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News of the Day: Forecasts Point To A Busy Hurricane Season

Waters of the Rio Grande flooded parts of the city of Roma after Hurricane Alex. More than three feet of water flooded this house.
Roma, TX, July 24, 2010 -- Waters of the Rio Grande flooded parts of the city of Roma after Hurricane Alex. More than three feet of water flooded this house.

With hurricane season less than two months away (the season runs from June 1 – November 30), forecasters are already predicting an active season for Atlantic storms. Yesterday, researchers at Colorado State released their annual forecast, calling for 16 named storms and five major hurricanes*.  This is one of several forecasts that will come out in the next few months, but it further underscores the need for all of to get ready now for hurricanes and other hazards.

At FEMA we're doing our part to prepare for this season, but as we always say, the public plays a critical role as well.  If you live in an area at risk for hurricanes, the time to get prepared is before the storm season begins., our preparedness website, outlines three simple steps to getting prepared for hurricanes, or any disaster:

* A hurricane is considered a major storm if it has sustained winds of greater than 110 miles per hour (Category 3 and above).


In Photos: One Year Ago...Earthquake Damage

Approximately one year ago on April 4, 2010, a 7.2 earthquake struck southern California, causing damage to structures in Imperial County. The President later declared a major disaster for the affected area, and Federal funds were made available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the affected area.

We wanted to take a look back at some of the photos from the earthquake, in hopes you'll be inspired to prepare for an earthquake if you live in an area that's at risk.

Earthquake damage to a building from the 7.2 quake that struck southern California.
Calexico, CA, April 6, 2010 -- A magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked the city on Easter leaving many facilities, roads, and public buildings closed.

An awning is damaged from the earthquake in southern California on April 4, 2010.
Calexico, CA, April 6, 2010 -- This photo shows damage to a business in the affected area.

Calexico City Building Manager explains to a business owner the structural concerns regarding the property following the earthquake.
Calexico, CA, April 6, 2010 -- A magnitude 7.2 earthquake rocked the city on Easter leaving many facilities, roads, and public buildings closed, and heavily damaged. Calexico City Building Manager Ralph Morales explains to a business owner the structural concerns regarding the property.

Many areas in the U.S. are at risk for earthquakes, including the West Coast, Midwest, and parts of the East Coast, so make sure you visit to get prepared today. And if you haven’t done so already, register to participate in the ShakeOut earthquake drill to join thousands of others in learning earthquake safety.

Engage Your Group in the ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

We've posted several times about the upcoming Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill on April 28.  As of today, there are over 1.6 million people signed up in the 11 participating states.  Whether you have already signed up, or are considering it, the Central United States Earthquake Consortium and its partners have a great list of resources to help you engage your stakeholders (or family members) in earthquake preparedness.

Check out videos demonstrating how to properly Drop, Cover, and Hold On during an earthquake, and learn why this is the recommended method for protecting yourself during an earthquake.

A guide for how your organization, school or agency can participate in the ShakeOut drill on a number of levels.  There are separate guides for schools, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and people with disabilities.

The manuals include instructions on performing the simple Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill, and how you can step up your group’s participation by using table top exercises or earthquake simulation drills. 

Custom Flyers
Custom flyers are available to communicate the basics of the ShakeOut to your group.  These are available for free download and can be printed on site.

Web Banners
Help spread the word about the ShakeOut and encourage people to join by placing a banner or image on your website (like the one at the top of this blog post).

What are your thoughts on engaging your group or family in earthquake preparedness?  Share how you plan on engaging your stakeholders or family in the ShakeOut by leaving a comment below.

And if you live in California and want to get a head start on signing up for your 2011 Great California Shakeout this October, you can sign up today at

Other Links
- Get prepared for an earthquake at

News of the Day: Engaging Louisiana's Private Sector in Emergency Preparedness

As Administrator Fugate often stresses, the private sector plays a crucial role in the emergency preparedness team. Capitalizing on this philosophy, the Louisiana Business Emergency Operations Center (LA BEOC) in Baton Rouge, La., links businesses and volunteer organizations with the state's Emergency Operations Center.  The LA BEOC works with businesses to improve their disaster preparedness and help them return to normal operations as quickly as possible following a disaster. As we have seen time and again, helping get businesses back up and running is critical to stabilizing local economies and expediting communities' recoveries.

