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Author: Dawn Hart
The ability to communicate efficiently and effectively to individuals with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) is critical to the work we do at FEMA. In every disaster, FEMA staff work tirelessly to ensure that we reach out to all disaster survivors, regardless of their language proficiency.FEMA has further demonstrated its commitment to assist LEP communities by developing a Draft Language Access Plan that outlines how to provide meaningful access to all FEMA programs and activities that impact people with limited English proficiency (LEP). This plan adheres to Executive Order 13166, Improving...
Posted On: October 20, 2014
Author: Jason Lindesmith
What makes a great race? To me, the ingredients include awesome scenery, a well-planned route, and a cause that runners can really get behind.  I ran a race that met all three of these conditions in Cannon Beach, Oregon called “Race the Wave”.  In short, the city of Cannon Beach took their town’s risk for earthquakes and tsunamis and made it into a race, and I’m going to lay out why every community along the Pacific coast should be hurrying to plan their own.  The coolest part of “Race the Wave” is that it doesn’t have to be a “race” per se, with runners competing for the best...
Posted On: October 15, 2014
Author: Brittany Trotter
Last week, almost 100 daisies, brownies, juniors, cadets and seniors took over the National Response Coordination Center here at FEMA Headquarters. As part of our ongoing effort to engage and educate young people about disaster preparedness, Girls Scouts past and present joined us for a Girl Scouts Preparedness Day. And with 3.2 million Girl Scouts across the U.S., you can bet a few alums and current troop leaders work here at FEMA.As part of their visit, the girls learned a little about FEMA and the importance of being prepared for emergencies. They were also able to earn their Emergency...
Posted On: October 10, 2014
Author: Tony Russell
After facing two devastating wildfires and flash flooding in the past two years, El Paso County in Colorado recognized a need to increase their community’s level of preparedness. During this past National Preparedness Month,  El Paso County helped make that happen by supporting a series of accessible and fun events for all, especially kids.The county got a head-start on National Preparedness Month by cohosting a Community Emergency Preparedness Night at Security Service Field, home of the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, on August 22. This was the fifth straight year that the Sky Sox have...
Posted On: October 3, 2014
Author: Jessica Stapf
Last week, the Chicago Tribune featured a story about a firefighter from the Galapagos Islands who traveled about 3,000 miles from his home to attend a firefighting training course in Romeoville, IL. Carlos Gonzales, who is a tour guide in his everyday life, saved up the money—nearly $3,000—to attend the course, hosted by the Romeoville Fire Academy.Like many fire departments across the United States, Mr. Gonzales’ hometown fire department relies on volunteers to keep it up and running: "We are all volunteers (firefighters) on the island… We do it without pay because it's our home and we...
Posted On: October 2, 2014
Author: Jessica Stapf
Flash flooding in El Paso, TX caused a disruption during the early Monday morning commute of many people, including one woman whose truck was swept into a canal by fast-moving flood water. Some quick-thinking teachers that were on their way to training became first responders as they helped the woman escape being trapped between her vehicle and the canal’s wall. Not all first responders are fire fighters, police officers, or paramedics. Often, first responders are fast moving bystanders with a mind to help.The video of the dramatic rescue, filmed by a news reporter turned rescuer is available...
Posted On: September 24, 2014
Author: Todd Davison
Fifteen years after Hurricane Floyd, the images of overwhelming physical, human and environmental impacts are still vivid. The late 1990s was an unprecedented time for North Carolina: Floyd was the sixth hurricane to hit the state in four years. Hurricane Dennis soaked the landscape a few weeks before, and then Floyd dumped 20+ inches of rain. The impacts were devastating: 51 fatalities, about 100 thousand damaged homes, inundated sewage treatment plants, and millions of lost livestock.On the evening of September 17, the day after Floyd’s landfall, I met with Eric Tolbert and Gavin Smith in...
Posted On: September 19, 2014
Author: Cathy S. Haynes
I don’t remember what it was like to work in emergency management prior to Hurricane Hugo. In a strange way, it was the beginning for us and an experience we still remember today. At 6 a.m. on September 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo was heading for Charleston County and the evacuation order was in full effect. The Charleston County Emergency Operations Center, located in a small cinder block building with a metal warehouse attached, was fully activated. The actual room where we worked was plain and unhardened, hardly enough to withstand a Category 4 storm. Hugo made landfall at 10 p.m., and just...
Posted On: September 19, 2014
Author: John J. Lanza, MD, PhD, MPH, FAAP
September 15-16, marks 10 years since Hurricane Ivan made landfall in Northwest Florida. For the Florida Department of Health, it was the third storm in four and a half weeks to which we responded.As the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County during Ivan, I was responsible for Public Health and Medical Services in my county, as well as serving as incident commander and a physician for our Special Needs Shelter. During Ivan, we sheltered more than 500 individuals including medically needy patients, their families, and health department staff and families, including...
Posted On: September 16, 2014
Author: Craig Fugate
Editor's note: this post first appeared on weeks ago, FEMA shared research about the state of family preparedness in America. The good news is that a large number of American families are aware of the importance of preparing for emergencies. The bad news is that awareness doesn't always translate into action. In fact, roughly half of all Americans have not discussed, or developed an emergency plan with their family about where to go and what to do in the event of a local disaster.That's just not good enough.During National Preparedness Month, FEMA, in coordination with...
Posted On: September 12, 2014


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