winter storm dropped over a foot of snow on the Washington, DC area. FEMA/Aaron Skolnik Germantown, MD, February 13, 2014 -- David Cavell, Sr. uses a snowblower to dig out after a winter storm dropped over a foot of snow on the Washington, DC area. FEMA/Aaron Skolnik

FEMA, through its regional offices in Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Denton, TX, and its National Watch Center in Washington, D.C. as well as its federal partners, including the National Weather Service continues to monitor the winter storm that made its way up the East Coast. It brought as much as 18 inches of snow to some areas and over an inch of ice.

Conditions have continued to improve as the storm moves northward into Canada; however the effects of the storm are still being felt along the coast. Earlier this week, President Obama declared emergencies for 91 counties in the State of Georgia and all counties in the State of South Carolina, at the request of the governors.  A FEMA Incident Management Assistance Team is located at the Georgia Emergency Operations Center and another team has deployed to the South Carolina Emergency Operations Center. Additional teams are on alert for deployment as needed.

Our friends at the National Weather Service forecast the potential for a new winter system to bring additional snow to parts of the East and Ohio Valley Friday into Saturday. With the potential for more snow, we want to encourage you to take time to ensure you and your family are prepared.

Your emergency supply kit should include a three-day supply of food and water, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra flashlights and batteries.  It should also include items specific for your family’s needs such as medication, pet supplies and anything else you may need. Thoroughly check and update your family's emergency supply kit and add the following supplies in preparation for winter weather:

  • Rock salt to melt ice on walkways;
  • Sand to improve traction;
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment; and
  • Adequate clothing and blankets to help keep you warm.

Some other winter tips to keep in mind:

  • Put a few winter supplies in your car – An extra blanket, rock salt, a shovel, and some food and water will come in handy should you have car trouble or become stranded in your vehicle.
  • Keep your phone charged – This is a good tip regardless of the type of severe weather. Cell phones can be lifelines during an emergency or a power outage, so have a plan for keeping your device charged up so you can connect with loved ones and call for help, if needed.
  • Stay up to date with your latest forecast – visit weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your smartphone for the latest conditions in your area.
  • Listen to local officials – stay tuned to the news and listen to directions from local officials.
  • Limit travel during a storm – only venture out on the roads if it’s absolutely necessary. If you must travel, let someone know your destination, the route you plan to take and when you expect to arrive.

For more winter tips, check out Ready.gov/winter on your computer or phone.

Opportunities to Serve on National Councils

National Advisory Council

Earlier this week, we announced pportunities to serve on the National Advisory Council.  The NAC was established by the Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006, to ensure effective and ongoing coordination of federal preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation for both natural and man-made disasters. The NAC consists of up to 35 members, all of whom are experts and leaders in their respective fields.  Appointments are for three-year terms, unless otherwise noted.  The Administrator may also appoint additional candidates to serve as a FEMA Administrator Selection for three-year terms.   Applications and nominations will be accepted through March 14, 2014.

Visit the National Advisory Council page for more information on the NAC or for instructions on how to submit an application.

 

National Youth Preparedness Council

FEMA is also accepting applications from young leaders dedicated to public service and interested in making a difference in their communities to serve on FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council.  The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for young leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit.

These young leaders have the opportunity to complete a self-selected preparedness project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and other national youth preparedness organizations.

Individuals aged 12 to 17 who are engaged in individual and community preparedness or who have experienced a disaster motivating them to help their community, are encouraged to apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council.

All applicants must submit a completed application form and two letters of recommendation. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than February 24, 2014.

Visit the National Youth Preparedness Council page for more information on the National Youth Preparedness Council or to download the application.

Have a great and safe weekend!

What We’re Watching: 2/7/14

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generator on truckHorsham Township, Pa., February 6, 2014 -- FEMA generators arrive in Pennsylvania after President Obama made emergency federal aid available to support the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in response to this week’s extreme winter.

Pennsylvania emergency assistance

Yesterday, President Obama made emergency federal aid available to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in response to conditions from the extreme winter weather earlier this week.  We’re working closely with our partners at the state to meet any needs, such as powering critical facilities that protect life and property.  To that end, we’ve moved and readied generators to support the Commonwealth as needed.  

Winter Comes Out West

The Rockies and Pacific Northwest must have felt left out.  Not to be outdone by all the snow we’ve seen in the Midwest and East Coast, many portions of the western U.S. will be dealing with snow and cold temperatures this weekend. 