Last week, the LA BEOC hosted a seminar focusing on the private sector's role in planning for disasters and providing services in the days following a severe storm or hurricane.  I had the privilege of speaking at the meeting, emphasizing the importance of continuing to improve communication between government and business.

You can read more about this emerging partnership in the Baton Rouge Advocate's article about the seminar. Join us by looking for ways your business can participate in emergency preparedness activities in your state.

- Tony

News of the Day: Emergency Responder Training Impacting Communities

Mayor Richard Hildreth (pictured front-left), of Pacific, Wash., assists his team of emergency responders transport a simulated survivor through the initial stage of decontamination during an exercise.

Mayor Richard Hildreth (pictured front-left), of Pacific, Wash., assists his team of emergency responders transport a simulated survivor through the initial stage of decontamination during an exercise.  A local Mayor, Hildreth attended training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness and brought the lessons learned back to his community.

Our Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) offers some of the most specialized training for emergency responders, including those in the public health, emergency management, law enforcement, public works, and fire service arenas.

We’ve written on this blog before, highlighting the value of the in-depth training that CDP offers, but we wanted to specifically call out a few recent stories that have appear in local press outlets across the country:

  • The Magic Valley Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) discusses the take-a-ways of local medical center staff after attending CDP training.
  • The Jacksonville Daily News (Jacksonville, North Carolina) underscores the lessons learned by several members of the Carteret County Health Department.
  • The Maplewood Patch (Newark, New Jersey) draws attention to a resident who takes on an active role in preparing his community for disasters, including taking CDP training.

If you or your agency has a story about using CDP training in a real-world event, e-mail it to us or leave a comment below.

Other links
Read more on our blog about CDP training:

- Mayors and First Responder Training
- In Photos: Training for a Mass Casualty Event
- A Very Real Payoff for Preparedness Training

What We’re Watching: 4/1/11

Midwest flood fight

As spring moves on, the combination of melting snow and rain showers often brings an elevated risk of flooding for many parts of the country. Preparing for and combating flooding in the upper Midwest has been a focus of this blog, and members of the emergency management team are continuing to do their part in the affected areas.

We currently have an incident support base in the upper Midwest to further enhance our ability to quickly move needed supplies throughout the states affected by spring flooding, should they be needed and requested. We are closely monitoring the situation through our Regional offices in Chicago, Denver, and Kansas City, and stand ready to assist our partners if called upon.

For those in the upper Midwest, or other areas susceptible to flooding, check out this story from the Cherokee Chronicle Times (Iowa) about the dangers of driving through flood waters, even if they appear to be shallow.

Severe weather outlook

For the next few days, the National Weather Service is calling for heavy precipitation for nearly the entire eastern half of the U.S., along with parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. In the south, drought conditions continue while conditions in the southwest are favorable for wildfires.

You can view your local forecast at, or see this map for the nationwide forecast.


Emergency managers share best practices

Whatever your profession may be, it’s always helpful when peers and colleagues have a venue to share lessons they have learned while performing their craft. If you are an emergency responder, there’s a place to do just that -- share your expertise and learn from others. The Lessons Learned & Information Sharing portal serves as the national, online network of lessons learned, best practices, and innovative ideas for the emergency management and homeland security communities. Check it out for front-line expertise on effective planning, training, and operational practices, including their latest additions:

Bookmark the FEMA Fire Grants Page

Beginning today, the web site where first responders apply for all Assistance to Fire Fighters Grants Programs will change its current web site address from to the FEMA web site at

We have been working to transition all the information from the old fire grant site to the new site.

All applications for FEMA’s fire grant programs including the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program (AFG), the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER), Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (FP&S) and information on the Assistance to Firefighters Station Construction Grants (ARRA) will now be located at

FEMA has been working to make all information more easily accessible and more user friendly for first responders and having two different web portals for information just didn’t make sense.

All fire grants program documents, awards announcements, grants management workshops, success stories and program application reports and statistics will now be available at

In short, all the old info will be right there on the new site.

Please update your bookmarks for future fire grants applications.

Please visit us at

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