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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

Severe Weather Update: Florida severe storms and tornadoes

A series of severe storms and tornadoes are moving through central and southwest Florida.  Our regional office in Atlanta continues to be in constant contact with Florida’s Emergency Operations Center, as well as our partners at the National Weather Service.

When natural disasters, such as severe storms and tornadoes, strike the first responders are local emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.  We stand ready to support State and local responders if Federal assistance is needed.

If you are in the path of the storm, seek shelter immediately.  Monitor your local forecast on your NOAA severe weather radio or through local news, and be sure to follow the direction of local officials.

Other links
- Get prepared for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes at

News of the Day: Getting the U.S. prepared for earthquakes

Last night ABC's World News Tonight featured a story on how prepared the U.S. is for a catastrophic earthquake, in light of the tragic earthquake in Japan earlier this month.  As the story says, FEMA has long been planning several drills and exercises that will help the public and the entire emergency management team better prepare for earthquakes and other catastrophic events - but this isn't just a FEMA-led effort. We are continually working with our state, local and tribal partners, along with the many other members of the emergency management team (including voluntary and faith-based organizations, businesses and committed citizens) for these exercises, which many of you have read a lot about here on our blog.

Below are more details on both and how you can get involved:

The Great Central U.S. Shakeout
A multi-state earthquake drill, hosted by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium, will take place April 25 at 10:15 a.m. CDT (or April 19 for Indiana residents) to practice the proper actions to stay safe during a quake.  More than 1.5 million participants have registered, including schools, businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and families.  Visit the ShakeOut website to learn more and sign up today.

National Level Exercise 2011
In May, we will be hosting a National Level Exercise to simulate the scenario of an earthquake in the New Madrid seismic zone.  The purpose of the exercise is to prepare and coordinate a multiple-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event.  The exercise is another opportunity to strengthen relationships across emergency management team and continue to improve catastrophic earthquake planning.

We regularly promote three simple steps to get prepared for an earthquake, or any disaster: get a kit, make a plan, and be informed.  Leave us a comment and share how you're taking steps to get prepared for an earthquake.

Daily Preparedness Tips via Digital Channels

What's the best advice you've ever received?  Often times, the best nuggets of wisdom motivate us to action, or inspire us to be better at what we do. We wanted to highlight a few places where you can find preparedness tips on a daily basis to keep you and your family safe.

Every weekday, we will publish a safety tip on Twitter and Facebook (in English and Spanish) with information on what to do before, during and after various natural or man-made disasters. Our primary method of publishing the daily tips will be through our Twitter and Facebook channels, however, that's not the only way you can find potentially life-saving advice:

Mobile Site (
Our mobile site is designed to load fast on mobile internet browsers, providing preparedness tips and disaster information on the go. Make it easier to access by bookmarking it on your phone.
Our preparedness website,, is packed with information on how to get prepared before a disaster strikes. It breaks down getting prepared into three simple steps: getting a kit, making a plan, and being informed.

Twitter "Fast Follow"
One of the common misconceptions is that people need a Twitter account to receive updates from accounts you are interested in. In fact, you can receive updates from Twitter simply by utilizing your phone's text messaging capability (normal text message rates apply). For example, if you wanted to follow Administrator Fugate, text follow craigatfema to 40404 (Twitter’s text message number). To follow FEMA, text follow fema to 40404.

And in case you missed our safety tips the past few days, here is a sample:

  • Flood safety: Do not walk through moving water. 6 inches of moving water can make you fall. Tips on your phone:
  • Seguridad contra inundaciones: No camine sobre agua en movimiento. Consejos de teléfono:
  • Earthquake safety: If indoors during an earthquake - drop, cover, and hold on. More tips at
  • Seguridad de terremotos: Si está adentro durante terremoto, échese al piso, cúbrase y agárrese. Más consejos en
  • Flood safety: After a flood, assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged, including cable TV feeds.
  • Seguridad contra inundaciones: después de una inundación, asuma que todos los cables en el suelo están cargados, incluso el cable de TV.

Register your Citizen Corps Council and CERT Program today! (Deadline is tomorrow)

As we’ve highlighted several times on the blog, Citizen Corps Councils and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are a great way to get involved in preparing your community before disasters strike. If you’re involved with a local Citizen Corps Council or CERT Program please be sure to add your information to the Council Registration and CERT Program Registration pages today.

Registering will help individuals interested in Citizen Corps and CERT from your area get in touch with you. In addition, being listed in the national registry will allow you to share relevant information with other programs around the country.

Registering by March 30, 2011 ensures your Council or CERT Program will be included in reports to senior DHS leadership and Congress, which will feature all the great work that is going on in the field. You may still register after the March 30th deadline, but your information will not be a part of initial reporting.

Administrator Fugate is encouraging Citizen Corps Council and CERT Program registration, too – here’s why:

- Paulette

News of the Day: Flood insurance – another way to prepare

We often make the point that disasters can happen anytime, anywhere.  Sadly, natural and man-made disasters often happen with little to no advance warning, and result in significant damage to homes, businesses, and a community’s peace of mind.

We often promote three simple steps to getting prepared for disasters: making a kit, creating a plan, and being informed.  One element of creating your emergency plan includes thinking about how you and your family will recover from the financial damages that a disaster can cause.

As this story in the Wall Street Journal points out, purchasing flood insurance is one way to protect yourself financially in case disaster strikes. Read the full article, and talk to your insurance agent today to find out more.

Other links
Visit for information on the benefits of flood insurance for home owners, renters, and businesses