If your area typically doesn’t deal with a wintry mix falling from the sky, here are a few simple things to remember:

  • Put a few winter supplies in your car – An extra blanket, rock salt, a shovel, and some food and water will come in handy should you have car trouble or become stranded in your vehicle.
  • Keep your phone – This is a good tip regardless of the type of severe weather. Cell phones can be lifelines during an emergency or a power outage, so have a plan for keeping your device charged up so you can connect with loved ones and call for help, if needed.
  • Drive slowly and carefully – If you’re not used to driving on snowy or icy roads, take extra caution when traveling.  If local officials advise you to stay home and not travel, it’s best to heed their advice and stay off the roads.   

For more winter tips, check out Ready.gov/winter on your computer or phone.

With that, have a great and safe weekend!

What We’re Watching: 1/17/14

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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.

Update on West Virginia Response

FEMA is continuing to support the ongoing response efforts following a chemical spill in Charleston, W.Va..

Charleston, W. Va., January 11, 2014 -- Trucks full of water arrive in Charleston, W. Va., for distribution to residents affected by the chemical spill.Charleston, W. Va., January 11, 2014 -- Trucks full of water arrive in Charleston, W. Va., for distribution to residents affected by the chemical spill.

The first trucks full of water for tomorrow have begun arriving in Charleston. #WVwater pic.twitter.com/Uo0fp4eNoz

— FEMA Region 3 (@FEMAregion3) January 12, 2014

At the request of the state, FEMA has been delivering water to a staging area in Charleston, W.Va., where it is turned over to the state for distribution. The trucks started rolling in last Friday evening, and since then, more than 4 million liters of water have been delivered to the state. Bottled water continues to be distributed to affected residents by the state in coordination with the local officials of affected counties. 

Residents in affected areas are encouraged to continue to listen to state and local officials for guidance on water quality and the location of water distribution areas. For more information and continued updates, visit the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management website and Facebook page.

Monitoring the Colby Fire in California

Yesterday, FEMA authorized the use of federal funds to assist the state of California in fighting the Colby Fire currently burning in Los Angeles County. This authorization made FEMA funding available to reimburse up to 75 percent of the eligible firefighting costs.

At the time of the request, the fire was threatening 500 homes in the areas of Glendora and San Dimas with a combined population of 100,000.  Mandatory evacuations have been issued by local officials for approximately 7,000 people.  As of yesterday, the fire had burned an excess of 1700 acres of State and private land. 

Residents in the path or potential path of the wildfire should continue listen to state and local officials for updates and guidance.

Also check out our Social Hub for updates and information from trusted government sources in the area. You can also find tips on how to be prepared for wildfires over at www.ready.gov/wildfires.

Know a Young Person with a Passion for Preparedness?

FEMA is looking for youth leaders dedicated to public service and making a difference in their community to serve on FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council.  The Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for young leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and participate in the Youth Preparedness Council Summit.

Additionally, these youth leaders have the opportunity to complete a self-selected preparedness project and to share their opinions, experiences, ideas, solutions and questions regarding youth disaster preparedness with the leadership of FEMA and other national youth preparedness organizations.

Any individual between the ages of 12 and 17 who is engaged in individual and community preparedness or who has experienced a disaster motivating them to make a positive difference in their community, may apply to serve on the Youth Preparedness Council. Individuals who applied last year are highly encouraged to apply again.

We encourage you to share the application with young people who might be interested in applying. All applicants must submit a completed application form and two letters of recommendation. All applications and supporting materials must be received no later than February 24, 2014, 11:59 p.m. EST in order to be eligible. New Youth Preparedness Council members will be announced in May.

Favorite Tweets of the Week

Finally, here are some of our favorite tweets shared our partners across the country:

Stay connected in an emergency with these tips for your mobile device. #Virginia #rva #hrva #northernva #swva pic.twitter.com/pOc3FsnzoU

— VDEM (@VDEM) January 14, 2014

"If you can pack a gym bag, you can pack a disaster bag." Infographic from @AnaheimFire: http://t.co/r5NcTfesy4 pic.twitter.com/fm1RJnOXUj

— Readygov (@Readygov) January 13, 2014

Get the new all-in-one tool to help you be safe during disasters. Download the FREE! #ReadyNC app. Available in... http://t.co/T0ezrPr4Dj

— NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) January 17, 2014

Have a great weekend and stay safe!

What We’re Watching: 1/3/14

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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.

Winter Storm Update

People across the country are being impacted by severe winter weather. According to our friends at the National Weather Service, another winter storm is expected to affect the Central and Eastern U.S soon. The storm is currently developing over the Northern Rockies and Plains with blizzard conditions forecast for many areas in the Northern Plains. Extreme low temperatures and dangerous wind chill are expected for many parts of the Central and Eastern U.S., and there’s a chance of heavy snow from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes on Saturday and into northern New England on Sunday.

If severe winter weather is expected in your area, here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay up to date with your latest forecast – visit weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your smartphone for the latest conditions in your area.
  • Listen to local officials – stay tuned to the news and listen to directions from local officials.
  • Limit travel during a storm – only venture out on the roads if it’s absolutely necessary. If you must travel, let someone know your destination, the route you plan to take and when you expect to arrive.
  • Have an emergency kit in your vehicle – if a winter storm develops suddenly, have supplies on hand in case you’re stranded in your vehicle.
  • Take precautions for power outages – winter storms often cause power outages, so be sure your family and home take steps to sustain yourselves for at least 72 hours

For more winter safety tips, visit Ready.gov/winter or http://m.fema.gov on your mobile device.

New Year – New Resolution

We’re three days into 2014 and it’s not too late to make your New Year’s Resolution! Why not make a resolution to ensure you and your loved ones are better prepared for an emergency?

Having a family communication plan is the first step to ensuring you and your family are prepared for an emergency. It’s also a great way to talk to your kids about emergency preparedness and incorporating them in getting prepared.

So this year, make a family communication plan that answers – who to call, where to meet and what to pack.  That’s it, a basic family communication plan that answers those three questions. Simple enough, right?

Keeping our New Year’s Resolutions can be tough, but making these plans to ensure you and your family members are prepared is simple and can make all the difference in an emergency.

Happy New Year!

What We’re Watching: 12/20/13

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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.

A Potentially Stormy Holiday

According to our friends at the National Weather Service, a storm system is set to track across the nation this weekend, impacting states in a variety of ways and potentially disrupting holiday travel. Here’s the latest forecast from the NWS:

  • Heavy rain is forecast from the lower Mississippi River Valley to the Ohio Valley this weekend with a risk for flash flooding.
  • A wintry mix, including freezing rain and snow, is possible from the central Great Plains, through the Great Lakes and to northern New England this weekend.
  • The NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has indicated a Moderate Risk of severe thunderstorms on Saturday, with possible tornadoes, for portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
  • Severe thunderstorms are possible from the Central Gulf Coast/Lower Mississippi Valley into the Ohio Valley Saturday.

As you travel to visit friends and loved ones for the holidays, we encourage you to exercise caution and monitor weather conditions as they change. Stay up-to-date on weather conditions in your area by visit weather.gov or mobile.weather.gov on your mobile device.  Also, visit Ready.gov for more winter weather safety tips and other great resources!

Be Prepared in 2014!

 who to call, where to meet and what to pack. User this image as your Facebook and Twitter cover photo graphics to get your community prepared in 2014. Resolve to be Ready campaign focuses on 'Family Connection' to reinforce the importance of parents including their children in preparedness conversations in advance of potential disasters.

With the New Year around the corner, it’s time to make our resolutions. Why not Resolve to be Ready for an emergency?

This year, we’re continuing our Resolve to be Ready campaign with an emphasis on 'Family Connections' – reinforcing the importance of getting kids involved in preparedness conversations in advance of an emergency. We’re making your emergency preparedness resolution easy to keep this year with three simple tips when making a plan: who to call, where to meet and what to pack.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make a family communication plan that answers – who to call, where to meet and what to pack.
  • Join our Thunderclap on Facebook and Twitter and share a New Year's resolution of preparedness with your followers. How does Thunderclap work? Once you sign up, Thunderclap will sync your social media accounts to release an automatic Facebook post, Tweet or both on January, 1, 2014 at 12:30 PM reminding your friends and followers to make a family emergency plan.
  • Use #Prepared2014 in your social media messaging throughout 2014 to remind your friends and followers to be prepared for emergencies all year long.
  • Share preparedness messages from the Ready Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Visit ready.gov/prepared2014 for more information on how you can Resolve to be Ready in 2014!

Photos of the Week

Here are a few of our favorite photos that came into our Photo Library this week.

Forest Hills, N.Y., December 17, 2013 -- United States Marine Sgt. Nail, from the 6th Communications Battalion, is greeted by Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. The Marines came to FEMA's Joint Field Office in Queens to pick up toys donated by FEMA workers for the "Toys for Tots" charity. K.C.Wilsey/FEMAForest Hills, N.Y., December 17, 2013 -- United States Marine Sgt. Nail, from the 6th Communications Battalion, is greeted by Federal Coordinating Officer Willie Nunn. The Marines came to FEMA's Joint Field Office in Queens to pick up toys donated by FEMA workers for the "Toys for Tots" charity. K.C.Wilsey/FEMA


East Peoria, Ill., December 17, 2013 -- FEMA Public Information Officer Art Alejandre, does an interview in Spanish with Univision at a local Disaster Recovery Center to encourage local residents impacted by the November tornadoes to apply for FEMA assistance. Local residents who suffered damages or losses are encouraged to apply to FEMA for disaster assistance by calling (800) 621-3362, (TTY) (800) 462-7585, or by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMAEast Peoria, Ill., December 17, 2013 -- FEMA Public Information Officer Art Alejandre, does an interview in Spanish with Univision at a local Disaster Recovery Center to encourage local residents impacted by the November tornadoes to apply for FEMA assistance. Local residents who suffered damages or losses are encouraged to apply to FEMA for disaster assistance by calling (800) 621-3362, (TTY) (800) 462-7585, or by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Santa Clara, N.M., December 16, 2013 -- Deputy Tribal Coordinating Officer Michael Chavarria is charged with a project on restoration of the Santa Clara Pueblo’s ancient tribal lands, which were damaged after recent fires. Adam DuBrowa/ FEMASanta Clara, N.M., December 16, 2013 -- Deputy Tribal Coordinating Officer Michael Chavarria is charged with a project on restoration of the Santa Clara Pueblo’s ancient tribal lands, which were damaged after recent fires. Adam DuBrowa/ FEMA

New Topics on Our Online Collaboration Tool

We’ve recently launched a few new topics on our online collaboration tool and as always, we want to hear your thoughts and ideas. Head on over and share your ideas, comment on others ideas, and vote for your favorite.

That’s it for today’s What We’re Watching. On behalf of everyone at FEMA, we wish you and your family a wonderful and safe holiday!

What We’re Watching: 12/13/13

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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.

Practicing Fire Safety this Holiday Season

The holidays are here – a time to be with family and friends. Unfortunately, it’s also a time when we see an increased chance of home fires.

Following a few simple fire safety tips can help ensure that you and your loved ones have a fire-safe holiday season:

  • Holiday Lighting -
    • Inspect you holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up.
    • Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord directly into the outlet.
  • Candle Care -
    • Consider using battery-operated, flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
    • If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders, and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
    • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns.
  • Christmas Tree -
    • If you use a fresh tree, make sure you water it regularly.  Check the water each day.  Then, make sure you don’t dry the tree out prematurely by placing it too close to a heat source like a vent or fireplace.
    • Make sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.
    • Get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it is dry.
    • Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and no more than 50 bulbs for screw-in light sets.

Practice these few tips to ensure you have a festive, bright and safe holiday season!

Video in Focus

Volunteers from MTV University and United Way are working together to help communities in the recovery process following Hurricane Sandy. In this video, members from the partnering organizations remove damaged materials and debris for homeowners in need.

Illinois Tornado Recovery

Here are a few photos from the ongoing recovery efforts in Illinois. Individuals impacted by the November 17 tornado are encouraged to register with FEMA by calling (800)-621-3362 or (TTY) (800) 462-7585 or online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.  Visit the Illinois disaster page for more information and updates.

repair to damaged homeDiamond, Ill., Dec. 10, 2013 -- Crews work to repair a wall damaged by the recent tornado that impacted the area on November 17, 2013. Residents impacted by the tornado are encouraged to call and register with FEMA by calling (800) 621-3362, (TTY) (800) 462-7585, or by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

tornado debris and homesWashington, Ill., December 7, 2013 -- Debris from the Nov. 17, 2013 tornado remain in neighborhoods throughout the city. Residents impacted by the tornado are encouraged to register for disaster assistance with FEMA. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

video interviewBrookport, Ill., Dec. 12, 2013 -- FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Donald Keldsen, right, speaks to media at a Disaster Recovery Center set up at the library. Residents impacted by the Nov. 17, 2013 tornado are encouraged to apply to FEMA for assistance by calling (800) 621-3362, (TTY) (800) 462-7585, or by applying online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Jocelyn Augustino/FEMA

Have a safe weekend!

 

What We're Watching: 12/6/13

Author: 

 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)!

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